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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Gator Doesn't Stop Matthew Moseley From The 'Train

Courtesy of Matthew Moseley after crossing Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana.

They pulled an alligator from the finish about an hour before I got there which explains why there were so many police and emergency personnel [at the finish].

The 25-mile swim across Lake Pontchartrain was an amazing experience all the way around. I figured on 12 hours, maybe 14 on the far side at most. I didn't expect to be out there for 15. The last two hours I had to reach deep because I was starting to deteriorate and couldn't keep up with the calories at the end.

It was very choppy from about midnight to sunrise at 6 along with strange currents that slowed me down some. At one point I felt a fairly large fish run across my belly and I practically leaped off the water.

Watching the nearly full Honey Moon make its arc across the night sky was magical. We barely needed lights [because] it was so bright. The moon set simultaneously with the rising of the sun at 5:58. Absolutely beautiful with one of the support boats decked out with a giant Merman strapped to the roof and lit up with lasers and lights. He pointed the way all night. Also legendary jazz composer and musician 84-year-old David Amram played keyboards, flute and made up original music while I swam. He played for 12-13 of the 15 hours on a 35-foot party barge through the night with 4-foot swells.

But then the sun came up and it got hot and bright. The last two hours were nothing but suffering. The training was amazing and I could feel it working in that last part. What helped a lot, however, was the meditation and mental conditioning I did this past year. I had visualized this struggle at the end and mentally prepared for it so when it was happening I didn't freak out, but I focused on my breathing and stayed in the zone. I accepted the pain and was not being done in by it. The mental piece was the most critical in the end.

I could have never done this without my coach Randy [Soler] who encouraged me to go back to those mental techniques we had practiced together. That brought it home.

Filmmaker Wayne Ewing captured the entire menagerie and event for a documentary on the recovery of the lake using the swim as the adventure.


Additional articles about Moseley's crossing include:

* Dancing With The Water By Wayne Ewing
* Matthew Moseley Makes It Across The 'Train
* Training For The Big Swim Across Lake Pontchartrain
* Preparing To Paddle Across Pontchartrain
* Go Fast To Go Far
* The Long And Short Of Training For Lake Pontchartrain

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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