English Channel

On 23rd August 2019, I remember I could feel my heart in my mouth as we pulled up on the Dover Marina. I spotted my crew - Nick, Kevin and Deirdre waiting for us. Kevin, like always, gave me a big hug and congratulated me as he feels that coming so far is a big achievement in itself. Nick told me the dos and don'ts as everyone unloaded my kit from the car and onto the boat optimist.

On the boat, the pilot gave me a briefing and my mother greased me with loads of vaseline. Before I knew it I was jumping into the cold waters of the channel. A few hours in and I could see the magnificent sunrise. I constantly tried to race and swim ahead of the boat just to get a good look at the sun. I could look up and see the deck now, with each breath, and saw my crew members covered in layers and layers of sweaters, jackets and caps.

With each feed, the sky became brighter and I saw the most magnificent sunrise that morning.I soon started to see giant ferries, and with each one passing by, they churned the sea and brought the freezing water back to the surface. I still get Goosebumps when I think of the chilly water! For the next few hours I kept swimming, non stop, feeling hungry, feeling nervous, feeling confused, feeling tired, feeling sleepy, sometimes even angry but at the same time, unstoppable.

After a few hours of swallowing saline water and feeding on a carb drink, my stomach ached and I started puking. I could see the particle floating beside me. I just wished I hadn't eaten anything the night before. This came along with backache and urinary retention, as I was totally unable to pee. This continued for more than an hour and I struggled with every stroke as I could barely breathe. I was taking a feed every half an hour and making sure that I kept feed stops under half a minute to avoid getting cold. On my tenth feed I looked up and could see France in the distance. I knew that it was very far away, but there it was-nothing was going to stop me now. I had an idea where in the channel I was and went through what I called a jellyfish alley.They came in colours of blue, brown, white, purple - mean looking with long tentacles. There were lots below me and I pulled my head up a bit in the water so I could see any coming towards me. I had the pleasure of being stung several times to remind me that nothing great is easy. The next minute, mom shouts out to me to swim out! swim out! I looked over and saw myself stuck in a lagoon of seaweed.

The rest of the swim is a blur. Every time I asked my crew "how far am I? How much more time will I take?"

They said, "Keep moving forward, keep moving your arms over, every stroke is taking you that little bit closer to your dream."

They said, "Keep moving forward, keep moving your arms over, every stroke is taking you that little bit closer to your dream."