We swam for 24 hours!

That was a tough one. On the 27-28th of September, 33 of us were on the starting line to swim a bunch of miles on the hour. I have a few friends who have done pretty much the exact same thing in the past few years (some of them did a slight variation … in an outdoor pool, in a 16-degree water) and described it as “not as easy as it sounds”. Not that I would think that it was easy, of course, I’m never awake for more than 24 hours … but the fact that the plan was to swim “only” 1600m every hour, when my PB is about 4200m, gave me the wrong impression that I could just somehow cruise through it …

Here are my thoughts one day after the challenge:

Oh la la la la … feels like I dreamed it! We successfully completed the “Swim 24 hours” challenge, and a piece of cake it was not. My experience: I started like a french fast-train (probably the same one that drove over me by the end of the 24 hours), averaging <1:30/100 for the first three miles before dropping pace continuously for the next five hours. Spirits low at that stage. I don't react well to slowing down and was tempted to give up at the half-way point if nothing happened. Something happened and we settled (with Jarek) into a nice rhythm for the next 10 hours. Happy times. The final 6 hours (less than 10km!) were tough and for the final 4 hours I was basically only swimming with one arm, reminiscing about the final 5km of Lake Zurich 2009 and about Lisa Cummins and Jackie Cobell's Channel swims. Thoughts of Doctors Without Borders also kept passing through my head, "surely swimming 24 hours in a heated pool and being well fed is a bloomin' luxury". Thanks to Anders Blomgren for arranging it all, the buns, drinks & peanuts were very welcome! Well done to all the 3-, 6-, 12- and 24-hour swimmers, regardless of if they finished it or not. It was brutal!
(And sorry Lennart Larsson for waking you up every hour!)

My splits:
Mile #1: 23:40 (Nice and easy)
Mile #2: 23:45 (Drafting)
Mile #3: 23:39 (PB)
Mile #4: 24:19 (no big deal)
Mile #5: 25:41 (slightly bigger deal)
Mile #6: 25:55 (Cruise pace?)
Mile #7: 27:01 (No. Ouch.)
Mile #8: 27:06 (Found my rhythm?)
Mile #9: 26:31 (Yoohooo!)
Mile #10: 26:19 (HAPPY)
Mile #11: 26:21 (We’ll manage, no worries)
Mile #12: 27:10 (A bit tougher, but we’ll get stronger again)
Mile #13: 26:37 (Yoohoo!)
Mile #14: 26:51 (Stable)
Mile #15: 26:33 (Really?)
Mile #16: 26:15 (Say what?! Back to the tempo from 10 hours ago!)
Mile #17: 26:37 (In the zone)
Mile #18: 26:55 (Stepping out of the zone, swimming to Vangelis’s Conquest of Paradise!)
Mile #19: 27:30 (Ouch)
Mile #20: 28:22 (Beginning of synchronized swimming with Jarek)
Mile #21: 29:35 (Started using some one-arm fly drill)
Mile #22: 30:49 (Thank you Jarek for sticking with me!)
Mile #23: 31:47 (Slowing down some more, throwing my right arm over my head with no conviction)
Mile #24: 30-ish (Mix of one-arm stroke and fake freestyle for the cameras and the audience & Greta!)

All photos below courtesy of Géza Pályi

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About Sylle

Swimmer specialised in relatively cold water and relatively long distances, English Channel Swimmer 2009, Butterfly across the English Channel in 2013
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2 Responses to We swam for 24 hours!

  1. Michèle says:

    excellent! encore bravo pour la perf, j’adore les commentaires de chaque mile, surtout le dernier :-) ))

    • Sylle says:

      Merci ! Le dernier mile était véritablement du bluff, même si au final ça ne se voit pas autant que ça sur les vidéos !

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