Crap.  That really sucks.  I (and everyone else) really wanted her to make it.  I got an email from Colleen at 9:43 pm… not surprisingly she wasn’t in a real chatty mood… just said that she’s out… 6 miles from Marilyn Bell Park… after 14 hours.  Damn, that sucks.

I’m never sure what the right thing to say is after something like that.  I’m not a big fan of trying to make someone feel better, like “oh well, it doesn’t matter, that’s okay”… because, of course it really does matter and it’s not okay… at least when you are the one it has happened to.  I have always been of the mind set that you should be very disappointed and you should feel like crap after something like that… or it didn’t really mean much to you… but then you should get over it.  But you are certainly allowed to feel like crap for a while.

I’m not sure if that’s the proper reaction… I never got the rule book… but that’s how I feel about disappointment.  I’ve had my share of disappointment, it took me 14 tries before I qualified for the Boston Marathon… I swam 12 hours and 7 minutes in 60F water in Force 4-5 conditions in the English Channel before they pulled me out… I know how it feels… it really sucks to train that hard and put forth a gargantuan effort like Colleen did today and not meet your goal.  I witnessed how hard she trained… she trained hard… but it just wasn’t her day.

But then you get over it… and you feel better.  And it really is nice to hear nice things about your effort and to have your friends around to cheer you up.  It’s nice to hear things like:  Colleen put together an incredible effort and was going like crazy and we were all very excited for her and we are still really, really proud of her and happy to call her a friend.

Hey, open water swimming is one of the cruelest sports out there… because unlike almost any other sport, a very large portion of your destiny is out of your control (maybe mountain climbing too).  She was on track to break the speed record… but didn’t make it… and that’s why you never take anything for granted in this sport… it’s not over until it’s over.  There is no “coulda, shoulda, woulda”… it is what it is… and you get what you get… even if it isn’t fair… it’s a very tough sport.  It is a much more unforgiving and, dare I say it, tougher sport than running, cycling or triathlon… let alone all the “ball” sports.  And to swim for 14 hours… well, that’s awesome no matter how you cut it.

Congrats, Col… on one helluva effort!  Hope to see you at LOST swimming on Saturday… just for fun!  🙂



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I founded LOST Swimming because I like open water swimming and would like to see it grow and thrive in Lake Ontario. I started as a competitive swimmer as a kid and ended up getting as far as a silver medal at Nationals and going to the Olympic Trials in 1988. But I retired after that, I was sick of swimming. So I got into running marathons and have run over 35 to date, as well as a few ultra marathons, including the Marathon des Sables (7 day, ultra across the Sahara Desert). I also kind of fell into triathlons and have done a handful of Ironman tri's too. This gradually got me back in the water and in 2006 I took the plunge and attempted swimming the English Channel. I didn't quite make it across, but the circle was now complete and after 17 years I was a swimmer again! Although I still do plenty of pool swimming, I now much prefer open water swimming and like to say that open water swimming is to pool swimming, what trail running is to treadmill running! As a result I hope to encourage more people to join me for a dip in Lake Ontario as often as we can!


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