The Big Moment With Nicholas Caine

The Big Moment With Nicholas Caine

Sometimes there are Big Moments in an open water swim where the athlete meets the moment. It can flash by in an instant or it can take place over a much longer period of time.

But those Big Moments are memorable.

This was Nicholas Caine‘s Big Moment at the 10-hour mark of his English Channel swim of 13 hours 11 minutes as he describes it first-hand:

I started at 4:20 am so it was still dark, but not pitch black. I had a light on my goggle strap and a spot light from the boat. The sun came up towards the end of my first hour.

At 10 hours I had been talking to my dad and Chris Pountney who were both helping with feeds. They could tell I was frustrated and told me I was almost there. I got noticeably madder the last two hours as they kept telling me that I was almost there and I knew I wasn’t making forward progress.

Eddie Spelling, my pilot, and I had figured the swim would take 8-10 hours at most and that is all I had mentally prepared myself for during training. Ned Dennison always told me to not expect a time because there was no way to predict the outcome of my swim and if I had a ‘goal’ time it would make it much harder on myself mentally. I had kept track of time based off my feeding schedule and when I got to 10 hours and wasn’t making forward progress I became very worried and doubted myself.

Physically, I knew my training was enough to swim until I made it to France but mentally I was very worried and began doubting myself. I wanted to stop swimming because I didn’t think I could make it. But I knew how many people were cheering for me and wanted me to finish. I didn’t want to let anyone down, especially myself, so I kept swimming despite the shoulder pain and being mentally rundown.”

Then the Big Moment came.

Eddie could also tell I was run down and frustrated so he put the small boat in 5-10 minutes early to lift my spirits and guide me into shore. Having the small boat in a little early helped and I picked the tempo and stroke rate back up and made it into shore.

I ended up making in 13 hours and 11 minutes which was a lot longer then I had expected. [But] I completely surprised myself by being able to swim for 13 hours.”

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones