December 22, 2009

Young Woman and the Sea

Santa is bringing me a swimming book (fingers crossed) for Christmas and I thought you might like to discover a little about the story and why I have asked for this book in particular.

Young Woman and the Sea: How Trudy Ederle Conquered the English Channel and Inspired the World, is by Glenn Stout.

Previously I have mentioned I am by no stretch of the imagination a good swimmer, but have developed a new interest in swimming thanks to my seven year old daughter. I have battled to get past a 25 metre barrier whilst my daughter recently swam 400 metres.

I am always very keen to be the best role model I possibly can, so being outclassed in the pool by my daughter got me thinking. How long was I going to leave it before I could call myself a good swimmer (a life-long dream of mine), what would motivate me to get rid of those voices in my head making me give up before I reach the wall?

So I searched the internet for Charity Swims and discovered that the inaugural British Gas Great London Swim (one mile outdoor swim) took place in the Royal Victoria Dock in August this year. The link I found was from The Child Bereavement Trust which was even more interesting to me as they are based close to my daughter’s school. Every day when I walk past their building it puts my own troubles into perspective and makes me think how lucky I am.

Pondering if I could transform myself from a 25 metre swimmer to a one mile swimmer in 7 months I stumbled across an article about cross Channel swimmers. To be reminded that Gertrude Ederle was the first woman to cross the English Channel on August 6, 1926 in 14 hours and 31 minutes made me feel very cross with myself. What an amazing achievement that was without any of the latest wetsuits and goggles we have access to today. She only had a red bathing suit, skull cap and motorist’s goggles which were fixed to her face with candle wax to make them waterproof.

"I just knew if it could be done, it had to be done, and I did it," she said.

The second British Gas Great London Swim takes place on 3 July 2010. I am “only” trying to do one mile and will have the backing of Seriously Fun Swimming Schools who can help me get pool time and training plans, and of course Funswimshop will support me with all the training aids, wetsuits, goggles and swim hats I may need.

I can’t wait to get my Christmas present and find out a bit more about that remarkable woman.

At the end of the day on 3 July 2010 I hope I can say:
“I just knew if it could be done, it had to be done, and I did it!”

Please do get in touch ( with details of any Charity Swims you are doing in 2010.

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