Woman who taught herself to swim 12 months ago completes Ironman World Championships in Hawaii

Credit: University of Bristol

Megan Hamill, a student at University of Bristol, has learnt to swim in eight months as she prepares to take on the Ironman World Championships.
Megan Hamill swam 2.4 miles, cycled 112 miles and ran 26.2 miles to complete the Ironman challenge in Hawaii. Credit: University of Bristol

A woman who only taught herself to swim 12 months ago has successfully completed a gruelling physical challenge.

Meghan Hamill, from County Armagh, Northern Ireland competed in the Ironman World Championships, in Hawaii on Friday 14 October.

She swam 2.4 miles, cycled 112 miles and ran 26.2 miles to complete the challenge.

Speaking to ITV West Country, the 23-year-old said competing in Hawaii was "a dream come true."

Megan Hamill, 23, started teaching herself how to swim last October. Credit: Megan Hamill

The University of Bristol graduate only learnt how to swim 12 months ago.

She started teaching herself to swim using YouTube videos last October to try and overcome her fear of deep water.

Megan said: "That initial getting into the pool was really difficult.

"I was totally afraid of the water and felt really uncomfortable going to the pool as I felt all these people had just grown up swimming and would be looking at me struggling."

She said she didn't expect to be competing in the Iron Man World Championships 12 months later.

"Never in a million years did I think that adding the pool membership to my gym pass would have gotten me here - it's just crazy," she said.

Megan Hamill recently competed in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. Credit: Megan Hamill

Megan had previously lived with an eating disorder and now shares her recovery journey with 35,000 followers on social media.

She said completing the Iron Man Challenge has helped her develop her "mental armour."

"A lot of Iron Man is about your mindset. The amount of mental marathons you'll complete on the day and in training — you shouldn't underestimate it," she said.

Megan added: "You have to face it, you have to really take your fears head on and swallow them up."