GET TO KNOW: RECORD-BREAKING SWIMMER ‘BETH FRENCH’
BETH FRENCH – STAR OF FILM ‘AGAINST THE TIDES’
Our aim at HEY GIRL is to create and inspire, here we get a chance to introduce to you an amazing women ‘Beth French’.
The star of an award-winning feature-length documentary that follows marathon swimmer and world record holder Beth French, as she sets out to conquer Oceans Seven, a challenge consisting of the seven most dangerous sea-channels in the world. For extreme swimmers, it’s the ultimate test; the equivalent to the seven peaks in mountaineering. Only a handful of people have ever completed it, but Beth aims to become the first person ever to swim all seven in one year.
Enjoy and get inspired…
A big Hello and welcome to the HEY GIRL platform … what’s been you’re highlight today?
Waking up to a cloudless sky and touch of frost on the ground has started my day on a high, the way I see it, if you can wake up grateful, its gonna be a good day no matter what.
How old when you first jumped into the sea?
I can’t remember the first water I jumped in, I was notorious for crawling head first into the sea with waves crashing over my head much to my mums distress, sooooo pretty young!
What got you into sea swimming?
There are so many answers to this question, I have always been drawn to the water, and when I was a teenager and really ill, floating in water was the one place and time I didn’t hurt. The sea is perfect to me as every time you get in its different- its a living thing and you have to listen and feel what its mood is that day to get where you want to go. Your whole body becomes a sense organ reading waves and currents, it’s so meditative. The water was where I fell in love with my body, for what it could do regardless of how it looked or how I felt about it.
The Ocean’s 7 Challenge is such an amazing achievement what gave you the idea for it?
The idea of trying to complete the oceans seven challenge in a single year actually stemmed from my illness as a kid; I lost faith in my body and didn’t trust my energy levels, so channel swimming was a combination of celebrating what my body could do but also building trust in it all over again.
Here at HEY GIRL we are all about creating positive energy .. how do you create yours?
I am a sunny side up kinda girl- but I think celebrating small beauties and everyday miracles is my go to mindset. Marvelling at how a breeze feels on your face, noticing colours in your world, smile from a stranger…
What do you think about when you are swimming?
Most of the time when I am swimming I literally think nothing. I was a Buddhist nun for a year in Thailand and studied meditation there and one of my favourite things about swimming is the peace and space – the freedom of both mind and body, so I meditate on the rhythm of my arms or follow my breathing and just be.
“My greatest accomplishment has been reaching the stage where I feel I genuinely have nothing to prove to anyone… “
What was the hardest thing on your ‘Ocean’s 7 Challenge’?
Believe it or not, the actual swimming was the easiest part of the whole challenge- despite some of the swims taking 18-19hrs of non stop swimming. The stress of managing people and their expectations was the toughest thing and – even more than coming face to face with a tiger shark – seeing my son struggling in his life…
Who inspires you?
My son inspires me everyday- his perseverance and resilience to keep on trying even though what most people find normal he finds tough, he’s caring and open to adventure. It’s pretty humbling to witness him overcoming his difficulties with enough in the tank to make other people laugh. I like seeing the inspiration in everyday people – we are all pioneers in our own lives and the human spirit is incredible.
What wildlife have you seen while swimming?
I have been lucky enough to see some incredible marine wildlife- from pilot whales, heard humpback whale song so loud my whole body vibrated, shoals of rare red fin tuna whoosh by below, dolphins and turtles and squid, jellyfish and stunning phosphorescence at night- and of course, the tiger shark.
What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment in your life?
My greatest accomplishment has been reaching the stage where I feel I genuinely have nothing to prove to anyone, I feel self empowered and trust my inner voice. I am my best friend and greatest advocate- I own my destiny and choose my own definition of success.
“My son inspires me everyday- his perseverance and resilience to keep on trying even though what most people find normal he finds tough… “
AGAINST THE TIDES TRAILER
What one thing would you like people to take away from your film ‘Against the tide’?
You are the architect of your own success- not just building it but designing and creating your version of it. You call the shots and you are enough exactly as you are.
We released our issue “Spirit and Adventure” last year .. what would you define as an adventure?
Adventure has no defined goal- you may aim for something but adventure is what happens on the way- something that inspires you, takes you out of your comfort zone- teaches you about yourself and lets you grow
What’s your next adventure?
I see everyday as an adventure. I never know what I am going to face and that’s OK! These crazy times this last year have been tough but I have really found it useful to see life as an adventure so I can be creative with my time and look for what I can do rather than feel stuck with what I cant. When its safe to travel again, I am heading near the North Pole, to Svalbard to swim past an iceberg.
How can we support each other? And create unity?
I think to create unity we need to be brave and be vulnerable. Seeing other people bare their souls and sharing your own inner landscape, it makes you more gentle as we are all winging it, we all hurt and we are all trying our hardest. Human experience is best shared, however scary it is to open up, but without accepting yourself warts and all, how can you expect others to. Getting rid of judgement by seeing your own struggle in others, even if they handle it differently, is very humanising.
What music do you listen to when you are in the bath?
Oddly enough, I don’t tend to listen to music in the bath…. again, water is where I go to for peace! I have insanely eclectic tastes so anything from Skunk Anansie to Allegri’s Miserere…..
Do you have any questions for HEY GIRL?
Wouldn’t it be great if girls were brought up to see motherhood as an adventure not an end to everything they were before? How can we encourage girls to love their bodies for what they can do rather than what they look like?
This is such an amazing question, yes we totally agree that motherhood should be looked on as an adventure and not the end of what they were before. I have seen there’s lots of pressure on woman and girls about their body, the feeling that you should have a certain type of body. We think everyone has a different body and mind and thats something to be really celebrated. As the difference of us all makes life so exciting.
Big thanks to Beth for such an amazing and inspiring interview, the power of the human spirit is limitless
AGAINST THE TIDES is released On Demand in the US and UK from TODAY!! 1 March 2021