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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

When Failures Ultimately Lead To Successes

Thousands of athletes have challenged themselves to cross channels around the world: English Channel, Catalina Channel, Molokai Channel, Tsugaru Channel, North Channel, Cook Strait, Strait of Gibraltar.

While two-way crossings are rare, three-way crossings are exceedingly rare. In the English Channel, Antonio Abertondo did the first two-way crossing in 1961, taking 43 hours 10 minutes. Then Ted Erikson dropped the two-way world record to 30 hours 3 minutes in 1965.

Then in 1970, Kevin Murphy stepped up to the plate and swam a two-way in 35 hours 10 minutes. It was followed by in 1975 Jon Erikson who broke his father's record with a 29 hour 50 minute two-way.

As swimmers, coaches and escort pilots were stretching their imaginations, Kevin Murphy did the first three-way attempt in 1975. Although he was credited with only a 36 hour 3 minute two-way crossing, he actually swam for 52 hours 30 minutes on that attempt and was involuntarily pulled out. "It was my best ever swim - which is odd really because it ended in failure. I do like to think it moved the goalposts and proved that a three-way could be done, but it took the likes of Jon Erikson, Philip Rush and Alison Streeter to do that."

A one-way led to 37 two-ways that eventually led to 3 three-ways. The evolution shpws how the physical endurance keeps improving and the possibilities imagined by channel swimmers keeps expanding.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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