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

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