07/23/2014 01:04 EDT | Updated 09/22/2014 05:59 EDT

Sask. woman braves jellyfish, big waves to swim English Channel

Nothing could stop Saskatchewan's Meghan Chisholm from swimming across the English Channel yesterday — not choppy water, not severe nausea, not even a school of stinging jellyfish.

The 19-year-old from Swift Current persevered through 48 kilometres of open water to become the first person from her province to achieve the feat.

"I started crying because I was happy," she said. "I was all bashed up. And I tried to stand up but I couldn't. So I was crawling on the rocks and rolling and finally when I stood up ... I wanted to scream but my voice and my throat was so sore."

A few minutes before 8 p.m. local time Tuesday, she emerged from the 18 C water close to Audresselles, France. But the 14-hour journey that started near Dover, England, was not an easy one, with a number of obstacles along the way.

Chisholm said she was about two hours into the swim when she felt nauseous. She threw up in the water several times, emptying her stomach.

There was choppy water, too, and at one point she was dealing with three-metre-high waves.

At around the half-way mark, Chisholm said, she heard her mother yelling from the boat that accompanied her on the journey.

"She was like, 'There's jellyfish!' and I look and I was like 'Oh my goodness!'" she told Morning Edition host Sheila Coles on Wednesday morning.

"I went through a school of jellyfish. It turns out one got me, brushed on my nose, one got me on my wrist, and on my thigh."

Cheered on by her family, who were waving the Canada, Saskatchewan and City of Swift Current flags, Chisholm soldiered on.

"I kept asking, 'How much longer? How much longer?" she said. When she was told there was only about three kilometres to go, she knew she would make it.

French reception committee

As she emerged on the rocky shore, three French people came forward and welcomed her.

"They all stood there applauding," she said. 

On Wednesday, Chisholm was back in England recovering from her ordeal. 

"My arms are really sore," she said.

She'll return to Saskatchewan where she plans to study nursing.

The soreness will fade, but not the memories of what she accomplished this week.

"It's just one of my dreams, one of my goals," she said. "What greater thing to do than to swim the Channel?"