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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My heart goes aflutter...and we're off!

Hey all,

The day has come when I head off to the UK to swim (and then celebrate with my friends Sam and Alex during their wedding...and afterwards).  I have looked forward to this day for many months but now it is a reality.  What made it even more real was that my pilot boat Captain Neil Streeter tried calling me during one of my meetings today.  My phone went wonky so I was unable to answer it but his call alerted me to the fact that this swim is on!  I just got off the phone with him and he thought I was in Dover already.  Too bad.  The weather is prime for a dip in the Channel.  If I were there now, I would be swimming this evening.  Alas, I am not.  

I'm now free from meetings for a bit and can focus on this update.  From this point forward (well, actually after I hit submit), I won't have much to report other than I intend to swim in Dover harbor during the days when I will not be swimming to France.  Once my swim is over, we might head up to London for whatever time Mother Nature allows.  My focus now?  The swim.  

I am so excited right now I could run around the block like a madman but I shall not.  Instead, I will remain dignified and pester my family with my nervous energy.   Yes, my heart went aflutter.   I thought the call was a go for me immediately.  Once I get the real call, I will have Kat email the blog to indicate the start.  Be sure once you get the email to check out the SUVA tracking on the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation webpage (see previous post).  

Thank you everyone for making this adventure a blast.  I have a few people to thank now while I am thinking about how much I prepared over the past few months.  First, thanks to my wife and son for putting up with another adventure.  Without them, I would not be able to do these things with as much passion and purpose.  Next, I owe a huge thank you to all the swimmers and coaches who supported me every step of the way.  These include:

  1. my awesome coach at GMU (Cheryl Ward) who emphasized good stroke mechanics and positive attitudes throughout my training.  Cheryl gives us great workouts that never repeat.  Yep, I cannot recall even a set that was a repeat from years ago.  She keeps the workouts fun, challenging, and productive.  I wouldn't be in the shape I am without her help.
  2. my GMUP lane mates (Elaina Moy, Paul Grecco, Stuart Booth, Bob Hansen, Stu Williams, William Sax, Betsy Geddes, Katie Cosgrove, Katie Layton, and many others I might not remember at the moment but will include as they come to me) who always push me and put up with me through every practice.  
  3. the L.O.S.T. group who selflessly put aside their own training to help out a complete stranger.  In particular, I am deeply indebted to Madhu Nagaraja, Loren King, Rob Kent, Mark Bintley, Mike Morton, Lynn De Lathouwer-Rodgers, Christine Hui, and Ross Shepherd who either swam with me or helped setup my qualifying swim.  When I return from the UK, the first road-trip I intend to take is up to swim with the LOSTies for their Saturday morning swim.  Oh, and one other thing.  Christine and Ross came out to swim while they were training for what sounds like one of the most incredible races.  Please support them on Sept. 7th by following them at the following website:  http://www.otilloswimrun.se/live/  I am sure they will crush this race.  Read about the race, cheer them on, and then toast them for a job well done.
  4. the L4 swim group who put up with us wayward souls from the GMUP masters team.  Every August, our pool shuts down and we are left homeless.  For some, that month off provides a great opportunity to rest up and recover from 11 months of swim training.  Timing of the shutdown, however, was not ideal for me.  I had to find another place to swim and Sandy Veatch - along with the rest of the L4 group - offered me challenging workouts with a fun atmosphere.  Thanks everyone for welcoming me again for another month.  
  5. Sam Chappatte and his pal Toby Davis for setting this whole endeavor in motion.  I guess I owe the two of them the most thanks (or scorn) for getting me onboard with team SUVA.  Just to show you how this worked out, on April 29th, 2015, while we were still in Kathmandu, Sam introduced me to Toby via email.  He said...

Hi Toby
Thanks for your messages of support buddy. Looking forward to seeing you soon
Our climbing buddy Patrick, cced, is keen to swim the channel just before the wedding
Can you set up a call to give him some advice or email? Maybe you want to do it together?
The rest was history.  Toby noticed an open slot on SUVA and I grabbed it.  Without Sam or Toby's help, I doubt I would be swimming this week.   


All of these people - and others including my family and friends - made this opportunity and preparation possible.  I was really tired after the Nepal trip and figured this summer would be one filled with beer and chips; instead, I swam.  For that change, I am indebted to you all.

Off we go!