Mental Fortitude

by Surf Lifesaving World Champion Laura Quilter

Ocean swimming is a powerful activity, one that ignites will-power and fortifies relationships.

It does more than simply build fitness and improve strength.

One way ocean swimming could benefit more than your physique is that it builds mental fortitude.

It is one thing to be motivated to get to the gym, it is another to drag a damp, cold wetsuit over your skin as the rain pelts in to the sand.

Nothing builds mental fortitude like swimming when it’s cold.

When the first surge of icy water literally drags the breath from your chest and you choose to ignore that internal voice clutching at every excuse to get you away from the waters edge.

Swimming while the last rays of sunshine dance atop glassy water is incredible, but it’s the days when the sky growls, grows dark and you choose to do it anyway, which are the most memorable. When others opt for a coffee and an afternoon perched in front of the television, you choose to persevere.

It forms a foundation for tomorrow.

A work project may be put in to perspective once you have endured a freezing swim through the sea as the wind blasts every stroke and whips the water in to a frenzy around you.


About Laura Quilter

Laura has been a competitive swimmer and Surf Lifesaver for 13 years. In that time she have amassed a number of techniques and ideas about how to deal with doubt, fear, motivation and stagnation. She spends her spare moments away from the water working towards a Bachelor in Communications, where she’s discovered a passion for Cultural Studies and Public Presentation.

Laura has represented New Zealand at the following events:

  • 2012 Rescue World Championships (Surf Lifesaving)
  • 2014 Commonwealth Games (Swimming)
  • 2014 Pan Pacific Championships (Swimming)
  • 2014 Rescue World Championships (Surf Lifesaving)
  • 2016 Rescue World Championships (Surf Lifesaving)

Achievements include:

  • Current World Record Holder 50m manikin carry (Surf Lifesaving)
  • Current New Zealand Open Record Holder, 50m manikin carry (Surf Lifesaving)
  • Current New Zealand Open Record Holder, 100m manikin carry (Surf Lifesaving)
  • New Zealand Open National Title Holder, 50m Butterfly (2010, 2013, 2014, 2015)
  • New Zealand Open National Title Holder, 100m Freestyle (2015, 2016)
  • New Zealand Open National Title Holder, 50m Freestyle (2014, 2015)

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