I thought I’d link to my friend Bethany’s blog for her re-telling of her English Channel swim. I tend to blank out a lot when I run, so her clarity during events always amazes me. She’s one of the most mindful people I know.
A few details about the Channel swim:
— The swimmers have to jump off their officially captained boat (with official observer) and swim to the beach in England, get fully out of the water and signal back that the swim is to commence. In this case, Bethany took off from Shakespeare Beach in Dover. In her first post, you can see me in the distant background standing on the beach as Bethany swims to it, photographed from the boat. I took photos of Bethany from beachside (two of which I’ve posted here).
— To be considered an official Channel crossing, you can’t wear a wetsuit. The waters were something like in the 50s. I’d die after about 20 minutes. Crazy shit, that.
— The swimmer cannot be touched by another person in any way during the course of the swim and the swimmer cannot hold onto the boat or any other floatation device during the swim. The crew tosses bottles of feed to the swimmer throughout. In the last post, she mentions my husband, David, swimming behind her in the final moments. He was careful to keep his distance from her so as to not disqualify her swim by accidentally touching her. The captain had requested he follow her to the beach in France because it was dark and she’d been swimming so long, so there was concern about getting her back to the boat as well as how hard it would be for her to walk on land after nearly 18 hours of swimming.
— I mentioned in an earlier post that she swam about 41 miles. If the tides hadn’t shifted, it would’ve been closer to the 26 miles my husband swam when he crossed last year. Bethany’s attitude of “whatever” when she realized she missed the landing on the cap (the cap being Cap Nez Gris on the coast of France, south of Calais) is hugely inspirational to me. As a runner, I can’t imagine being that close to the finish, only to be told I’d have to keep going another 3 hours.
Next time I feel pukey during a race, I hope I remember poor Bethany soldiering through her fantastic feat. I’m officially a big, fat wimp compared to my badass friend.