So, the thing I have been asked most since announcing my Channel swim is…
Why would I swim all that way? Why not take a ferry? WHY??!!
My short answer is; I love to SWIM, I love an ADVENTURE, I want to INSPIRE people, and I want to FUNDRAISE for the local children’s hospital, where I currently work as a nurse. But for the nitty gritty answer, I thought it best to write a blog or 2.
This is me and one of my little brothers – I love an old photo! I have been swimming since as long as I can remember. I remember my lovely dad taking us to the local pool on Saturday mornings. I remember my south east London swimming club Saxon Crown; the yellow swim cap with a blue crown on it, the pick and mix on sale after lessons and my old swim coach Bob, shouting at us from the poolside to kiiiiiiiiiiiiiick! (Even though I’m sure he smoked 40-a-day and couldn’t have kicked anywhere near as much as he was yelling at us to!)
I remember swimming parties and swimming cakes made by my sweet, clever mum. And I remember holidays! Swimming in Scottish lochs, French rivers, thermal pools in Iceland, the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Mediterranean… Don’t get me wrong, I also remember being sure I would drown under a float, my littlest brother cutting his chin open on a water slide with blood everywhere, and sitting on a rock in the sea crying that I couldn’t get back to shore because there were jellyfish in the water! But on the whole, swimming was a brilliant part of my childhood!
And it continues to be an amazing part of my adulthood. More rivers, lakes, mountain pools, seas and oceans, with a bit of surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, jumping off waterfalls, bridges and any other suitable bit of coastland, thrown in for good measure. The husband feels the same, which is handy, and one by one our kids have been dragged along with us and indoctrinated with the love of all things H2O!
In 2018 I joined an amazing sea swimming club in Brighton – iSwimBrighton – and also became the proud owner of 2 of Daniel Start’s Wild Swimming books. The books are SUPERB and stacked full of beautiful hideaways to explore and go for a dip. Last year we went to a wedding in Somerset with some friends. On the way down, we found Swim Spot 101; ‘a pretty stretch of river running by the church lawns, with rope swing’. Everyone jumped in and had a great time! After lunching on bacon sarnies that we cooked up on the banks and then scrambling into our wedding clothes in the church car park, we whizzed off to celebrate our lovely friend’s wedding and ceilidh the night away (possibly smelling of rivers? But no one said anything!). A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
I love swimming and I love and adventure! And I’ll finish with a quote…
A place I used to swim as a kid was the Eric Liddell Sports Centre, named after Eric Liddell (funnily enough) an olympic gold medalist runner. He said
‘I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run I feel his pleasure.’
So like good old Eric, I know I am made for purpose, I am also made to swim, and when I swim I come alive.