Updated: Apr 7, 2019
Dr. Emre Deliveli, 44 years old, started swimming one and a half years ago and had swum until that time not more than 200 meters and now he will cross the English Channel within 10 days solo and in relay. That means he will swim solo 40 kilometers in a 15 degree cold water and then a couple of days later in relay with Deniz Kayadelen, Raha Akhavan, Darren Watson in relay. His journey until now is amazing and a true inspiration for all of us. The swimming is a metaphor but he shows a true dedication and success in what he does. Lets ask him about his motivation, thoughts, challenges, preparation, activities and experiences with cold water:
DK: Emre, Let's start little bit from the beginning: How did you come to the idea to swim long distances?
After I started swimming, I realized quickly I could finish 5K races very easily. Then, the big test came for me as the Symi-Datca swim with you (Deniz Kayadelen). And when I completed that, I started thinking about a new challenge, and it wasn't long before the Channel popped up in my mind, especially after I had swum 25K in 2 days at the end of September.
DK: Even long year experienced swimmers do not aim to cross the english channel. What's your reason to face this challenge? For me, swimming in colder water for such a long distance is really out of my comfort zone. I will be able to test my mental as well as physical limits- and feel I will be able to rise up to the challenge.
DK:What's motivating you ?
Mostly, my passion for swimming and the sea.
DK: What you will when you go out of your comfort zone? I will keep myself calm and tell myself I can do this. I know it won't be easy, but I will be ready.
How did you prepare yourself mentally and physically so far? I have been training in open water all winter, at least 4-5 times a week. I just returned from a Channel training camp in Mallorca and have two more camps set up, one in Croatia at the end of April and another in Dover early June.
You had the two test swims 6 hours and 7.5 hours. What did you feel beforehand? I was surprisingly calm before both. I was not nervous at all. On the contrary, I was very motivated before the more difficult 13-degree, 6-hour Mallorca swim.
What did you eat during your long cold swim? Mainly warm/hot carb powder mixed with water and some treats, like jelly babies and bananas, from time to time.
What did you feel during the swim? The 7.5-hour Marmaris swim felt very normal. I felt the cold at the 6-hour swim because the water was colder than what I am used to.
What did you think? I was with other swimmers during the 6-hour swim and thought that I could do it if they can. I tried ignoring the cold and kept telling myself that this was just another swim...
What was the most challenging part for you?
In the 7.5-hour Marmaris swim, the most challenging part was to see the buildings at the end and yet not to reach the shore. I have heard Channel swimmers experience this, too. In the 6-hour swim, the challenge was the 13-degree water and getting stung by jellyfish all the time.
What helped you to overcome the challenge?
In the 7.5-hour Marmaris swim, I told myself to forget about the buildings and just swim. In the 6-hour one, I did not think about the cold at all- and then I felt it would disappear. And I used the jellyfish stings to waken me up.... sort of like energy booster
What was the key to success? I had told the coaches/guides at the 6-hour swim not to take me out even if I wanted to. Committing to the goal beforehand like that really helped. And I also found out that support is very important, the coaches/guides were cheering me and the other swimmers all the time, which I found to be very motivating.
Did the Wim Hof method help you with the mental preparation? Yes, in fact both with physical and mental preparation. The breathing technique and cold showers have strengthened me mentally as well as physically.
Do you feel any changes in your life? Relationships or in your way of thinking, acting with those cold immersions? I will be swimming the Channel with less than two years of swimming experience. The thought of that has made me believe we all can do whatever we want to do with our lives; be whoever we want to be. We just need to believe in ourselves.
Do you wanna share any other thoughts with us?
My swim is going to be the most important day of my life, for sure. But the journey is at least as important. I have met with so many wonderful swimmers, all sharing my passion for swimming, and I am enjoying every minute of this wonderful journey.
DK: Thank you Emre for being an inspiration for all those people who think its late for something. It`s never late for something and you can do everything you want any time with hard work and dedication. You are the example for it. Congratulations! Let's continue this amazing journey together in out of our comfort zone!