Will You Try Again?

Sunday 10/10/10

The piercing sting of disappointment has faded to a dull, periodic twinge. I was incredibly fortunate to be able to swim on the first day of my window. That gave us six days of touring in England before our scheduled flight back. Each morning, the dreary realization that I hadn’t made it to France would leak out in diminishing squirts of anguish. By the time we reached Lands End on the extreme southwest tip of England, I was almost dry. That was a good thing. Otherwise, I’d have found myself in the middle of the Dolphin Club locker room, gushing out an uncontrollable and embarrassing puddle.

I still would not trade this year-long experience for anything (except maybe a successful swim.) Every milestone was fresh and exciting. Writing about the quest accentuated and deepened each aspect. And that’s one of the problems with giving it another go. I worry that a second attempt would feel less like an adventurous lark and more like a tedious chore.

And then there’s the cost. With pilot fees, registration costs, and kennel charges for the critters; $5,500 is out the door before even thinking about travel and lodging. Circumstances smiled on us this year, but the state of the economy doesn’t promise continued good fortune.

Probably the biggest deterrent to another try is psychological. I had a good deal of confidence going into the swim. I felt extremely well prepared and had regularly visualized success. The possibility of not making it a second time raises the prospect of dread and what fun is that? One man faltered on his third attempt this year and the short note he offered the Channel swimming community was redolent of heartache.

But, if I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that some things are unpredictable. I maintained adamantly that a solo English Channel attempt was not in my future right up until the time that it was. So, the best I can say is that I currently have absolutely no plans whatsoever for a redux assault. On the other hand, I am going to start a strengthening program for my gluteal muscles. It certainly can’t hurt.


  1. Hi Larry, my heartfelt commiserations with your disappointment. I have enjoyed reading your blogs and truly impressed with your effort and channel swim. It's sometimes hard to be philosphical when you don't feel like you have achieved what you set out for. Some take many attempts to succeed in crossing the channel, some never quite make it but those who never attempt will never know what it was like to even try. Good luck in the future, Ollie.

  2. Hey Larry
    I only just caught up on your last two posts
    I am gutted for you
    I know how you feel...for me the channel never goes away..I think about it everyday..at times its dwindles into the background other days its right up there and will not leave my mind...I took a year out before getting back in the water..I learnt much and have a new approach more methodical and will step on all the stones before taking the biggest step of all..it also gives me time to save!
    you will be back
    I know you will
    now go work the butt like I told you on email!!
    best wishes

  3. Hi Mark and Ollie,

    Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. For me, too, thoughts of the Channel bubble to the surface of my consciousness like a pot of water on very low boil. I can see that it will be a while before the scab that's formed on the heartache falls off and the fresh red scar fades to better resemble the surrounding tissue.

    I have been fond of saying lately that not reaching France was like not getting the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae. I'm terribly disappointed about not getting that cherry, but the rest of the sundae was DELICIOUS!

    I'm back in the water at Aquatic Park daily. It was a real treat to return. Attempting to swim the English Channel didn't burn me out at all. If anything, it made me appreciate this fascinating and exhilirating open water venue we have in our backyard more than ever.

    Thanks again for your kindness,

  4. It's been a while
    Are you coming back soon Larry

    1. Hi Mark,

      I'm probably done with long-distance swimming (anything over an hour or two anyway). However, I found I really missed the writing. So, I started a new blog about the Dolphin Club.


      Founded in 1877, the club and it's companion, the South End Rowing Club, are institutions with a storied history. I love those stories and the new ones being made all the time. That's what I'm writing about, now.

      Good luck on your upcoming attempt. I'm rooting for you.