Episode 97

Overcoming adversity: Simone Ackermann and Sophie Gasson

It’s so easy to look at Instagram and feel like everyone else is constantly smashing PBs and smiling their way through training and events. But we all have setbacks along the way, extra challenges that we face, doubt in our head. So let's hear it for two very different women who are happy to share their own experiences with you. Professional triathlete Simone Ackermann trains with her local tri club, had to rely on financial support from her Dad and even swapped countries in order to compete at Tokyo 2020. While amateur swimmer Sophie Gasson's dream of swimming the channel was pulled away by the tides, when she was 16 hours into her swim and she could see France in the distance.

You'll hear:

06:32 Start of the interview with channel swimmer Sophie Gasson, ten days after her attempt to swim the channel.

08:25 Sophie says she isn't some kind of super human swimmer or an elite swimmer 'I didn't swim for my school, I didn't swim for a club or for Uni. I really like swimming, I like the cold and I like the feeling that the sea is different every time you get in it.'

12:00 Sophie talks about why swimming the channel appealed to her.

20:00 How Sophie mentally prepared for her attempt for three years and what happened when the weather started to delay her attempt. 'Suddenly I'm not allowed to go and it really threw me.

34:30 How Sophie to strength from the people she supports through her work as a cancer rehabilitation specialist.

37:25 'I could see France ahead of me, I could see the cliffs and then it all went belly up but I had no idea what was going on.' 'We must be nearly there' I thought. I didn't know that the tide was sweeping us really fast towards Calais'

42:30 In the end we got told to get out by the French authorities, because we were in the shipping lane. But in the grand scheme of things I didn't do it, I'm not a channel swimmer because I didn't set foot in France. We did the very best we could. I swam for 16hours and 4 minutes and I got pulled out because of the tide, not because I couldn't do it.

51:20 Why age really doesn't matter when it comes to taking yourself out of your comfort zone.

54:52 Start of the Simone Ackermann interview, which kicks off with Simone talking about her experience taking part in the Super League Triathlon Championship Series 2021.

1:04:42 The difference in funding systems between New Zealand and South Africa and why Simone wouldn't have been able to go the Olympics, had it not been for her Dad.

1:09:30 Simone trains on her own, or with her local tri club when she is back in New Zealand 'a bunch of middle age men, who are lawyers, accountants, doctors. My setup in New Zealand is very different to most of my fellow competitors.'

1:12:45 Why Simone is a huge fan of Parkrun 'with being stuck in New Zealand, for a lot of last year, it became the main event! It's just such a good event, it's accessible for anyone and it's brilliant for anyone to set a goal and work towards. I can't think of any event quite like it in the world. I think as a person just going out there, it's just the best. I would encourage anyone to go along to their local event.'

1:18:55 Since Rio it hasn't been a smooth journey and if you had asked me back then (Rio) I wouldn't have thought I would have got to where I am right now. "Everyone is having to have some little battle along the line"

Find out more about this week's guests

Simone Ackermann Facebook

Sophie Gasson's fundraising page

Friday November 12th 2021 MOVE Charity Ball tickets

03:35 Resilient Nutrition's Meet the nutter: Fred Newton

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About the Podcast

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Inside Tri Show
Helen Murray brings you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond

About your host

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Helen Murray

Helen has been working in triathlon for a decade as an athlete, coach and broadcaster.

Helen hosts the Inside Tri Show podcast bringing you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond