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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Talking With Trent Grimsey About The English Channel

Trent Grimsey will explain his preparation and his actual record-setting swim across the English Channel at the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference in Long Beach, California.

The audience will be able to ask questions of the Australian superstar open water swimmer from Queensland. He gave a preview of his talks in a Q&A with the Daily News of Open Water Swimming:

Q1. When did you decide to swim the English Channel?

A1. I decided I was going to swim the channel when I was very young and first heard that people could actually swim across it. I booked my tide in 2009.

Q2. You could not handle cold water. You could not handle even cool water. You train in Queensland. How did you become acclimated to the English Channel?

A2. Yes, this is right. Two years ago I couldn't stand it but I believe cold water swimming is like anything else: the only way you'll get better at it is doing more of it. I put on around 8kg specifically for the Channel and also competed in the Canadian Grand Prix races last year as well as this year to get my body ready for the cold water.

Q3. Your dreams included the Olympics. Your dreams still do include the 2016 Rio Olympics. But now you are the English Channel record holder. How does this title change things over the next 3-4 years?

A3. I definitely still want to swim the 10km in Rio in 2016 but after this year racing in the Grand Prix series and breaking two records (Capri to Naples and the Channel) I have become to really love racing the ultra marathons. I just find them more exciting.

Q4. Your sister and 2 brothers both swim. Your parents are supportive. How much swimming or training do you talk about at home?

A4. We try to leave it all for at the pool but most of the time we do end up talking swimming at home.

Q5. Can you take us through your record swim? How did you feel when you landed in England? How did you feel the night before? What did you eat for breakfast? What kind of pace did you go out in? Did you have any doubts along the way? How was your team feeding you information about your position relative to Petar Stoychev's record swim? Who did you first call when you had a chance?

A5. I was told on Thursday afternoon I would be swimming on Saturday morning. Both Thursday and Friday nights were the worst sleeps of my life. I was too excited and nervous to sleep properly.

I'd been feeling fantastic all week in the water and was ready to go. The morning of the swim we tried to keep as normal as possible. I ate the same thing for breakfast that I had been eating all week: rice bubbles and toast. I'd talked to Petar two weeks earlier in Poland about the day he did his 6:57 [world record swim] and he told me he pushed the pace the whole way from start to finish. So this is also what I was planning to do.

I had a fantastic crew on board the boat. They were constantly feeding me information about how far I was under the record the whole way. After an hour, I was 3 minutes under the record. After 3 hours, I was 7 minutes under and keep it like that until about the 5th hour. From the 5th hour until the 6th hour it was very hard for me and I lost it mentally there for a while. I was getting very mad and frustrated at little unimportant things and I could feel my stroke starting to fall apart. Things started to change when I got a sign saying I had only 4.2km to swim in under 1 hour and 10 minutes if i wanted the record.

The next sign said I had 2.7km to swim in under 44 minutes.

The next sign said 1500m to go in under 30 minutes.

The next one said 500m in under 10 minutes. I hit the coast of France and stood up on the closest rock I could find but you remember I'd been swimming for close to 7 hours straight at a pretty fast pace and it was extremely hard to actually stand up. When I was able to muster up the strength to stand up, I found out my time was 6 hours 55 minutes!

Q6. You sacrificed a lot to achieve this goal. But how did you push yourself day in and day out, especially when you got sick or things did not always go your way?

A6. I did have to sacrifice a lot to achieve this goal, but it makes things 100 times easier when you have an awesome support team around you like I had. I'm very easily motivated too, when someone tells me I can't do something I really like trying to prove them wrong. There were a lot of people that didn't think I had a chance of coming anywhere near this record, that in itself was all the motivation I needed!

For more information on the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit here.

Photos courtesy of Trent Grimsey. Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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