The Great British Swim Tour (Andrew)


Watching a man with a mouthful of water, blindfolded, wearing a weight belt, blasted by cold air and trying to cycle fast as fast as he can on an exercise bike was not what I expected to see on Thursday. But, as a way of showing how Ross Edgeley had to spend six hours at a time, swimming through freezing water, half drowning while waves crashed over him and unable to see during night swims, it was effective stunt to get a volunteer on stage to show how tough the Great British Swim had been.

In November 2018, Ross Edgeley became the first person to swim around mainland Great Britain. When he finished, he revealed the salt water had destroyed his tongue, so it was no surprise it’s taken another six months for him tour and speak about his achievement as, I imagine, he had to wait for it to grow back(!).

On Thursday night, Ross’s Great British Swim tour reached Glasgow and, over two hours, he passed on some of the lessons he learned and some of the stories behind the swim – from how it came about, to what it was like to swim blind in the Irish sea during night swims. He also invited some volunteers on stage to demonstrate what happened – like the man on the bike with the weight vest, blindfold and mouthful of water.

Another had to cycle while eating a lettuce to show how you can both consume and expend 30 calories at once. Folk say you need to eat your greens and they say you need to exercise more, but no one says you need to do both at once…

The one tip that stayed with me though was this one. “Be naïve enough to start, and stubborn enough to finish.”

A good quote to describe most things we enter. Enter events with enthusiasm, but without completely thinking it through… then be stubborn enough to keep going when it turns out to be more work or more time than you first thought.

Or in other words: don’t think, just do it.

Because if you do think, you’d never do it.

Triathlons? Really? Swimming then cycling and then you go back out again and run. Why would anyone enter a triathlon who had any idea what it would be like?

Or run a marathon?

Or swim around Great Britain?

Maybe naïve is the wrong word. It’s not strong enough to describe most events. Instead, now I think about it, the quote should really be: “Be dumb enough to start, and stubborn enough to finish”.