A Journey of Dedication: Countdown for English Channel Solo
Updated: Jun 20
The countdown for my English Channel solo swim attempt has started – only less than five weeks left! Due to its frigid waters and formidable currents, the English Channel is a swimmer's ultimate challenge, akin to scaling Mount Everest. I am preparing myself physically and mentally to succeed in this once-in-a-lifetime challenge. While my intensive training spanned the last three months, the dream of swimming 35 kilometers from Britain to France solo has been with me since my teenage years. At some time in my life, it seemed like an impossible dream to me as I had hypothermia and feared the cold; however, with mental and physical training, I have come to this point, and now this dream is coming true!
Embracing the challenge
Embarking on an incredible challenge requires dedication, sacrifice, and an unwavering belief in yourself. Over the past three months, I've gone above and beyond, pushing my limits in every way possible. I gained six kilograms to brave the cold waters and went on to swim 380 kilometers, from which 200km were on freezing water below 16 degrees. It has been 128 hours of training, including 2x6 hours blocks, 5x4 hours blocks & other smaller blocks of 6x3 hours.
Preparation for this competition entails more than anticipated. Additional physical aspects came to the forefront as I kept training in cold water. I had 12 hours of physiotherapy to address my hip flexor spasm caused by the cold, and chiropractic treatment relieved tension in my shoulders to maintain the necessary posture for long-distance open-water swimming.
However, physical training alone is not enough; the mind also plays a crucial role. I've experienced moments of panic and self-doubt, questioning the enormity of the challenge and why I chose it. I regularly practice meditation four times a week to strengthen my mental resilience and push beyond my limits. Additionally, I've invested approximately 20 hours in mental coaching to address limiting beliefs and train my mind to go far beyond my limits, go out of my comfort zone and pursue my passion.
Along the path to our dreams, obstacles are bound to arise. I've experienced various physical conditions, suffering eight sunburns, experiencing hypothermia once, enduring 15 instances of hip flex spasm, and taking ten times painkillers when it became necessary during the swim. But it is essential to be determined at that moment and continue pursuing your goal. Only when you learn to feel comfortable with the uncomfortable is when you start entering your growth zone, where dreams come true.
The Power of Support
Gratefulness is always part of the journey, as many people came along supporting and giving advice. From unexpected strangers to my closest friends and family, encouragement has been overwhelming. Over ten strangers helped me during the training sessions in three different countries. And I had more than 100 motivational boost conversations with friends, family, colleagues, clients, and even strangers, giving me the motivation and strength to keep going.
Prioritizing the Dream
Finally, chasing dreams requires dedication and making tough choices. I had to fly to three different countries to train and decline at least 30 private plans. It hasn't been easy, but I've reaffirmed my commitment and remained focused on the path ahead with every choice.
With just two weekends remaining to train towards my peak, I am planning an 8-10 hour swim and then slow down, recover, and get my mind ready to embody the slogan on my swim cap, which you can see in the picture below: "I can, and I will." Stay tuned for updates and the outcome of this great swim!
*Some final interesting fact! Some statics about the English Channel. The swim is so challenging that only 767 women have completed it so far. Hopefully, soon, I'll be one of them too!