At 7 am, on Wednesday 9th March I dived into Papplewick’s pool to begin my 9 hour swim in memory of my brother Richard,who died in his sleep at just 29 yrs old.
I had decided to attempt this over the Christmas holiday, having previously completed a 7 hour swim in 2012 and an 8 hour swim and cycle challenge in 2014, so to up the ante, 9 was the magic number!
The first 4 hours flew by with many boys (I teach in a prep school in Ascot) popping on to the pool side to cheer me on in between their lessons and at break time. I also had my own class swim with me for 40 mins during their PE lesson.
Throughout the next 3 hours, I was also lucky to have friends, staff and various parents who had volunteered to swim with me in half hour shifts, all making the time pass quicker.
I had a ‘supplies box’ at the end of my lane with a variety of drinks and small snacks to keep me going. It was the 8th hour that I suddenly hit a wall, with my shoulders feeling lead-like. Thankfully, this only lasted 20 mins, and after having a quiet word with myself and planning a holiday to spur me on, I was finally in to my last hour.
The pool gradually filled up with all the school and with 5 minutes to go, the cheering was incredible. I was given a minute count-down by the boys and staff, and then it was over…540 minutes – 9 hours of swimming. Finished.
The following day, I couldn’t lift my arms above my head, but that lasted just 24 hours. I had a few days rest but had a quick swim before school on Monday – a 45 min training session was a breeze in comparison!