When I was younger I completed a solo swim from England to France in a time of 14 hours and 43 minutes.
However, the physical and mental trauma of completing a solo channel swim so young led me to give up swimming just weeks after my successful attempt to reach France. I had no intention of swimming seriously again and in the 6 years that followed, I rarely went to a swimming pool or ventured into the sea.
However, when Joel came to me to talk about West Papua, and taking part in the swim for West Papua, I realised that if anything was going to get me back in the water, it was going to be this.
Abby after a training session in the Olympic pool at the London 2012 Aquatics Centre.
The reason Swim for West Papua resonates so strongly with me is because of my deep concern for justice. The situation in West Papua is a million miles from just – the treatment of the people is cruel and disgusting – and the world has stood by and let it happen for too long.
For me, swimming for West Papua is about standing alongside the West Papuan people and the Free West Papua Campaign, and adding my voice to the growing number calling for an internationally supervised vote of independence, and for justice.
You can join the team too - simply by signing the petition here.
Add your name, #BackTheSwim and help #LetWestPapuaVote.