On Tuesday 13th August I achieved something pretty special: I swam the North Channel. Those of you reading this post will know the significance of this; it’s undoubtedly the greatest physical achievement of my life so far, and I’m proud of it. But I didn’t do it alone; anyone who swims long-distance knows “there’s no such thing as a solo swim”. Many, many people helped me on this journey. Below is a short, necessarily incomplete shout-out. Thank you all so much.
Firstly my partner Justine who put her life on hold for a year while waiting for me to “make Leo proud” ️
My amazing crew Annette and Helen without whom I would not have got there; not to mention I’d have had no fun on the way, nor would I have had any jam (but I might have had bananas)
A massive debt of gratitude, respect, and awe for infinity Channel Swimming whose professionalism and friendship were equally instrumental in getting me across the line
The inspirations who started me up and drove me on: Brian whose English Channel swim was the spark that lit the flame; the amazing Katrina who taught me how to “just keep swimming”; Annie who’s supported me from the start; that irrepressible force of nature Ned Denison whose CDW camp set me up for the win; and Amy Appelhans Gubser who got me through my qualifying swim by sheer volume of laughter
I’ve trained with a huge number of amazing people.
🏻♂️♀️ in NZ where it all started: huge thanks to the MAD KOWS
🏻♂️♀️ Atlantic Masters Swimming Club Galway – I shouldn’t single anyone out as I love you guys all completely equally, but a word of extra respect for Fergal aka The Ice Man aka “More Training”; extra gratitude to Coach Brian for the high elbow that saved my shoulder; and extra extra for Dee Newell who showed us the proper way to celebrate landing on a beach in France, which is of course to do yoga)
🏻♂️♀️ at CDW my best training buddy Elaine; “Kellie’s Heroes”, and my lovely housemates Martina (thank you for the dryrobe!) and Louise
🏻♂️♀️ Dublin Swimming Club particularly Therese, Aidan and Roisin, and Dee)
🏻♂️♀️ My time in Donaghadee would not have been anything like as much fun without the warm welcome from the Chunky Dunkers – massive thanks to everyone but in particular Martin and Jonathan
The many people who joined in on #swimwithdavid and the NC/DC group – you kept me going all the way
And last but not least a huge debt of gratitude to the legends of the sport who give so freely their advice and support. With particular thanks to Jenny Leigh Smith, Matthias Kaßner, Elizabeth Fry, Tracy Clark, Courtney Moates Paulk, Sarah Tunnicliffe, Rachael Hanisch, Marty Filipowski, Milko van Gool, Melanie Holland, Kate Robarts, and Queen of the North Channel Caroline Block, for advice specific to the North Channel.