The next day did not dawn auspiciously. There was a heck of a lot of wind, and when I drew back the curtains in our apartment and looked out, I could see the trees in the gully below the swimming pool thrashing to and fro. I had spent most of the previous evening nerving myself to do the two hours no matter what; no matter if I was cold, fed up, or sick, I would do it. Nevertheless, the prospect of swimming for two hours whilst being chucked around and feeling nauseous filled me with dread.
I’d made my preparations, telling everyone that I was doing two hours and that they were not to let me out. Kathrine, my buddy, was staying on the boat that morning, and I told her to pull up the ladder if I tried to get out. And, most importantly, I’d done a lot of mental preparation, something I hadn’t done before, telling myself that I would be cold, miserable, and sick, but that I could push through that; reminding myself that I knew I could keep swimming in that state, and promising myself that however bad I felt, I would stay in.*
More tomorrow. Or soon.
*Just to clarify, I am not advocating toughing it out whenever you feel bad when you’re swimming. There’s a big difference between toughing it out in a situation where there are four people on a big boat and two people in ribs, all looking out for you and making sure that you stay safe, and trying to tough it out when you are on your own or swimming with others who may not be able to help you if you get into difficulties. And there is a big difference between being cold, seasick, and miserable, and being in real danger, and courses such as this Channel training course are designed to help you know the difference. You should never stay in if you don’t have proper safety support and you are unsure of your ability to safely stay in. You can always swim another day; sadly, you only drown once.