First of all I would like to thank you for all the great support and messages I received during my swim on the 28th of September. The messages were just great and were really helping me through each mile. My brilliant crew were passing them on to me as often as they could and many brought smiles to my face.
I also want to say a big thank you to my team, the pilot his crew and the observer for making sure I was safe and supported. I would not have gotten as far as I did without all your support.
Ok so as far as I remember…
From the moment I started my swim it took me about 20min to actually settle down and be quite comfortable. I didn’t suffer negative thoughts like, “will I be able to complete it” or “what would I do if I don’t”, no I just truly enjoyed every stroke I made.
It took me about 2-3 hours to get used to the temperature and after that I did not remember feeling cold. I think the water temp was about 16-17C and it felt quite comfortable.
After about 7 hours I had my support swimmer (Pawel) joining me for an hour and it was quite nice to swim next to somebody else rather then just the boat. When Pawel came out of the water it was becoming dark and it was the time to change my goggles for the clear ones. At this stage I realised that I did not manage to wee for about an hour but it was not worrying me too much. I also felt a bit sick from the amount of maxim in my stomach. Part of me wanted to empty my stomach to feel better but I worried that if I did I would lose my energy quicker so I just kept swimming and tried not to think about it. Some time later I had some electrolyte in my feed and at this stage vomited because it felt too uncomfortable to continue with a very full stomach. I did not know how long I was in the water at this point or how far I had managed to swim but I can tell you that I actually really enjoyed it. I didn’t look back nor did I look forward, neither did I ask how far I have to go. I was just putting one hand in front of the other and felt in my element… J
What I can’t remember well…
to be honest, the final 60 to 90 minutes of my swim. I can only remember certain parts from this period. I was unable to see my crew properly because the light from the boat was blinding me. I did not know if they were waving for me to come and feed or if I only imagined it. I could not hear very well because I had water in my ears so I was stopping and looking at them to see if they were calling me. I also remember struggling to stay parallel to the boat and kept swimming towards it, way to close than I should have. Next moment I was swimming away to the point that I was actually a bit too far so as a result I was zigzagging rather than going along with the boat. At this stage all of my thoughts and memories are rather fragmented so I can only assume that I was actually already unfit to continue my swim.
So what happened was actually a mixture of a number of factors: I could no longer feed properly, I could not wee and my kidney started hurting, I was breathing in water particles so my lungs were filling up with water and I was coughing a lot while swimming. Reduced surface of my lungs caused the problem with not enough oxygen being supplied to my brain and muscles so in the end I ran out of energy and I didn’t actually know what was happening. Mentally I was still strong and had the will to keep swimming. Because I was no longer progressing fast enough and could not hear nor understand what the pilot and crew were telling me it was quite clear that it was not safe for me to continue. The pilot made the decision to pull me out.
I recall that somebody was showing me the ladder, then me grabbing the ladder and then I was inside of the boat all dried and dressed up.
It’s now obvious to me that my mind had gone before my swim was officially finished.
Only yesterday did I first see the short video footage of the final conversation my crew and pilot were trying to have with me before I was pulled out of the water. All I could say was “what”, “why”, “what” “aye” and I kept trying to swim away from them. I must admit it did look pretty scary to watch and listen and even scarier that I could not recall any of it actually happening. I also know that Pawel was ready to jump into the water at any notice in case I decided to keep swimming instead of climbing back onto the boat.
I am very grateful for my crew and pilot taking care of me and fully appreciate and agree with their decision to end my swim.
I am not upset, devastated or angry that I did not manage to complete my crossing and stand proudly on the French coast. I believe that swimming for 13 hours and 43mins ending only 3 miles off the shore was a great achievement and I am actually very proud of it! J I am a bit achy after this journey but must admit that I actually feel better that I thought I would.
My swim ended prematurely but my health and safety was far more important than my dream on this occasion.
I hate loose ends and the channel and I have some unfinished business……..
PS. Freda, Emma, Irene, Barrie and Louise, I cannot express how grateful I am for all your support, help, good advice and a shoulder to cry on. It is amazing to see how dedicated you all are to this extreme sport and how much you offer to all the swimmers in Dover, whether it’s during training or actual crossing attempts. I would have never achieved as much as I have without you all.
I am sorry but it looks like you will have to put up with me for a little longer! J
Next- my solo attempt at the end of September!
We are back at Dover now, a bit dizzy and tired but happy as we have managed to land on French soil after 16 hours and 11 mins! :)
Well done to the whole team, our fantastic pilot Eddie with his crew Dave and Mike and obserwer Mark!
Thank you guys and girls for all your effort and help and thank you to our followers for all your support!
Just to let you know, we are now out with Eddie on Anastasia and will be starting our 6 people relay at in just a moment!
Our excited team will swim in the below order:
Thank you for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
As most of you may already know this Summer I will attempt to tackle the “Everest” of swimming - the English Channel, and I have chosen to do it in aid of Get Kids Going!
Get Kids Going! is a charity that aims to give kids with disabilities the opportunity to participate in sports. They provide specially built wheelchairs and other equipment so children can do marathons, triathlons, play tennis, rugby, go mountain skiing, sailing and water skiing, as well as many other sports.
Get Kids Going! provides grants for training, medical care and research etc to help these kids get the best out of life. It also believes that disabled children should have access to the best care and assistance they need. They support children with all disabilities and ensure that any equipment which has been outgrown is recycled to other children, so supporters' valuable donations are never wasted.
May I please ask that you dip into your wallets and make a donation towards my target of £3000. In return for this I will set out to complete the swim from England to France in both a relay attempt in August and a solo attempt in September 2010. This distance is 18.2 nautical miles, which is approximately 34 km.
So far, only 1081 swimmers have made a total of 1499 solo crossings!
I know I am going to put everything I can into making this happen and I hope that you too will do what you can to help this good cause.
It doesn't matter if you donate £1 or £100, every little bit helps and goes towards buying a wheelchair or other equipment for a disabled child who wants to compete in a sports event.
Thanks to all of you who are able to donate and provide your support, it means a lot to me!!!
Donating through Justgiving is quick, easy and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. It's also the most efficient way to donate: Get Kids Going! gets your money faster and, if you're a UK taxpayer, Justgiving makes sure 25% in Gift Aid, plus a 3% supplement, are added to your donation.