Publish date: 15 March 2024

Carol Carter - World swimming championships.jpg

Meet Carol Carter, Executive Assistant to Trust Chairman Tom Kibasi and Interim Chief Executive Officer Paul Stefanoski. Since the launch of the West London Get Fit campaign in January 2023, Carol has been sharing inspirational stories of her great love for outdoor swimming. On Friday 8 March Carol took part in the Winter Swimming World Championships in Tallinn, Estonia and became a bronze medallist in the 25m ice fly in her age group 65 to 69 category.

Here is Carol’s inspirational story of how she took part in the competition.

Which competition did you take part in and where?

Carol Carter - World swimming championships bronze medal.jpgI took part in the Winter Swimming World Championships which, this year, took place in Tallinn, Estonia. This is the third time I have taken part in the Winter Swimming World Championships; the previous two years they took place in Lake Bled, Slovenia. The competition rules are you can only wear a swim hat, goggles and swimming costume – no are wetsuits allowed.

How many people took part?

I think about 1000 people took part from 40 different countries. Over the five days of competition, participants were registered for various races, some short distances and some longer distances at 450m.  There were about 17 of us from my swimming club that attended, the support and camaraderie made it all the more special

What were conditions like on race days?

On the day of my first ‘race’ (I used that term very loosely!) it was cold, but sunny in the morning, but it became very windy later in the day.  Overnight, air temperatures went down to -7 degrees, some nights, with daytime air temperatures no more than 2 degrees throughout the week.  The pool, which had been laid out in the harbour, froze overnight and had to be cleared before the races could start in the mornings. The official water temperature was around 1.5 degrees but we all thought it was much colder than that. 

How far did you swim? 

Carol Carter - World swimming championships GB flag.jpg

I did a 25m ice fly in 30.27 seconds and won a bronze medal in my age group. I also took part in the 50m breaststroke which I completed in 1.01.74 and was 5th in my age group; along with the 25m freestyle in 27.5 seconds and was 9th in my age group. We also took part in a world record breaking ice swim relay, where 807 swimmers swam one length (25m) of the pool in a relay, breaking the previous record of 505 swimmers.

How did you feel about your achievements?

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Being one of only three women in my age group in the World Swimming Championships 25m butterfly is a pretty good achievement.

What is your next challenge?

The next Winter Swimming World Championships will take place in Oulu, Finland in March 2026 but before that I have several trips planned over the next few months. These include going to the Lake District, Yorkshire, Greek Sporades, Lake Bala in Wales and a swim in the River Thames in August to complete the trio of half marathons (5.5k in 2012), full marathon (13k which I did last year), and this new distance of 9K.

If you’re a local organisation that supports the West London community in staying active and would like to get your local NHS staff involved. Please get in touch by sending an email to