It only took 26 hours, 33 minutes and 28 seconds...

An estimated 87,500 front crawl strokes propelled endurance swimmer Anna Wardley on her 56-mile swim charity challenge around the Isle of Wight.

The 37-year-old from Gosport set off from Ryde Pier on Friday morning

and swam through the night to achieve her goal in a time of 26 hours, 33 minutes and 28

seconds.

Anna was delighted to finish the gruelling challenge more than three hours ahead of schedule and upon reaching dry land, she swore and described the experience as ‘horrendous’.

The swim marked Anna’s final 5ive Island Challenge, raising around £50,000 for charity.

Historymaker

Anna has become the fourth person to swim around the Isle of Wight and the ninth British member of the 24 Hour Club, for

people who have completed successful swims lasting more than a day.

Kevin Murphy, who became the first person to swim around the Isle of Wight in 1971, was in Anna’s support team as an ‘official observor’.

Anna admitted falling asleep for half an hour while swimming. She kept her energy levels up by eating jam doughnuts, Red Bull, ginger cake and painkillers, jelly energy blocks, electrolytes drink and a Hampshire Cakery flapjack.

As she entered her 25th hour of swimming, Anna joked: ’24 hours of swimming is enough for any day.’

The

plan was to swim to the beach at Ryde but the current was too strong and she

was exhausted so Anna climbed out as soon as she touched the pier.

She later described having a ‘burning, agonising pain’ in her arms.

Social media

Supporters were able to follow Anna’s progress with regular updates from her 20-strong on-the-water support team on Twitter @annawardley, on the Five Island Swim Challenge Facebook page and at www.annawardley.com

Live tracking was available at http://yb.tl/fiveislandswim2013

On Sunday, Anna wrote on Facebook: ‘This

time yesterday the tide had just turned after my five hours from hell

swimming against the tide off Ventnor, getting swept two miles backwards

in the process.

‘I was so cold that my teeth were chattering and I was

drifting off and being woken by my support team’s whistles as I veered

off.

‘I kept saying to myself ‘keep going because this time tomorrow it

will all be over and you will have swum round the Isle of Wight’.

‘I was

right, as I’m now toasty warm under my goosedown duvet, still sticky

with lanolin, but I have indeed swam round the Isle of Wight.’

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