Going For A Little Dip, Kevin Murphy

Going For A Little Dip, Kevin Murphy

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

When I think of outstanding individuals in the sport of open water swimming, one of the first people who come to mind is Kevin Murphy,” says Steven Munatones.

Kevin is the epitomy of individuals who venture past the shorelines. Not only does Kevin have a lifetime of unprecedented achievements in marathon swimming and channel swimming, but he has also always conducted himself in a courtly manner with the utmost professionalism and genuine humility that has served to establish his iconic status among swimmers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds around the world.

As a swimming coach, British inspiration, and administrator for the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation, Kevin unfailingly demonstrates patience, encouragement and compassion to those who seek his counsel and wish to replicate his aquatic feats. In the rarified air of true modern-day adventurers, Kevin serves as an undeniable icon for the global open water swimming community, not only for his 34 English Channel crossings, but also for multiple marathon swims and, indeed, his well-documented failed swims including his 52-hour battle in the English Channel where even his escort pilot and crew threatened to abandon him when he wanted to continue in horrendous conditions.

His famous quip, ‘Going for a little dip‘, is without a doubt the most understated definition of his exploits in swimming history. His drive to seek the outer boundaries of physiological feats is enabled not because of his God-given DNA, but rather through his steely determination and laser-like focus to swim to the other side of a lake or channel.

In addition to his own swims, Kevin’s deep-seated mentorship and genuine support of others are only limited by his waking hours. But even during his nocturnal hours, Kevin’s exploits are read by aspirants around the world and his feats are memorialized in words, photos, videos and film.

While Kevin also has the unique ability to quietly observe and judiciously size up individuals due to his decades as a reporter, Kevin is often the person who is watched and emulated when he speaks about the open water or heads off to seashores, lakesides and riverbeds.

Kevin is the type of individual who possesses natural-born charisma. I found Kevin to be more introverted and genuinely friendly than befits his reputation as an icon in the world of swimming. He is a profession on dryland and he replicates that same success in the world’s waterways. He has conducted himself with aplomb when faced with the most inhospitable of water and weather conditions, a true warrior of the open water. He possesses a sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that has long set the standard for the sport.”

The 71-year-old dual inductee (inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1973 and the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2010) has enjoyed two successful careers: one as a journalist and another as a swimmer. He spoke with International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame chairman Ned Denison on a May 2020 edition of WOWSA Live:

During the all-too-short interview, he two Hall of Fame inductees talked about:

* the English Channel crossings of Alison Streeter
* organizing swims via post (snail mail) and without Google Translate
* being most proud of his unsuccessful 52 hour 30 minute attempt at a 3-way English Channel crossing
* record that stood for 41 years
* swimming for a sense of satisfaction
* getting well despite being sick through an act of pure will in the beginning of his 3-way crossing attempt
* 1976 Windermere race four days after swimming for 52 hours 30 minutes
* going for the oldest record of the English Channel within the next 2 years (at the age of 73
* his selection as the Great British Body
* his career as a journalist
* short-listed as one of the candidates for the British Broadcaster of the Year including coverage of wars and the 9-11 terrorist bombings in New York, shortly after completing the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim
* forming friendships all over the world
* The Kings Swimmers camps
* English Channel swimmers Roz Hardiman
* doing challenges because they are difficult
* the joy of overcoming the difficulties of marathon swims and thinking about ‘When can I get out of the water?’

For more information about the The Kings Swimmers that hold open water swimming camps in Menorca, Scotland and Dover, visit www.thekingsswimmers.co.uk.

Above is the June 2012 interview with Kevin Murphy on Open Water Wednesday, the precursor to WOWSA Live.

For more information on The Kings Swimmers camps, visit here (www.thekingsswimmers.co.uk).

Copyright © 2008 – 2021 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Steven Munatones