George Hunihan of Cross Channel Advisors in Milford, Connecticut tells of one of his work colleagues, “He won a gold medal in the 1972 Olympics on a relay with Mark Spitz. He told me that swimming the English Channel was more of a personal feat than getting on the [Olympic] podium. I have never been in the Olympics, but after swimming the English Channel at age 54, I can’t imagine a more emotional moment than standing up at Winneset Beach.”

Hunihan started swimming in Connecticut with a hard-core group of channel swimmers in 2004. “In a conversation with Liz Fry, she said I had the mental attitude to do it. Marcy MacDonald always says, “Dream, prepare, succeed.” After swimming for a few years with the group, it was apparent that I had the physical strength to make it across. But as they told me many times, there are so many variables and you should only be ready to expect the unexpected.”

This proved to be very true.

I went over in 2007 and waited for over two weeks for cooperative water. But then I went home. I came back in 2008 and went on the last day before the spring tide. The Channel was difficult for the first four or five hours. As the sun came up, I saw a huge boat go by. I was just so jacked up thinking how few people get the opportunity to swim in the North Atlantic and see such a sight. I can honestly say that I was running for 16+ hours on pure adrenaline and fear.

I just did not want to get out after all of this preparation, time and expense. I just kept thinking positive thoughts and took it one stroke at a time. I belong to a spiritual group that has that philosophy; it helps me with my daily life. I applied it to my swim that day. I got caught in a tide at the end and spent the last four hours going a grand total of 2 miles. I had taken my watch off before I took off and never asked my wife Suzanne what time it was or what my progress was. I just blocked off that day from my mental calender and would stick with it until I touched land.

His simple, singular focus that resulted in a successful 16 hour 30 minute crossing on August 22nd 2008 was founded in a similar training philosophy. “We all have different techniques in training. Some have extensive feeding formulas and workout programs. Some of us just show up and just do the long swims. I found that the simpler my program, the easier it was for me.

I fed on tomato soup, hot chocolate and Maxim. We had miscalculated a bit with regard to how long it would take and after about 14 hours, they threw me a blue bottle which was tomato soup mixed with blue Gatorade. I have always hated this, but it was all we had. Every time I am in a store and I see a stack of blue Gatorade bottles on the rack, I break out with a wide grin. It was worth every penny.”

It is all in the mind and the ability to block all negative vibes from your mind and stay totally focused on the ultimate goal of completing the deal. Fabulous experience.

Sounds like it.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source


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