An Auckland mother has credited Pineapple Lumps with helping her realise her dream of swimming the English Channel.
Clark couldn’t keep any food down as she battled through waves so choppy most boats were turning back to shore. That’s when she tried the iconic Kiwi lollies.
It wasn’t until Ms Clark pulled back into Dover by boat that her achievement began to sink in.
“I’m feeling pretty elated now,” she said. “I was pretty exhausted during the swim.”
The swim through the busy shipping channel is around 32 kilometres, but just a few kilometres out from the French coast the water was so choppy Ms Clark’s support crew were concerned it was becoming too dangerous.
“There were two-metre waves and I landed on Cape Grenais and it was really quite urgent to do a quick arms up here and then swim back out to the rib boat.”
“Even the boat pilots who’ve been channel pilots for quite some years said they’ve never seen anything quite like it, especially with the conditions,” said husband Andy Clark. “I always knew she could do it, but those conditions were outrageous.”
It wasn’t only the conditions, but three hours into the swim, Ms Clark became so ill she couldn’t hold down any of the food she was meant to be taking for energy. But it was a slice of New Zealand that kept her going.
“The only thing that stayed down were Pineapple Lumps, which was completely unexpected and great,” she said.
Only around one in 10 people who attempt the swim actually complete it. Ms Clark did it in 12hr, 46min.
“I’m just going to enjoy this moment for a wee while, and I’m sure, knowing me, there will be some crazy challenge – maybe a book reading contest or something – a little more relaxed next time,” she said.
Perhaps now is not the time to remind her worried husband that the Kiwi mum’s ultimate aim is to tackle the Cook Strait.