The third of our group of four Frosty Nuts has moments ago crossed the English Channel. I’m writing this with tears of joy welling in my eyes.
As it happened they crossed as they trained: one precisely, one bullishly and the other tenaciously.
The Welshman was the first across. Of all of us he has been the most disciplined. I dubbed him the ‘Boy Scout’ because he couldn’t help but do the right thing if ever our lane leader got the count wrong. Lane leaders hardly ever count too many laps. If Cae was not the first in the pool he wasn’t far behind, and he was always the last out. If the program called for 8 km – he did the 8 km and often 8.1 km just for good measure. His preparation in and out of the pool was meticulous and disciplined and that’s how he swam the channel. He stayed on speed all the way and landed right on the tip of the cape precisely where he and his pilot planned.
Ben followed an hour later. His was a four year campaign having come to swim in 2012 after 2 years of training to be denied a start because of bad weather. He returned to finish the job yesterday but along the way tired of the daily grind of training. He bullishly figured he’d done his yards just over a longer period than most. He knew he’d get there and it wouldn’t be pretty but in reality it wasn’t that bad. He missed the turning tide by about 150 meters and after a classic Ben dummy spit and an attempt at disqualifying himself that came perilously close to succeeding, he slogged it out for another 90 minutes to complete the job with his trademark force of will.
Moments ago Miles became the third of our group to complete his crossing. The challenge for ‘Nicearse’, as we affectionately know him was always going to be the cold water. Our Anzac weekend channel-qualifying swim in Melbourne made the point. In his characteristically dogged way he took his training to his 13-degree backyard pool where he swam for hours on end in a rubber harness tied to the back fence. That tenaciousness and his more solitary training regime was no doubt what allowed him to stay in the water to complete the grueling 15 hours 20 minute swim he did today to achieve his goal.
I will on another occasion say something of our handlers and support teams, but for now the moment is theirs. Not so much by their success, rather by sharing with me the inner strength of their characters, individually and collectively they have given me the greatest head start a swimmer could ever hope to receive.
( L-R: Ben, Michael, Miles, Cae)