A WOMAN who has swum every day in ice cold waters for the last two years for charity said it “doesn’t get any easier”.

Ruth Rayner, from Hove, started sea swimming in May 2017 but made it part of her daily routine from March 16, 2020.

Since then, she has swum in cold temperatures in the open ocean, harbours or reservoirs as a way of “coping through unsettling times” for the last 730 days.

Ruth said February last year was tough after her grandmother and aunt died in the space of two days.

The 50-year-old found herself swimming through snow blizzards, gale force winds and even breaking the ice on a reservoir one day to get in the water to “numb the pain of overwhelming grief”.

After her first year of swimming, Ruth raised £1,900 for Alzheimer’s Society and £965 for the RNLI.

She said: “I have swum through three winters and am almost out on the warmer side of my fourth. In case you're wondering, no, it doesn't get easier, you just know what to expect and what to wear before and after to limit the pain."

The Argus: Ruth swam in the ocean, reservoirs and lakesRuth swam in the ocean, reservoirs and lakes

She was excited to end the challenge last year, but soon realised she missed the water. So she put the swimsuit and hat back on and raised even more money for both charities.

This year, Ruth has raised £900 for Alzheimer’s Society and £650 for the RNLI.

Ruth added: “I was looking forward to the challenge ending as I was pretty tired and still in the early stages of grief. I needed time to adjust, process and rest.

“It soon became apparent though, that the only way I could adjust and process my emotions, was in the ocean. I was calm and things were clearer in there, so I carried on swimming. Every day.”

In terms of why she chose each charity, Ruth said: “Grandma had Alzheimer’s and, although she died of Covid-19 aged 95, this disease was not going to go away.

“She was a strong, capable lady and I am proud to say we have always had an incredibly close bond. I have too many memories to mention but many involved swimming, from her taking me for my weekly swimming lesson when I was small, to me teaching her to swim when I was a teenager.”

The Argus: Ruth, centre with pink jacket, surrounded by her friends after completing the challenge - picture by Julia ClaxtonRuth, centre with pink jacket, surrounded by her friends after completing the challenge - picture by Julia Claxton

Meanwhile, Ruth said as a keen surfer and swimmer she knows the dangers of the sea which is why she wanted to raise money for the RNLI.

She said: “Too many people are still drowning. More than ever we need the RNLI’s help. As a charity, the RNLI depends on our donations so it can go on saving lives and keeping us and our loved ones safe.”

For more information on Ruth’s fundraisers visit her RNLI and Alzheimers JustGiving pages.