Nothing's Amiss Over The Ocean's Abyss

Nothing’s Amiss Over The Ocean’s Abyss

Swimming a 10K fast or swimming across the English Channel is always an accomplishment. But as a non-swimmer, how difficult is it to face your greatest fears in the open water? And how satisfying is it to ultimately overcome your greatest fears in the open water?

Immensely satisfying.

While the veteran is cool, calm and composed, the newcomer is borderline terrified standing onshore, ready to face their faces.

Their heart races, perspiration rolls down their brow, their mouth remains dry. Positive reinforcement from friends sound shallow when inner voices unmercifully repeat negative possibilities. But driven newcomers push themselves forward and accept what might happen.

“I have never been more intimidated or scared of anything in the world,” said ESPN analyst Marcellus Wiley. “I face…just a lot of fear. I am sure it is just between my ears. But don’t let things be some so big in your mind that it manifests in your life. You gotta set your own limits, don’t let anyone set your limits for you.”

BBC Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere knows these fears well for he was also extremely terrified of open water.

However, within weeks of picking up his first pair of goggles and taking his first lessons, Andy conquered his fears and inexperience when he five miles last week in the open ocean, far far from shore. Not only did he swim for three and a half hours, he did it across the Palau Trench, an 8,000-meter abyss in the South Pacific.

He pushed his own limits and he faced his own fears in a dramatic way. And there could be no backing down for he faced his hurdles in a very public way. His swim was part of the BBC’s Big Splash initiative, a UK-wide campaign to get the nation swimming.

As in many countries around the world, Big Splash and Blue Peter found out that children from a non-white ethnic background were very likely to be unable to swim. Like Marcellus across the pond, Andy hoped his swim will encourage more children to tackle their own fears and learn to swim in the UK. “It’s an absolute triumph to have completed this swim, after having had just over 10 weeks of swimming training. I still cannot believe how far I’ve come. I could not swim a length before this and now I have swum over one of the deepest parts of the world. All the hours of grueling training will be worth it if my challenge inspires more children from ethnic minorities to learn to swim.”

The story of Marcellus swimming in the Distance Swim Challenge was picked up on ESPN in America, while Andy’s swim will be shown in a Blue Peter special on June 20th on BBC1.

These are mighty men making a big splash in the open water world.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source