First time Can Tooer, 55-year-old Annie Kenyon (pictured above left), exceeded her expectations at her first Can Too goal event – the Sydney Harbour Splash by coming second in her age group in the 1km swim. Her excitement swelled especially as she hadn’t undergone any official swim training since she was 16-years-old.
What led you on your journey to join Can Too?
I’ve always found joy in the water – whether that’s swimming in it, or walking on the beach, it’s definitely my happy place.
I spent my childhood doing squad training morning and night for years, but I haven’t done anything official since I was 16-years-old so it’s definitely been awhile.
My father passed away in late 2020 in the middle of the Covid lockdown and it was particularly stressful, so I ran away to the beach for a desperately needed holiday soon after.
It was there, every day as I enviously watched the ocean swimmers training off Terrigal Beach, and then listened to their happy banter over coffee at the surf club on my morning walk, that I decided to stop thinking about it and just do it!
Why Can Too?
I’d been watching my good friend Kate Cooper absolutely flourish doing the Can Too program so I had FOMO!
Why did you decide to take on the challenge of an ocean swim?
To prove to myself that I could do it. To overcome my hang up of being seen in my swimming costume. To get stronger. To push myself outside my comfort zone. To have fun!
How did you feel achieving your first Can Too goal and making it on to the podium?
Absolutely joy filled! So damn proud! Who’d have believed that a woman in her 50s could be standing on a podium for doing a swimming race. It was so exciting!!
How do you feel Can Too prepared you for the swim event?
The program is incredibly effective the way it helps everyone – no matter what their age or ability. It builds up your confidence and meets you where you are in your journey. I loved that we had all levels of swimmers in our group and everybody was supported. Such a great community spirit! AND the coaches were amazingly supportive in particular my coach Paul, who was good at challenging me to do better and to do more and his unerring faith that I could do it was really helpful.
What are some of the key learnings?
That I am stronger than I think I am. That the crap that goes on between my ears is just that – crap, and that I can’t let it stop me. That if I set myself a goal and take small steps every single day to achieve it, I can do anything.
Did being part of the Can Too community help you reach your goal?
The support I received from everyone in the Can Too community was gold. I love being a part of a group of people who are truly committed to raising EVERYONE up.
Has being part of the Can Too Autumn Swim program benefitted you in other ways?
My hubbie is very impressed and loves to boast about my exploits! I also think he’s inspired to do it too, but being Scottish, he wasn’t brought up in the water so he’s got to learn to swim properly first!?Watch this space cause I reckon he’ll do it too.
What is your favourite Can Too moment?
Getting my official results after the race and seeing the number two next to my name.
And then almost immediately after that, cheering my swimming buddies Cat & Hilary as they finished the race – a HUGE personal achievement for Hilary with unwavering support provided from our Team Captain Cat who was with her every step of the race.
What’s most rewarding about fundraising?
I have always enjoyed helping inspire people to donate – and they get a real buzz knowing that their generosity is making a difference and they’re supporting my personal goal of ocean swimming too. I’m also looking forward to a sausage sizzle at Bunnings next weekend for an extra bit of fundraising and fun with the gang.
How have you fundraised?
As a former TV producer, I’m a keen storyteller so have told my story on social media regularly throughout my nine-week journey. Keeping people across the ups and downs by doing FB Lives, FB Stories, as well as daily inspirational quotes on my Insta account. And then sharing the link to my fundraising page just in case they want to donate.
What is your advice to others training for a Can Too goal or contemplating it?
Absolutely go for it. Don’t let anything stop you because no matter your ability, you can do this – with the Can Too to support you.
How do you keep motivated when training gets tough?
I believe that when training gets tough, that’s when I’m really growing and earning my ocean swimmer credentials, so I have to push through it, cause my success lies on the other side of my comfort zone.
Why did you like taking part in the I Can Too Challenge to share your journey?
I love inspiring others cause if I can do it anyone can!
Are there any supporters you’d like to thank?
My hubbie Reuben, who’s my number one fan!
My next goal:
My business goal is to grow my new coaching biz so by end 2021 I will be working with 10 clients every week. My personal goal is to do the 2km swim of course!
See the below video to spot Annie on the podium at the Sydney Harbour Splash.