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  1. ITV Report

Swimmer stops record attempt to care for autistic son

Photo:

Endurance swimmer Beth French from Somerset has decided to call an end to her record breaking attempt to swim seven oceans in a year.

The 38-year-old from Milverton near Taunton said the challenge was putting too much strain on her 8 year old autistic son.

ITV West Country presenter Mark Longhurst spoke to Beth on Skype and asked her if it had been worth it.

"It was a huge decision, but the lesson I chose today is to let go. I knew I can be driven, I am tenacious and I absolutely believe that I could achieve Oceans7 in a year. But the cost to my son is too great."

– Beth French, endurance swimmer
Beth tackling the Gibralter strait

To date, only six people have completed the Oceans7′s gruelling list over their lifetime. One woman managed four in a year. Beth was tackling all seven of the epic swims in a single 12 month period to become the first person in history to complete Oceans7 as a swim series.

She spoke to ITV News Westcountry before starting the record breaking attempt in September last year:

It was during swim number five that Beth decided that it was time to stop. She was tackling the Tsugaru Strait in Japan when her perspective on the challenge changed.

"I ended up swimming for everyone else, feeling bad for myself and my son. Sorry to those that are disappointed, I swam on for over 5hrs after I wanted to end it - I have never wanted to get out before. I believe it is the right thing to do for my family." "Thank you to everyone for all your support. It has meant so much to me. The adventure isn't over, just changed."

– Beth French, endurance swimmer

Many of Beth's supporters have been tracking her progress online, and she's received numerous messages of support after posting about her decision on facebook this morning.