Sunday, July 24, 2011

Geoff's Herculean 15 hour effort!

** NB. Swimmers, please be aware that I will be away from the squad from Thursday 28th July to Friday 12th August (last session being Wednesday 27th and first back Saturday 13th August). 

I am heading over to St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada for my brother-in-law's wedding and some cold water swimming (!!) prior to my own English Channel attempt on the 5th September. I'll be back in Perth for 2 weeks between these two trips however. 

All sessions will be covered by our excellent selection of coaches during my absence and we really hope that you'll support them by attending the sessions! 

Payment card can be bought in cash tomorrow (26th July) at the squad session or online at prior to me leaving. **

Dear Swimmers

As revealed to those of you who swam on Friday morning - we are very pleased to announce that Geoff Wilson (a previous top-10 Rottnest Solo finisher) from the squad successfully completed his English Channel Swim attempt on Thursday 21st July. The 34km crossing took him 15h15', but as you'll see from the GPS map trace below, the tides (which saw every other solo fail to finish that day and only one team to make it), ensured that Geoff actually covered 57km!! This is the equivalent of a triple crossing of the Rottnest Channel. Far out! This simply demonstrates that the conditions in the Channel are so unpredictable and challenging and that time itself is pretty much irrelevant on "your" day.

On behalf of the entire squad Geoff I'd like to congratulate you on your mammoth effort their mate - you're a total inspiration to all of us who will follow.

I've attached Geoff's report below, but here are some interesting other links from his swim for your interest too:

Photos from the crossing:

Geoff's GPS trace (notice the wildly variable pace per km from 9'41" to 28'50" depending upon the tides):

** NEWSFLASH: Please note that our second solo swimmer, Lisa Delaurentis is due to start her swim at 12.00pm (Perth time) on Monday 25th July - follow and support Lisa at (with live GPS tracking) and the Live Twitter feed at **

Geoff's Story:

Hi guys,

Apart from a sore nose and rough tongue  all is remarkably good.  Managed a light swim in Dover yesterday and just having a bit of breaky now before we (Lisa and Jeff Vidler) head down for our morning swim.

I still can't believe the amount of well wishes and support I have been receiving from both home and here. Literally, random people have been coming up and hugging me once they know I swam the channel. 

I spent most of yesterday just reading the email, tweets and FB comments, I can't remember feeling so good!

ON the swim, really there's not a lot to say. My plan was always to go out steady and maintain a constant pace with something left just in case more was needed to hit the shore. Everything worked to plan.  Thinking through, I asked myself quite a few what if's?

1. What if I  swam faster at the start would I have been able to beat the tide change? probably not.  The tide change took the skipper by surprise and was further complicated by a strong side current and Head winds.  So my conclusion here is that if I did move at a faster pace to start there was every chance that I would've still got caught and spent a lot more energy.

2.  What if I went on a different tide/day? This was not an option.  I was ready to go! 

3.  Could I have kept going longer if needed? Most definitely!  In a strange way I felt like I could have gone for ever.  The most pain I had was the cold. I literally hurt! From my first feed stop I had the dreaded claw and couldn't open my drink bottle, my fingers didn't straighten again until France.  I was never really concerned about hypothermia, but I was concerned that my crew might decide I'd had enough so I maintained a mantra of asking myself my name, date of birth and address, I tried my phone number but couldn't remember that and thought - shit, I hope they don't ask me that one... Knowing I could do this was quite comforting, as I also knew the closer I got to France the warmer the water would be, and it was.

 I didn't have much of a concept of the time. At the 20k mark, my crew said I was on 5.30 rotto pace, then a couple of feeds later I got the coke and assumed I was about 2.30hrs from France.  The only time I asked was then and got stoney silence and based on the crew's body 
language, somehow at that point I knew I was in for a long.

My crew was just amazing, feed stops were like clockwork, between 10 and 15 seconds each. The longest feed stop was 20 seconds.  I also had full confidence in the skipper (Eric Hartley) form start to finish.

4. Given another chance, would I have changed my training program? Most definitely NOT?

5. What was the best part of the swim? Without doubt the finish (obviously) but I had my surf buddy Jeff VIdler next to me and could hep but turn the last 100m into a surf race and ran out and up the beach to beat by a nose.... Ha ha, you have no idea how good that felt!

When we returned to Varne Ridge we arrived to a billowing Australian flag and this surreal experience of people surrounding me from every direction hugs and kisses - wow!

Then I got to read some messages - Possibly the most humbling experience I've had. Totally unexpected and can't explain how good I felt.

6. Would I do this again? No!

All up, what a great adventure.  Two years in the making and totally exceeded my expectations 10 fold.   

The best part now is I know my very good friends, Lisa, Ceinwen, Waynne, Andrew, Paul N and Paul D are going to share the same experience!


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