A swimming instructor said the desire to not disappoint two of her pupils desperate to see her name in the record books drove her on to become the first British woman to cross a famous stretch of water.

Emily Morris, 27, of Hampton, swam the 16-mile Cook Strait - the stretch of water between New Zealand’s North and South Islands - on March 9 and completed the crossing in nine hours 58 minutes.

Ms Morris, a duty manager and swimming instructor at Hampton Open Air Pool, swam the English Channel in 2006 and became only the 65th person to make it across the Cook Strait.

She said the desire to raise £5,000 to purchase and install a disabled chair hoist at the pool, which will enable users with physical disabilities to use it, kept her going, along with the dreams of two youngsters she teaches to swim.

She said: “I teach two children who love getting the Guinness Book of Records every Christma.

“They were so excited about seeing me in it, I was worried about letting them down.”

Ms Morris was due to take on the swim - considered to be one of the most dangerous and unpredictable waters in the world due to complex tides, changing weather, very cold water and marine life, including sharks and jelly fish - on February 23 but had to postpone it due to adverse weather conditions But she completed the gruelling challenge two weeks later.

She said: “Having prepared myself for February 23 I was ready and it was very difficult, mentally, to lose my slot and potentially my chance at setting a new world record.

“It was the most focused swim I have ever done and the most focused ten hours of my life, you couldn’t stop or you could get carried off.”

Ms Morris said she will now be hanging up her swimming costume but her efforts had seen the £5,000 target broken - and there is still time to donate at virginmoneygiving.com/emilymorris to donate.

She said: “I’m going to learn to dance, I want to take up latin dancing.

“I want to do something more sociable where I can have a laugh and meet other people and be able to talk while I’m doing it.”