Just to make things very clear I am swimming the length of the English Channel in the lido, I am not swimming from England to France in the sea.
A day after committing to my Aspire challenge, I joined a conversation by the showers and mentioned the Aspire Swim. ‘Oh,’ said one, who has just conquered the Dart 10k (yes, she swam ten kilometres in a river in Devon, serious respect eh to her and all the other swimmers), ‘why don’t you swim the proper Channel with me? You can swim for an hour, can’t you, as that’s all it takes in a relay before the next swimmer takes over?’
My heart leapt! Someone thought I might be a strong enough swimmer to join their relay team, oh wow! Could I swim for an hour up and down and up and down?’
Well, I used to be able to swim for an hour, perhaps I could do this I muttered to myself. I’d earn a swim cap like my friend the awesome distance and cross Channel swimmer Sally Goble who swims with a ‘Ferries are for Wimps’ cap on.
As I swam – for a full hour and 4 minutes – my heart settled back down. I remembered the promise I had made, hand on heart, to my own 12 year old Super Swimmer daughter that I would never, ever take on a proper Channel swim. It’s too far, it’s too dark, it’s too scary, it’s too dangerous, we agreed. Imagine being seasick on the boat over, and then waiting for your turn to dive into the depths, and the pressure, and the not wanting to let your team down, and the fear, and the voice in your head saying ‘you’re too much of a wimp, you can’t do this’, and the waves.
There’s also the upheaval and commitment needed to do something like that, many many training sessions and many many miles to be swum at some cost to family life, family harmony and indeed perhaps to the Super Swimmer Daughter’s own schedule.
No, I reminded myself, I can’t do this.
And I’m not going to. But do you know what, I have got it in me and I think I will one day – but just not next year.
Back to the challenge of covering 22 miles at Parliament Hill Lido in 12 weeks: so far I’ve swum around 5 miles, which means I reckon I can no longer see the white cliffs of Dover.
Happy swimming, happy reading, and if you fancy sponsoring me a fiver or a tenner to swim my 22 miles in the shiny bottomed lido I’d be very very grateful.