DCLT’s Duty Manager Shauni swims Windermere in under eight hours

A Duty Manager from Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust (DCLT) completed a gruelling end to end solo swim of lake Windermere.

Shauni Lemmens, aged 30, who is originally from Belgium but now lives in Bentley completed the open water solo swim in 7 hours, 47 minutes, and 20 seconds.

“It was a very windy day which made the conditions in the water very rough for me. I had to swim into a strong headwind, getting hit by waves relentlessly for most of the swim, which added extra spice to the challenge. 

“My support crew was absolutely amazing and kept me safe and lifted me up throughout.

This swim was the hardest thing I've ever done. It tested my resilience to the very limit, which is what I wanted from this challenge. I've shown myself what I'm made of and can move forward with more confidence,” said the Adwick Leisure Complex duty manager.

Shauni started working at DCLT in 2018 as a casual staff member and worked her way to her current role as centre duty manager.

Fitness has been part of my entire adult life. I lost a fair amount of weight after moving to the UK and have been involved in Taekwondo and more recently running, gym and swimming. I train nearly every day. It helps me calm my mind and gives me confidence. 

“I have always enjoyed being in the water but was never a strong swimmer and had only ever really swum breaststroke. When I decided that I wanted to be a DCLT swim teacher I started to practice more and more as I knew I had to have the right skills to demonstrate all the strokes to the children.

“During the summers of 2019 and 2020, I did some work at Hatfield Outdoor Activity Centre, where I was introduced to SwimyourSwim and open water swimming and I was immediately hooked! I also joined Real Fitness' 6am swim club who run coached swim sessions at Adwick Leisure Complex. Since then, I have been gradually growing in confidence in both pool and open water swimming,” added Shauni.

The solo end to end crossing of lake Windermere is where a single swimmer takes on the challenge with a support boat following them along the way. The swim is roughly 10.5 miles in distance.

“I am so proud of myself for completing this challenge and it really shows you that if you put in the hard work and the practice you can achieve anything.

“My swim was supported by SwimyourSwim, they were on a boat next to me and oversaw my safety during the swim. 

“It has been brilliant to have the support for the DCLT team as well and after recovering from a shoulder injury I rebuilt my strength at our Armthorpe Leisure Centre and then during the winter all of my swim training was done at Adwick Leisure Complex. From the start of April, I made my way back into the lake at Hatfield to restart acclimatising to colder water and to start building endurance during longer swims. Towards the end of my training, I would swim up to 26000m in a week, combined with gym sessions still, training up to 15 hours per week. 

“The support I’ve had has been fantastic, whilst my swim was solo swim, I could not have done this without the support of others, and I have had plenty along the way. The coaches at 6am swim club who helped me improve my stroke and helped me get into the right mindset of getting the hard work done. Staff at the DCLT venues supporting my training and staying up to date with my progress.

“The support from SwimyourSwim has been amazing. The team of volunteers gave me advice on everything I needed to know and pushed me on for long training swims. And being part of the community they have created has helped me a long way. Seeing other swimmers complete their challenges, some of which make my Windermere look like a walk in the park, has kept me motivated and has inspired me to look for even bigger challenges. Without these people, I would not have been able to get to the start line!”