Originally the goal was very simple: swim the English Channel. It took four years to turn a dream into a goal and then turn a goal into an accomplishment. I thought I would be done with this crazy amounts of swimming thing. But now I am addicted. Addicted to the sense of joy and accomplishment that comes from striving to do something you thought was beyond you. Addicted to being in better shape at 54 than I was at 44 and, most likely, 34 and even 24. Addicted to the marathon swimming community - wonderful, wonderful, wonderful people in this sport. I have gotten closer to friends I already had and I now have friends around the world that I would not otherwise have.
In 2014 I have a few swims planned. The first is a triple crossing of St Thomas/ St John (USVI) scheduled for January 18th. Then June 28th a lap around Manhattan. Three weeks later, on July 19th one length from Catalina island into the mainland. Hope to be allowed to swim in the first 3River Swim in Pittsburgh September 13th. And hope to get another swim done in either late August or early October.
(July 2013) For as long as I can remember, even before I learned how to swim at age 13, I have dreamt of swimming The English Channel.
The English Channel is slightly less than 21 miles straight across, but as far as I know, no one has ever been able to swim straight across. It is not atypical to cover 30 miles during a swim.
During the swimming season, the water temperature bobs around 57 to 63 degrees F. And, no, you are not allowed to use a wetsuit. You can use a swim suit, cap, goggles and ear plugs. (No MP3 players or anything else that would help you keep pace either.)
It is now 40 years since I learned how to get across a 25 yard pool and I am trying to join the Half Century Club: the 57 people, who were over the age of 50 when they successfully swam across The Channel. In total, there are only about 1,700 people and about 300 Americans who have successfully swum The Channel.
How long will it take? The answer really depends on the day and on me. I know two swimmers, who are both better swimmers than I am at any distance, that took more than 14 hours - so I am trying to be mentally prepared for 16 hours. But the slowest person over the age of 50 took more than 28 hours - I am asking the team to be patient with me for 20 hours. If it is a great (calm) day, I hope to go faster than 16 hours. If it is a rough day, I hope to be tough enough to hang on.
I made an attempt September 2012. Still not sure what prevented completion of the swim, but I have some “unfinished business” with the Channel. To see the course I swam click here. To read more about it on my blog click here.
When do I swim? I don't know. The way it works is you book a 'slot' with a particular captain on a particular tide. My team and I have the first swimmable slot (day) with Andy King on the tide that starts August 14th.
If you would like to follow the swim click here, the GPS Tracker will update our progress during the swim.