Two months ago on 2nd September I was 18 miles into my North Channel swim between Ireland and Scotland when an abnormal amount of jellyfish forced me to stop. I was suffering a very serious reaction to hundreds of stings and was starting to lose control of breathing as well as vomiting profusely. I was just a few miles off the coast of Scotland with just over an hour left to swim so to say I was devastated is an understatement! A whole year of intense training and preparation was wasted in my mind and I couldn’t even look at the sea for a good month after.
Now two months later my stings are healed (just!) and I am planning my return in July 2015. To me this was an easy decision as I am determined to conquer this channel. Not making this swim last year was very strange for me. I have never ever failed at a swim so this was a first for me and it hit me hard. Eventually I accepted that the reasons for failure were beyond my control. I had prepared enough and put the work in to the extent that I was on schedule to break the world record. It was just jellyfish poisoning which brought my journey to an end so as soon as I accepted this in my mind I was able to move forward and plan my return.
Next year I have booked to swim a month earlier, at the end of July, as opposed to the first week of September. The water will be colder (most likely 12 degrees or less) but this should mean less jellyfish. I guess I am swapping one evil for another so fingers crossed I can handle the cold and the weather is on my side.
I came across a wonderful quote recently and it rings very true for me:
Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. – Robert Kennedy.
I have always taken risks in life both in business and with my personal goals. It is what makes me feel alive and gives my life meaning. Here’s to a successful swim season in 2015 for everyone reading this article and remember that failure is all in the mind. The North Channel is not going anywhere and I will keep trying until I make it.