On 22nd August 2006 I swam solo across the English Channel in 14 hours aged 19. Today marks the ten year anniversary of the swim that changed my life in every single way.
What makes this week even more special to me though is that in a few days time I will be attempting to swim the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland for the second time. This 35km swim has been completed by less than 50 people and is considered one of the toughest open water swimming challenges in the world due to the extreme cold and toxic Lions main Jellyfish.
I started training for this particular swim 3 years ago and first attempted it in August 2014. 19 miles into the 21 mile journey I was close enough to see the cars moving on the Scottish coast but something was very wrong. I could feel my whole body starting to shut down and when breathing became difficult I decided to call it a day. This was the hardest decision of my life as I had worked so hard to get there. I was even due to break the world record by coming in at around ten hours so you can imagine my frustration at having to get out.
The reason for the premature end to my swim was down to hundreds of stings from the toxic jellyfish which inhabit the North Channel. I had such perfect flat water conditions on the day which was great for speed, but the jellyfish took the opportunity to bask on the surface for my entire journey meaning I was having to push them out of the way with every arm stroke whilst being stung in the process.
Exactly two years later and to mark the ten year anniversary of my very first Channel Swim, I am returning to the North Channel to complete my unfinished business. I have trained hard but hold no delusions that I could potentially have a repeat experience due to circumstances beyond my control. I will however give it my best shot as always and hopefully this time next week I will return having conquered the beast which has taken over the past 3 years of my life.
There will be a live GPS tracker on the day which I will publish here on my facebook page for anyone that wants to follow. I am raising funds for Wateraid and for Great Ormond Street Hospital where my 1 year old daughter Jasmine is due to have open heart surgery later this year. Any donations would be most welcome which you can do here http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Edward-Williams.
I will give this swim everything I have got and hope you enjoy following the journey.