Anne Marie to swim for Arab peace

Donegal Person of the year and renowned open ocean swimmer, Ann Marie Ward, is set to take part in a unique North Africa swim to promote peace in the Arab world.

Donegal Person of the year and renowned open ocean swimmer, Ann Marie Ward, is set to take part in a unique North Africa swim to promote peace in the Arab world.

Anne Marie, who holds the Donegal honour jointly with Hugh Green is also the World Open Ocean swimmer of the year and has been invited to join two others for a high profile Mediterranean swim across the Tunisian coast.

It is hoped the venture will expand to include the coastal waters of Egypt and Libya in future.

Anne Marie will join up with her host Nejib Belhedi who is undertaking a 1,400km swim along the shoreline of his country to promote peace and harmony in the Arab world. He started his task during a time of significant political and social tension when civil wars and social upheaval were occurring throughout the Middle East.

Now his campaign has gained significant media attention in the North African country.

Anne Marie jets out on Sunday for a week long stay that will see her cover 10km per day starting from Port el Kantaoui.

“It is nice to able to support the event and it has been gaining a lot of momentum. We hope it will help promote peace and also with the planning of further swims across Egyptian and Libyian waters,” she explained.

She says it will be an interesting experience swimming in a country with such strong customs but the thought of swimming in warmer climbs than the bracing Atlantic waters she is used to is also appealing.

“I don’t know how I’ll handle the heat” she laughed.

Recently Ann Marie and swimming colleague Nuala Moore both qualified for the “World Ice Swimming Association” by completing a mile long swim in water of just six degrees.