In October 2004 I was overweight and out of shape. I was past my prime as and athlete. A friend of Dana and mine, Lynne Smith, had qualified and was doing the Hawaii Ironman and we logged on and followed her progress on Ironman Live. It was inspiring watching her lead the swim and bike in her age group and it was pretty darn emotional watching her cross the finish line on the live video feed. We knew how hard she had worked to get there.
I had never done an Ironman and she inspired Dana and me to sign up for Ironman Florida 2005. Then we experienced the same thrill ourselves in Kona she did in 2006.
Well, Monday she did something else inspiring. She swam across the English Channel. She just didn’t swim across it; she posted the fastest time man or woman this year, 9:50. Only 243 other women have made this journey. The fastest time ever for a woman is 8:48 by Alison Streeter who has the most crossings; 43. Alison was part of Lynne’s support crew and was there to greet her when she reached French soil.
The water temperature was 63 degrees and no wetsuits are allowed. Lynne has been prepping herself for this event for two years. She swam in lakes in the dead of winter, cooled her house to freezing, and laid in 40 degree ice baths to prep her for the cold. She swam over 60k a week, mostly in open water. I wasn’t surprised that she did as well as she did because her preparation was so meticulous.
I am very proud of Lynne. Swimming the English Channel is be quite an accomplishment, and is inspiring, but I don’t think I will be signing up for this one. I don’t think I could last an hour in that water. Brrrrrr
The photos above are of Lynne reaching France and finishing her journey.
See the link below to read more about Lynne.
Austin Statesman Blog: Lynne Smith
Here is Lynne’s report after event.
“When I spoke to my pilot last night, the weather prediction sounded marginal. He told me it would not be a fast swim, but I could take the day if I wanted it. I don't really care about my time, so I accepted the day. Lesson learned: Things don't always go as planned, so let go of the outcome in your mind, and just ride the tide Baby!
I felt like Ashton Kucher in The Guardian when we started. Raining, dark, and very rough. But I didn't have on a wetsuit. I ended up with a sweet tailwind when it was all said and done. The English Channel is the most beautiful, majestic, and sacred place I've ever been.
Apparently I have the fastest swim of the season so far. 9:50. There is still some time in the season, and there is a big difference between having the fastest swim and being the fastest swimmer. A big difference. The English Channel and time pick you. I just got lucky.
A big thanks to the folks who were out there with me today and those of you sending me good vibes from home. I can not tell you how marvelous those guys were on the boat: Mike, Ali, Del, David, Seth, Chris, Davis, Michelle, and Brad.
Thanks for all of your emails- I look forward to reading them all, and will reply when I've a minute. I have over 200, so please be patient with me, Right now I am heading to take a hot shower, drink a large Guinness, and sign my name of the wall next to David's at the White Horse pub.
I left everything I had out there. I gave it what I'm made of, and that feels good! Thanks for all of the support, well wishes and good energy. What a day!
PLEASE keep the positive vibes headed over here as we aren't done yet. My friend Anne is in the tide and it isn't over until everyone is back in the barn. Saving the best for last. Go Anne!"