Conversation Corner

With  Sally Anne Minty-Gravett, MBE, United Kingdom, 2005 Honor Swimmer

English Channel Double and Solos in five different decades and 2020 booked for six! Chair of the Jersey Long Distance Swimming Club for 25 years. Taught/mentored the world’s largest marathon community –26 English Channel Swimmers and some with several swims – and being the smallest general population of 100,000.


Early Swimming Days, the Move to Open Water, and the Open Water Swimming Community in the Early Days

Sally moved from Africa to Jersey (in the Channel Islands near France) at age of three.  She learned to swim in the only pool — a lido in the sea. The first indoor pool came at age 12,  and hence winter training, more swimmers, and speed.  Sally moved to longer distances through the challenges of mentor Morris Lakeman: “Let’s see of if you can swim 4 miles from here to way over there.” By age 17, she completed the 10.5 mile Lake Windermere swim – her first “epic” marathon.

jersey-ukFamous People Along the Way

Sally is one of the famous channel swimmers and “grew up” with the greats in Dover:  Alison, Kevin, Mike, Des and Penny.

The Swims

Sally’s smile after her recent English Channel Double remains. Other highlights include a 1975 Channel Centenary Relay (2nd of 9 teams with an average age under 15) and The Windemere Internationals of 1978, 82 and 86.

The toughest swims – very close to home.  What started as a simple 5 miles around the Island of Sark in a group – encountered adverse tides and took nearly 5 hours.  Jersey to France – never easy.

Lot’s left to do!  Sally still looks at Rottnest, Cook Strait, and Gibraltar.


Olympic 10k Marathon Swim

Sally prefers the epic swims:  point A to B or around an island.   Swimming around red, yellow or orange buoys hasn’t the same satisfaction.

One Thing to Change about Open Water/Marathon Swimming

Just be transparent – say what you plan to do and what you did.  A long swim announcement is fantastic news – just remember to say that you wore a wetsuit.

Training and Staying Injury Free

In the era of 30,000 to 50,000/week training plans, physios, and shoulder injuries – Sally has a different approach. In the winter:  spinning, weight, running and maybe 7k in the pool each week.  In the summer a base of 15k/week with the occasional 5 hour swim.   Into her fifth decade as a record setter – injury free.  Part of the secret is a great “big swim confidence and memory”.


Sally’s year proved to be memorable:  moved to part time pool teaching – with all holidays off in December,  husband Charlie Gravett’s announced induction to the IMSHOF in March, honoured with a MBE in June and her English Channel Double in August.

End with a Chuckle

Some swimmers finish this big swim in a desperate condition.  Near the end of her Double she asked about a time check and smiled – to the minute the 41st anniversary of completing her first solo.