A Swim Soon Not Forgotten

A Swim Soon Not Forgotten

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Swimmers around the world often raise lots of money for charitable causes.

The beneficiaries of these charity swims are focused on a variety of needs ranging from the environment and social causes to military organizations and marine life.

In July 1976 when Dr. Sean O’Connell was pulled out of his first 37.5-mile (60.3 km) circumnatation attempt around Bermuda after 35 hours, he didn’t give up. Six weeks later, he attempted again and finished in 43 hours 27 minutes.

His swim benefitted the Bermuda Physically Handicapped Association. Margaret Carter, Chairperson of the Association, eloquently expressed her appreciation for his charitable circumnatation:

I must begin by expressing our gratitude to Dr. O’Connell for his wonderful swim. He has put our Association’s name and aims before the public, he has raised a lot of money for us, but perhaps more than anything else he has shown us that nothing is really impossible in life.

When one is born physically handicapped or stricken so in later life, it is easy to drift into accepting expert opinion as to what you can or cannot accomplish. You tend to learn you place and your limitations and to live within them – sometimes you even forget to hope, or to dream.

It takes someone like Sean to come along with an impossible dream to shake you out of your rut. He felt that it was possible to swim around Bermuda and that he could do it. Many, many people, some of them in the expert class said that it couldn’t be done, that it was physically impossible. To all these, Sean merely smiled and said: “I think I can do it.”

Now he has, of course, done it, and we should all say, “Thank you, Shaun.” Thank you for the money, thank you for the publicity, but most of all thank you for showing us that no dream is really impossible if someone believes in it enough, has the discipline to prepare for it carefully and the courage to follow it to its conclusion. I’m sure it is an example that we will not soon forget.


Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association