After competing in triathlons for 9 years, I decided it was time to try something different. In the back of my mind I had always had this idea that I would try to swim the English Channel some day. Now, after almost 2 years of distance swimming training, that day is almost here!

Plot of my course

Friday, September 26, 2008

Soap opera

So to continue the soap opera, the weather tomorrow is swimmable. However, I will not be able to swim with my pilot after all. The first slot fella, Chris, will swim with him on Saturday. Even though Sunday and Monday may be swimmable (but harder due to the tides) that is not an option as my contract with Eddie ends Saturday and he has commitments to take rowers across the channel on Sunday. All kinds of crossings take place apparently. In fact, as we had lunch outside today we got to see a man fly across the channel using a jetpack and a wing. He parachuted as planned and landed 2-3 miles away. It was pretty neat to watch.

So back to my swim, I remembered seeing a post on a site for channel swimmers that said a pilot had a first postion open. That's a little unusual since these things are booked at least a year in advance but I went ahead and contacted him. Long story short, I will be swimming with him tomorrow morning starting out at about 8:45am Dover time/3:45am SC time. If all goes well, I will finish close to midnight, get back to Dover around 3:00am and then leave for the airport at 5:00am. It will be tight.

The last piece of the soap opera is that I have a bad cold and am concerned about having the strength and stamina to make it across. I asked the advice of some expert channel swimmers and people for whom I have great respect. They told me I should wait until I feel right physically and mentally and come back next year. I think they are wise. However, I am stubborn. So I will swim. They will probably be right in the end but I figure my worst case scenario is that I don't make it all the way across but get a really good (and expensive) training experience for my next shot at it which could really be 2 years away because 2009 is mostly booked. I need to take this chance now. I am going to try hard to get my head in the right place to do this. I need to think there's only one way to finish this swim. By walking out on French soil.

So while my family is out and about now making last minute arrangements, money transfers, etc, I am going to try and get a nap and then pack my bags a final time. I really want to say publicly how much I appreciate the help and support my wife Lauri, sons Ben and Jacob, support person Bonnie Crickman and her daughter Anna have provided me. The have endured the rollercoaster and been real troopers. I owe them big time for putting them through this. Thanks also to everyone who has written me on this blog or otherwise. The support has been fantastic.

PS - I removed the picture of Anastasia and the link to track my progress as I will not be with that boat now. I will be on Ocean Breeze with David Whyte. Unfortunately, it does not have the ability to be tracked as the other boat did. So I will have to get the word out as soon as I am able to get back on this blog. I am signing off for now. I will get dinner soon and head to bed. Tomorrow, I swim.


Jocelyn said...

Allan, we are all pulling for you here at Thomas Hart. Just remember when you have done everything in your power to make something work and it doesn't then the Lord may just have other plans for you! Tell everyone hi and that we miss them. I can't wait to hear the stories that Ben, Jacob and especially Anna will come back with. God Bless You All! Jocelyn

Bill Wilson said...

Good luck, Allan. I know you'll give it all you've got, as you always do, and that in the end you'll be successful.

Although you're now a roundabout expert, just be sure you let someone else drive back to the airport on Sunday!


Anonymous said...

Allan: We're rooting for you in South Carolina! I look forward to getting up early and "watching" your progress.
-John, Leslie & the redheads

PS-- A good shot of Jack Daniels will work wonders on the head cold.

Scott said...

good luck Allan. I will miss not being able to track your progress, but look forward to hearing about your success. I have read your blogs everyday.

Howle said...

Julie and Ken Howle

We just got access to your blog today but have been trying to keep up with you. Good Luck !

Terry & Wanda said...

Allan, our thoughts and prayers are with you on your swim. We have great confidence a head cold will not stop you. Sink or swim, we can't wait to hear the full story. You've been an inspiration to all of us as a person who perseveres regardless of the odds or obstacles. Terry, Wanda and family. P.S. Wanda says if she can pass G.L.P ont the bike, you can swim "the Channel".

Anonymous said...

Allan, hope all goes well, just remember be "wise" in all you do! Morgan, Carla, Hannah, Seth, Ethan, Sarah and Chloe Roberts of NC

David White said...

I look forward to hearing how it goes. Best of luck. David White

S.Ting said...


I know you probably won't see this posting until you've "completed" the swim...yes I consciously use that word because I know you won't feel complete - stubborn guy that you are - unless you try. I am cheering you on here in rainy North Carolina.

You'll probably sleep soundly all the way back across the Atlantic at least!!


Liz Fry said...


I am praying to the Channel Gods that you get out. There is next year, if not and the experience you have gained over the past weeks will be incredibly helpful. (George Hunihan was blown out last year and came back with a new perspective for his successful swim this year.)

Good luck and keep us posted.

All the best,
Liz Fry

David White said...

Go Allen Go!

David White said...

I meant to say Go Allan Go!

KJ said...


What you've attempted to do is truly remarkable! While things may have not worked out this time, you'll be mentally & pysically stronger for your next run. Safe travels home... KJ

Ellen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ellen said...


I hope I'm not completely stealing Allan's thunder, but I know I'm not the only person out there who has been biting my nails through night & day, night & day!

He made it!!! 16hrs, 10mins!!!

They're on their way back to Darlington from the airport right now and I'll leave the rest of the details for Allan!


Allan said...

Thanks so much everyone for all your kind words. As I said in my post today, they REALLY made a difference to me out there as I was swimming.

Oh, I just realized, no more cold showers!