The humble kebab, that staple of the late night drunk, has become my focus in these last days of preparation for my Catalina Channel swim.
Not just any kebab, my kebab is made of big juicy pieces of meat done to perfection and swivelling freely on a ramrod straight skewer. My spine is the skewer and the meat are my pecs and lats, the big swimming muscles that take the work off your shoulders. While perfectly done, my meat might be a bit fatty for some, but each to their own.
The swivelling kebab is a visualisation exercise I’ve employed to change my stroke and protect my injured left shoulder that gave way last week after nine months of training. By turning more to the left I lift my left arm and shoulder higher to relive the impingement that is causing me pain and weakening my catch. The exercise seems to be working but after literally thousands of kilometres of training over the past few years this old sea dog is finding the new trick hard to do all day.
I’ve completed my last training swim in American waters and in just over 24 hours I will be on a boat with my crew making my way to Catalina Island some 32 kms out from the southern Californian coastline. It will be a 3-hour boat ride there and hopefully about a 12 – 13-hour swim back.
The conditions look promising but I try not to think about that too much, here you swim on your allotted day no matter what the weather. The custom of waiting for the best day is for the English fisherman that take you across their channel. The faster paced hard assed Americans dive boat masters that do the business here will have no part of that.
I have come here to claim my second world open water swimming title and I do so with enormous amounts of love and support from my partner Michael and our children , family, friends, coaches, and supporters all of whom understand why I do this. A successful crossing will set me up for my triple crown of world open water swimming next year when I swim around Manhattan.
Until then, I am a kebab.