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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Toni Enderli Living The Dream Of The Oceans Seven

Courtesy of Toni Enderli on the Oceans Seven.

South African ice swimmer Toni Enderli talks about his next five-year journey as he takes on the global challenge of the Oceans Seven.

"I began open water swimming in 2009.

The freedom, connection with nature and pure challenge associated with it had me right from the start. I was hooked. It has become the catalyst for the rest of the challenges I face, the drive I developed for swimming seeped into all the other areas of my life – career, family and personal goals.

The way in which I began to face these aspects was the way in which I had learned to face my swimming challenges – with passion, unwavering determination and maximum positivity.

Open water swimming has taught me that it does not matter how old or young or you are, nothing is impossible and whatever you put your mind to, you can achieve - if you want it badly enough. It does not matter about the position or situation you are within your life - as long as you never give up and carry on moving forward, you will eventually get through it - like any strong current.

You have to push your own boundaries in order to grow and learn. To do that, you need to keep asking questions and strive to grow on a daily basis. If you stay within your comfort zone, you will never grow or experience life at its fullest.

Open water swimming has taught me to live and embrace the moment, to be thankful and humble for what I have. Open water swimming has led me to find ‘MY WHY’.

One of my first swims was a real challenge – to swim a mile in 3°C. My goal was to collect blankets and food for the underprivileged based on successfully completing this swim. I then swam a Double Robben Island and a route around Cape Point to raise funds for children with terminal cancer.

This lead to more challenging conquests including swimming the Strait of Gibraltar to raise funds in order to teach underprivileged children how to swim.

Swimming across the English Channel from Dover to France was to be my biggest challenge. After two years of brutal training and astronomical costs, the time had come to face Summit H20. Swimming the English Channel was no small feat - 13.5°C, a swarm of jellyfish and wayward currents prevented me from finishing.

The death of a fellow swimmer that day makes me thank God I swallowed my pride and accepted defeat.

In 2015, I decided to face my nemesis again. After almost five years of open water swimming, this year I was going to attempt my second English Channel swim.

It was with this swim that 'I found My Why.

All that got me through those 15 hours was swimming from feed to feed, the completely overwhelming support of my community and from all over the world via social media, my team who were with me every second encouraging me, lying to me, pushing me and looking after me.

My belly flop on French soil was a feeling I will never forget. Emotions overwhelm me every time I speak of the experience.

Everyone has an English Channel crossing in their lives - a challenge that seems too huge to face. Something that has no odds it its favour when it comes to success.

We need to understand that facing it and attempting to conquer it is the only way to get through it.

The word humble holds new meaning to me.

The Urban Dictionary defines humble as “An admirable quality that not many people possess. It means that a person may have accomplished a lot, or be a lot, but doesn't feel it is necessary to advertise or brag about it”.

I defined it as an epic epiphany in the face of a challenge I completed against all odds. It showed me that the most important things are the simplest, the ones that can’t be bought, the ones that are not flashy or particularly impressive and they require consistent love and hard work.

My WHY is to love and put my family first - to live in the present with them and enjoy every moment of my children growing up.

To leave them a legacy they can be proud of and to make my greatest achievement the pride they have in me and me in them.

With the Strait of Gibraltar and English Channel under my belt, I have decided to take on a huge life challenge and dedicate the next five years to the legacy I want to leave. My five-year challenge begins with two years of constant, solid training in order to prepare me to face the biggest achievement open water swimming has to offer: the Oceans Seven.

In 2018, I will attempt to successfully complete a crossing of the Catalina Channel. Following this challenge, I will face the Molokai Channel in Hawaii. In 2019, I will attempt a crossing of the Cook Strait followed by Tsugaru Channel in Japan. In 2020, I will face the North Channel.

MY WHY: my children and my wife will join me on this once-in-a-lifetime journey. My children will travel and live around the world, gaining invaluable life experience. I could never do this without them.

In addition to this, I will dedicate each swim I face to a needy cause within the country I am swimming in as a token of gratitude for their hospitality. This is a small offer of thanks for allowing me to live this dream

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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