I have been swimming for more than nine hours and I am cold. My shoulders are so heavy. For more than three hours I have been swallowing water each time I turn my head around to breathe. My throat hurts. My tongue is swollen because of the salt. My eyes are burning because of the sea water filtering through the goggles. In two more minutes I will stop to take the every half-an-hour hydration that will give me energy to keep on swimming.
I am trying to keep my mind in peace. I think of the phrase that I have repeated to myself throughout the swimming: “I inhale, I have faith; I exhale, I am in peace”. I am doing my best to stroke efficiently, producing heat in order not to fall into hypothermia. I do not know if I will be able to continue, I am at my limit.
The English Channel separates France and Belgium from England. The narrowest portion between these two points has 33 kilometers in straight line. Crossing this strait has been meaningful for navigation, commerce, politics and sport. It is considered the “Everest” for open water swimmers. In 1886 Captain Mathew Webb swam across the English Channel for the first time and, since then, countless swimmers have tried to cross it. Gertrude Ederle was the first woman to swim across in 1936. Less than thirty Mexicans have crossed it swimming as a solo swim. Out of this number, less than 50 percent are women. Very few of them do it to help others. I am one of these women, and being at my limit, I decided to swim another half an hour.
This is my story.