Saturday, 1 September 2007

Dear Mrs. Rainey & her class:

I am so happy that you all are interested in my swim and this blog. It has made my decade.

It had been my dream to swim the English Channel since I was about your age...I guess it took a while to fulfill that dream. I have swam since I can remember and competed in races since I was about your age. For the last eight months, I have trained very hard in the ocean near Santa Monica, California, where I live. The ocean here is similiar to the English Channel in that it is about the same temperature. That is a huge advantage because there are many people who want to swim the English Channel who do not have easy access to the ocean or cold water.

Speaking of cold water, it was 64 degrees on the day I swam. It is supposed to get a bit warmer as you get closer to France, but I sure did not feel it. I felt so great when I finished and made it to France, but the last three hours of the swim were very hard. I threw up after swimming 8 hours which made me feel very weak and cold, and I still had three hours and 21 minutes to go. Fortunately my girlfriend Liz (Mrs. Rainey's niece) and my friend from college, Mike Coyle, kept me going by cheering me on. They had more confidence in me than I had in myself. I was shivering constantly for those last hours. I was very tired and cold when I finished, but the boat's captain put me in a sleeping bag, and I guzzled 6 cups of scalding hot coffee. That brought me around. Now, I am so grateful to everyone with whom I trained and was so supportive of my goal. It is amazing how many people will help you when you just let them.

I am sure that many of you are great swimmers and that you swim in the Mary T. Meagher Center in Louisville. I swam there when I was in Louisville in June. It is a great pool and Mary T. Meagher was a great Olympic swimmer from Louisville. I hope that I may visit you all when I am in Louisville next. I hope that you visit me if you are ever in California. We can go surfing. That is a bit more fun than just swimming around in the ocean. Thank you again, Gino Hanrahan

Saturday, 25 August 2007


That's right Gino made it across the Channel today!

He started at 8am from a beach between Dover and Folkestone, England and after swimming 11 hours and 21 minutes he finished on the shores of France at 7:21pm.

Needless to say he is exhausted and was quite hypthermic when he finished. We managed to warm him back up on the boat and now he is resting peacefully in bed though he has a very nasty cough that will likely need to be checked out when we return to the States.

Many, many thanks to all of Gino's family and friends and my family and friends for supporting his effort. You would all have been very impressed... he never gave up and did a great job accomplishing this goal.

Thanks again everyone!

Friday, 24 August 2007


• Speedo
• Goggles
• earplugs
• swimcap
• perpetuem carb powder drink mix
• 8 different water bottles
• advil
• electrolyte pills
• vaseline (the modern day Channel "grease")
• anti-fog drops
• towels
• warm clothing
• video camera
• still camera
• light sticks (in case Gino has to swim at night)
• GU ( a delicious nutritional snack)
• sunscreen
• rope to clip the water bottles to
• white board (for any messages to Gino during the swim... remember he'll have in earplugs)
• powerade
• honey (to flavor the carb drink mix)
• tea (also to flavor the carb drink mix)
• mouthwash (so Gino can get the nasty salt water taste out of his mouth periodically)
• duct tape (b/c you can use duct tape for nearly anything)

I think we're ready for Saturday morning!

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Swimming in the Rain

The Weather Breaks

Two-day forecast is for calm seas and sunny skies. In other words, awesome coditions. My Captain will pilot an Aussie swimmer named Duncan Adams tomorrow morning, and we are a go for Saturday. As we have seen, the weather changes rapidly around here, but all indicators show a great day for the attempt on Saturday. We are eager.

This morning after breakfast, Liz and I spoke at length with Lynne Smith, a fellow American, who crossed the Channel in 9:50 on Monday in heavy seas. She told us that she climbed boulders to finish her swim and was extremely generous with advice and good wishes. We also learned more about the Victoria Guest House where we are staying. Channel swimming royalty such as Marcy MacDonald and Anne Cleveland have stayed here.

Thanks again for the comments. I feel like you all are staying in the hotel room with us. Adios, Gino.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Forrest Says...

Over the past 6 months I've heard those two words out of Gino's mouth more than anything else.

For those of you who don't know... Forrest Nelson has become a good friend of Gino's and has been helping him train for the swim across the Channel. Forrest has a number of amazing swimming feats under his belt, including swimming around the island of New York , Oahu to Molokai, Catalina and the English Channel so he has become our de facto swim Guru over the past few months.

When I ask Gino questions like "what will you eat?", he says "Forrest says I should eat Hammer Perpetuem Powder" or "how often do I feed you", his response is "Forrest says I should feed every 1/2 hour" or when I ask "why do some swimmers wear earplugs" Gino responds "Forrest says earplugs keep you warmer". There are many others..."Forrest says I should have mouthwash available during the swim to get rid of the taste of saltwater", "Forrest says I should just keep swimming an hour or so a day during my taper."

To be honest Forrest could probably tell Gino that he should leave England fly back tonight to LA and swim Catalina this weekend and I think we would be sitting here on this computer changing our flights instead of blogging.

So... these are things I am planning on telling Gino during the swim... "Forrest says swim faster", "Forrest says its really not that cold", "Forrest says the coast of France is just ahead" and I'm absolutely sure Gino will believe me and keep swimming.

But in all seriousness... thank you Forrest for all your help, you've been an incredible source of inspiration and knowledge to both Gino and I throughout the training and I hope to continue to impart all your positive energy to Gino during the swim...
and if you could do me one favour upon our return... tell Gino that he should take his girlfriend to Bali for vacation... he seems to listen to you.


Early Experiments with Channel Grease