For her second year, Margaret Clougher will be returning to the Hobart MS Mega Swim. Margaret is a 92-year-old, ‘country girl’ and retired nurse. MS chatted with Margaret recently to find out why she is taking on this challenge with her team, the Hobart Dolphins, to support people living with MS.
Thanks so much for your time today, Margaret. My first question is about the Hobart MS Mega Swim. What does the event mean to you?
I suppose the main thing was that I was a trained nurse for 40 years, so I looked after a lot of MS cases in that time, and I saw the impact that it had on them and their families. I retired when I was 65.
I’d say that some families could cope a lot better than others. One (person with MS) I remember, was a married women who lived in Hobart, who didn’t have any family or children here, and she ended up living in a nursing home. Her husband visited every day until it got too much, and he disappeared. It really had an impact on me.
You also have single parents with school aged children looking after their parent with MS.
One of my granddaughter’s best friends is in her early 30s and is married to a person with MS.
I can see why you’re taking on this challenge. You’re a very caring person. Have you always been a swimmer?
I’ve always enjoyed swimming, and I’ve been involved in competitive swimming for the last 35 years. I’m a country girl, so I was swimming in the creek when I was younger.
I now swim with the Hobart Dolphins Masters Swimming Club. They're a great Mob. Our motto is ‘fun and fitness’.
The MS Mega Swim is a very different experience, you weren’t swimming far in the creek. I don’t swim as far as I used to. I train by swimming three or four days a week and I just do laps.
You took part in the Hobart Mega Swim in 2019, tell me about your experience.
I enjoyed it. It was very impressive, with very young people. I suppose I was the oldest in the group, but there’s another person is only five or six years younger. It was very enjoyable and a very good cause.
I don’t take the late-night shift, I get to pick the morning shift.
I wish you all the best and I hope it raises a lot of money.
It’s inspiring to see our Paralympians winning gold, especially the ones with MS.
How do you fundraise?
Well, I’m not very good at it. I don’t like asking for money. If it comes up in conversation, I’ll tell them. I’m going to put something on Facebook.
“I’m trying not to act my age, but it catches up with you.”
What advice would you have for someone new to swimming?
I think if you’re a swimmer, [the MS Mega Swim] is an extra incentive to do laps, you’re helping other people. You’re helping other people by doing something.