nothing great is easy


20/05/2013 by Carl Reynolds

Capt. Matthew Webb’s quote is used by the CSPF to describe the journey you’ll be required to make, to become a Channel Relay or Solo swimmer. What is doesn’t do is infer that by doing something ‘great’ you become great yourself.

I am one of those to have fallen on the foothills. I got some long hours in, but the bones (or rather the muscles) have delineated a boundary for me; “thus far and you shall merely ache; further and you shall suffer”. And because I now have more time to reflect – my aqua addiction’s call is fainter at the moment – I think about the meaning of struggle.

It is, I think, a practical truth that it’s not easy doing something great. And that a great thing varies according to your perspective. For most people, myself included, swimming across the Channel (whether skin or suit) is a great thing. For those that have crossed, I have discerned a sub-set who then think, “Ah, but what next?”. There’s the Triple Crown, the Ocean’s Seven and a host of other challenges. And these are pursued with vigour and enthusiasm.

For others crossing the Channel is mission accomplished; and they then go off and climb some other mountains. In others the crossing is a pivotal moment in their lives; things change – jobs, houses, relationships. New vistas open.

For me there is a small sense of loss, but a greater feeling of relief. It’s been inspiring to stand in the foothills and commune with the mountain tops, but for now I am on the plain again looking at a different landscape. I wish all of my swimming friends, acquaintances and yet-to-be-knowns an incredible summer. I’ll be helping to look after one of you and look forward to chatting with more of you.


3 thoughts on “nothing great is easy

  1. Ian says:

    Wise words Sir

  2. David Davies says:

    Dear Mr Ape
    Nothing great is ever going to be easy or everyone would do it. You suffer from being a valued member of an exceptional community for whom channel swimming is not so exceptional; for most of the members of that community the question is not “whether or not” but “how quick”? This is to lose the perspective of the common man (represented by moi). After reading your message I took it upon myself to conduct some simple qualitative market research to demonstrate the point. I stopped 10 people at random walking along Guildford High Street earlier this week and asked them if they had ever thought in their wildest dreams about swimming the channel (note, not actually swum the channel, just thought about it in wildest dreamsville mode). The answers were as follows:
    go away
    I make the point, proven here with statistically validated outcomes, just thinking about doing the channel swim is exceptional.
    You’ve got time to rest your muscles, rekindle your enthusiasm and go again if thats what you ultimately decide to do. The truely exceptional is to face your fears (whatever they may be) and overcome them. Your apprehension (if indeed apprehension is what I read in your message) reflects the gravitas with which you are approaching the challenge and thats a good thing. Enjoy your time in the foothills but don’t stop looking up. And if you do, after reflection, decide its not for you then rejoice in the fact that you can hold your head up high on Guildford High Street for having dreamed.

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