Meet the Mermaids..............

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LAURA REINEKE

I was born in Henley-on-Thames, and moved back to Henley after studying the violin at Music College in London.  I have 3 children: Mae 20, Ava 17 and Alfie 15, two dogs Sir Reginald (Italian Spinone) and Mavis (miniature Daschund) .  

Around 15 years ago I founded and continue to run Henley Music School, a charity which provides all types of music education to anyone regardless of age, ability, background or means.

I also work at Shiplake College where as well as teaching, I am the music administrator.

I began open water swimming about 4 years ago, after damaging my back running the London Marathon (hated every second of it), and that same year I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  Initially I was only able to do very slow breast-stroke but gradually taught myself to do front crawl, then by training hard, swimming a lot and a little bit of coaching, started to love long-distance swimming.

I particularly love the contrast between the beautiful summer long-distant swims and the freezing of the Thames in winter, mist rising with the bite of the cold water.  Although in the depth of winter I long for the beautiful, wildlife filled long distance swims.

Swims completed:

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JO ROBB

Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, I grew up swimming at Coogee Beach and in the beautiful ocean pools of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

 

I moved to the UK in 2001 and met and married an Englishman. We lived in Islington, central London for 15 years but yearned for a greener lifestyle. So, in 2016, we picked up and moved to Shepherds Green, outside Henley and now we love walking in the woods, gardening and caring for our chickens, tortoise, tarantula, snake and whippet.

 

I joined the Henley Open Water Swimming Club a couple of years ago and swam throughout the winter. There is nothing like the buzz of cold-water swimming and the camaraderie of standing around shivering and laughing whilst trying to drink hot tea. Everyone should try it!

 

I have two young sons and three grown-up stepchildren and in 2019, I was elected to South Oxfordshire District Council, where along with being the Green Councellor, I am the Thames Champion, tackling pollution and swage overflow.

Swims Completed:

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FIONA PRINT

I am a Registered Nurse currently working night shifts in the COVID-19 ICU at Royal Berkshire Hospital, alongside nursing at the Rapid Access care Unit at  Townlands Hospital.  I love working in my home town and being a part of the local community.

 

I have lived with my husband and 4 children in Henley for over 25 years and have always loved the river but only discovered swimming in it 4 years ago! It's now become a real passion - I swim all year round with my fellow mermaids and HOWSC friends - even when its freezing cold! I have made lots of new friends and we really enjoy going on crazy swims, there is nothing like swimming in the Thames in the early morning as the sun is rising - and its free!  I love a challenge, I can't wait!

Swims completed:

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SUSAN BARRY

Originally from Bedfordshire, my first job at the Water Research Centre, Medmenham brought me to the Chilterns and the River Thames. I have lived here now for nearly thirty years with my husband Mike and we have three children, one at university and two at local secondary schools. We all love the Chilterns and at the weekend can usually be found either walking, cycling, running or swimming somewhere in countryside! I currently work part-time as a french teacher at Emmer Green Primary School.

I have always loved the water, especially swimming in the sea on family holidays, but it was only four years ago that I began to swim regularly in the Thames and joined Henley Open Water Swimming Club. I absolutely love the buzz of cold water and being able to see our natural world from a different perspective.

I swim all year round with friends from the club and, with their support and encouragement, I have completed a few open water swimming events, including the Thames Marathon. As a member of the Henley Mermaids Relay team, last Summer we made a nail-biting and successful crossing of the Channel. Now we feel the need for another challenge and, more importantly, something to look forward to in the Summer!

Swims completed:

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JOAN FENNELLY

While calling Henley my home now, I originate from Mountmellick, a small market town in the Irish midlands, where I grew up with my five brothers and two sisters. Some of my earliest memories are of swimming with family and friends in a stretch of the river Oweness  known as ‘The Four Banks’, as well as on family holidays in Tramore and Curracloe in the south east of Ireland.

 

Having lived in Henley since early 2003, I am a sales director for a global software company.  While I used to travel a lot for work, I am a committed member of Henley Open Water Swimming Club (HOWSC), and I swim year round in the River Thames with my club mates and Henley Mermaid friends. Having had a 15 year break from swimming, I say that one of the best decisions I ever made was to join HOWSC, and with the friends and support that I've found in the club, I successfully completed the Thames Marathon twice, as well other open water swim events, and also 100km in 100 days swim challenge in the summer of 2018.

Swims completed: