Exclusive interview with Zoe Connelly ahead of the National Open Water Spanish Championships in Banyoles in June. 

ZOE Connelly was successful in almost every sea swim she entered in the 2018 Open Water season during May and September.

“The last year has been extremely busy in my final year of Bachillrato,” said Zoe, from Los Montesinos, Alicante.

“My swimming has been put on hold slightly during exams – but I managed to compete at different local, regional and some national level,” said Zoe. Zoe, offered several Unconditional offers to study Law at Durham, Bristol or Nottingham University, and has accepted the offer from Durham.

“Hopefully I will be joining the Durham University Performance swimming squad, when it commences in September,” said Zoe.

After finishing third in the Junior category Oceanman 10km Benidorm in late April, Zoe will be swimming in National Open Water Spanish Championships in Banyoles on June 15.

“This last year has been one of the biggest challenges for me, trying to combine my continual Bachillerato examinations throughout the year, and now, intense study for my final year exams,” said Zoe.

“I have tried hard to combine this with my Open water, fins and normal swimming training and competitions.

“But at times my exams have had to take priority, which has proved valuable, as I have just accepted an Unconditional Offer to study Law at Durham University in the UK,” said Zoe.

“The course starts in September and will offer me an option to have a year studying in Europe as well,” said Zoe.

“Swimming is extremely important to me and I am still very dedicated. For the last four years I have travelled to Elche, 100 km a day, to get to training and have still found time for my studies,” said Zoe.

“However, this year has been a challenge trying to fit everything in! Yet I’ve still managed to qualify for Regional and National competitions as well as being selected for the Regional Squad,” said Zoe. “Even though exams have interrupted my training I still feel ready for the upcoming open water season – summer 2019,” said Zoe.

“I have just started the 2019 season with 3rd place in the 10km Oceanman Benidorm competition, 3rd in the 5.5km Altea Mediterranean Challenge and 1st in the 1500m Isla de Mazarron Travesia,” said Zoe.


“My goal in the upcoming year is to improve upon my previous achievements and try new disciplines if available to me at Durham University, to compliment my swimming,” said Zoe.

“I want to compete in the UK swimming circuit, both as an individual and as part of a team. I also want improve upon my personal bests,” said Zoe.

“I intend to continue swimming and wish to be an active part of the Durham University Swimming team,” added Zoe.

Zoe’s best achievements in the ast year: 6th – 400m Bi-Fins – Alicante 2018 – Spanish National Fins and Mono-Fins Championships; 3rd – Oceanman Junior 10km Benidorm 2019 – qualifying for the World Oceanman 10km final in Mexico Sept 2019.

2nd – Oceanman Junior 10km Tabarca Sea Swim 2018 – qualifying for the World Oceanman 10km final in Dubai 2018. Due to the cost Zoe was unable to go to Dubai.

3rd – Spanish National Open Water Circuit Junior category 2018. Selected for the Regional Valencian Absoluto Team Bi-fins swimming, 2018 and 2019.

Participating in the XXV and XXVI Spanish National Absoluto Fins Championships.

Selected for the Elche Club Natacion squad for the prestigious National “Copa de Clubs” in the Division of Honour 2018.

“Throughout the summer sea swimming season of 2018 I was placed in 1st or 2nd position in the 15 open water competitions I participated in across the south of Spain,” said Zoe.

“The distances I raced varied from 2km up to 10kms. I think now I prefer the longer distances and I am looking to try and get a place in the 12km Santa Pola to Tabarca Travesia 2020, but competitors are drawn by raffle and this year I did not get a place,” said Zoe.

“The diversity of these different swimming disciplines has given me the opportunity to improve many aspects of my swimming, personality and leadership skills,” said Zoe.

“Open water swimming has been a welcomed challenge – as I have proven to myself how much I can achieve with perseverance and dedication,” said Zoe.

“I have proved to myself nothing is impossible – if you try hard enough. And I want to continue this ethos at University,” said Zoe.