I’m hinted and murmured about this for a few months, ever since the successful Channel relay, but I’m going to state it out loud (or write it down at least):
I Will Swim the English Channel
I don’t know when yet, but it now a confirmed entry on my personal to-do list.
In reality I think I’m aiming for 2018. Next year I want to do some different swims and also write my book. I’m hoping that I might need to spend some time in 2016 working on elements of that too (presenting etc). So then I’ll book a 2018 tide and use 2017 as a serious training / build-up year (possibly including swims such as the BLDSA’s 2-way Windermere).
A real swimmer
This year has been a real eye-opener for me in terms of swimming and how it has become a part of me. Initially (as this blog is testimony to) this open water swimming stuff was just a bucket-list thing – I wanted to swim Windermere. I managed that within 6 months of committing to it in 2012 and thought that might be that, especially as for personal reasons I couldn’t swim in any events in 2013.
But then late in 2013 I got the itch again and focussed a lot of my energies this year on my swimming again.
I’ve been massively inspired by many of the people I’ve met and swam with this year, from the SwimTrek trip in April, my Channel relay in July and through all the BLDSA events that I’ve been to this year. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and swim with two holders of the King of the Channel title (and both Kevin and Mike were very humble and supportive of other swimmers) and met many, many other channel swimmers, including many successful channel swims this year. I’ve spent a lot of time getting emotional as I watched swim trackers get close to France – it’s a bit like the old days of watching football matches on Ceefax!
And every person that I’ve met, every tracker that I’ve sat and hit refresh on at 5-minute intervals, every swim report that I’ve read has just added to the realisation that this is something I want, or perhaps more to the point have to try to do.
In swimming circles (at least in the UK) Windermere is often seen as the marker of a true long distance swimmer. However for me now that is a channel swim and so that is what I must do to see myself as a real swimmer.
I’m not telling you
This blog will of course chart the journey towards that swim, but I don’t think that I’ll actually announce the date and broadcast when I’m actually heading for France. I know this is slightly hypocritical of me – as I’ve loved watching the other trackers – but I have a slightly strange relationship with support in this sense (which I’ll blog about at some stage). For me, the best way to do it would be to be slightly under the radar, to just get on and get across, then hopefully to have a celebratory pint!
Of course, one of the biggest elements of a channel swim is luck. Not just with the weather and tides on the day, but also in the run up to the swim. My lack of swimming last year was not planned, this year has been tough from a personal perspective which hasn’t helped the swimming. So all of this is dependent on a bit of luck and a good tailwind! That said, it is now a strong enough desire that I will do everything I can to overcome any of those adversities to achieve the goal.
So, wish me luck and I’ll see you in France.
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If you want to read some reports from Channel swimmers, check out these:
– Emma France – http://www.emma2france.com/solos/2014/2014-english-channel.html
– Mark Sheridan – http://reminiscencesofalongdistanceswimmer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/english-channel-swim-11th12th-july-2014.html
– Ella the mermaid – http://ellathemermaid.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/english-channel-swim-4-8-13-the-story/
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