Macular Society member and fundraiser, Jenny Ball, has always loved the sea, but never imagined that she would one day be presented with a medal for being the fastest person in her age bracket to swim the open water swimming event, Swim Serpentine.
Jenny entered the Swim Serpentine to raise money for the Macular Society and completed the mile challenge in an impressive 38 minutes. “I’d hoped there would be more over-75s,” she says, “but it was just me and one other! I am looking forward to doing it again in 2018 when I will be 80, and I most certainly would recommend it to others. It is very safe and the route is well marked, even for people with sight problems.”
Jenny was diagnosed with both dry and wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) four years ago, but has not let it get in the way of her passion for open water swimming. When she was 60, Jenny entered her first race, which was across Sandown Bay to Shanklin. The following year, she swam the Solent from Ryde to Southsea.
Jenny says that open water swimming just doesn’t compare to ploughing up and down the pool: “It’s wonderful being free of walls and lines. I do most of my summer training in the sea and the conditions are always changing, which is challenging and exhilarating.”
Jenny credits swimming, especially in the open water, with helping to keep her young and positive about her prognosis. She says: “I am so grateful for the wonderful treatment I receive on the NHS in the form of Lucentis injections. My surgeon is so understanding and fits the injections (and resulting five-day swimming ban) around my swimming events when he can.”
With no intention of hanging up her goggles any time soon, Jenny says: “I know the long-term prognosis can be daunting but I am fitting in as much as I can, while I can.”
This year’s Swim Serpentine will take place in September.