Graeme attempted to swim 22 miles in one day
As with many people, for Graeme the pool is a peaceful paradise: “I like the mindfulness of swimming lots of lengths, and it’s a great stress reliever too, I can get in the pool after work, stressed, and then 45 minutes later get out of the pool calm and relaxed!”
When we asked his inspiration for taking part he said, “I was looking for my next challenge and being that I'm a bit silly/extreme I had the flash of inspiration to sign up for the Aspire Channel Swim and to do the whole thing in one go. My company does the printing for the challenge, so when I say I had a flash of inspiration I mean I saw nothing but Aspire’s posters, banners and brochures for a long time. It was hard to ignore the draw to this challenge!”
It turns out Graeme likes things to be extreme (which makes his dips in the pool sound not quite as relaxing). After completing his first double continuous Ironman in 2016 he went on to do a continuous triple Ironman two years later. To us mere muggles that’s a 7.2 mile swim, a 336 mile bike ride then a 78 mile run all in one go. Wow! So, although Graeme was planning to put his own endurance spin on our challenge and do it in one day, he’d had a lot of experience in the field.
When the big day arrived, things didn’t go quite to plan. Graeme and his swimming buddy, Tony, had envisaged their gruelling swim taking them around 15 hours. Graeme says it started well: “Pushing off on the first lap I thought ‘yes, this is actually happening, I may have a gazillion laps to do, but it's started!’ and going past eight miles, my previous longest swim, was a great feeling. The only low point was when the pain flared up in my shoulder. 14 hours in, and with only three and a half miles to go, I had to stop.”
Although Graeme just missed out on his goal of completing the Swim paying only one entrance fee to his pool, he and Tony did manage to raise a whopping £640 to support people paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury.
The endurance expert left us with this advice on how he got the most out of his training, and how he made sure he made it to the pool in the first place:
· Getting into a proper routine is important and packing all your swim gear ready the night before is a great step in making sure you don’t have any excuses the next day.
· Teaming up with a ‘swim bud’ helps you to commit to you swim. If you know you’ve agreed to meet up it’s harder to make up a feeble excuse not to go! Even when I didn’t feel like going for a swim, I’ve never regretted it afterwards.
· Get in the pool at the right time to avoid the lanes being too busy. I think I’m too polite and therefore don’t like to overtake and upset any slow swimmers. I do joke with my swim buds as some of them get ‘lane rage’!
· I found using a waterproof MP3 player helped massively on my longer training swims, although I think my swim speed changed a lot depending on the playlist. The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’ gets the fastest pace, with the slowest being swimming lazily to a classical piece I like called ‘The Flower Duet’.