Friday, 10 September 2010
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
I feel the need to write
I guess you all have an appreciation of how tough that swim was – you all lived through it with is via email and maps.
I am not sure you understand how incredible it was.
Let’s be honest, he man is not the world’s most gifted swimmer. Going slower makes it harder.
He doesn’t have a history of participating endurance events – experience counts
If he had come to the boat after 12 hours and said he wanted to pack in, I would not have dissuaded him. We were miles off France and he was looking at doing his longest ever swim AGAIN, on top of the 12 hours he had already done.
The sea was not good in the middle. A big swell and chop on top, and swimming into the wind is much harder. You feel like you have to swim hard just to stay still. If it was like that in Dover we would not have been allowed to start, because he would probably have failed
At times Wayne did swim just to stay still as the tide worked against him
It was tough enough on the boat, and we were dry, could eat and sleep (a bit) and talk to each other. He had nothing to look at, nothing to think about, couldn’t hear much – just coldness, tiredness, soreness, saltiness and envy of the crew in their warm clothes, eating hot dogs.
Sitting in a chair for 20 hours would be demanding. Having to rotate your arms to move forward, having to turn your head just to breath, not being able to have 5 minutes of sleep in 21 plus hours is insane.
Wayne never complained, never looked back, never got grumpy at feed times and was always positive and keen to get going again. Other than 1 minute stops every half hour to eat and drink, he didn’t stop swimming crawl for 20 hours. 20 HOURS! That is absurd, ridiculous, madness. You couldn’t put a murderer through that kind of treatment, and Wayne did it voluntarily.
He was hoping for 14 hours, which would have meant finishing at sun down. But he had to swim for 6 extra hours in the dark! He knew he was behind schedule. I have no idea how he motivated himself to keep going. I would not have done it even if I had the advantage of starting at that point.
His self belief began to transmit itself to us on the boat, until we also began to believe he could do it. By the end we were worried that he had come so far and might yet fail because of the tides. He couldn’t see how near he was.
And the final hour was torture. Wayne went forward, the tide pushed him sideways and the coast got further away. The thought he got so near and might then have to swim another 4 – 6 hours was unbearable. He had to sprint, after having already done 19 hours – testament to his planning and steady pace earlier on
I expected him to be delirious when he got out – cold, hungry, sore, angry… Not a bit of it. He wanted to get dry of course and warm up, but he was lucid, wanted to hear what it was like for us, take some photos. We were exhausted and just wanted to sleep
More people have been to the top of Everest than have swum the Channel
The man is a legend.
Get him a cheeseburger and a beer