We, Open Water Swimmers are a rare breed, no doubt. Not many people understand why on Earth would we swim for so long, out in the oceans / rivers / lakes in potentially cold, dark and dangerous waters, for no reason beyond personal accomplishment or fundraising purposes.
Additionally, it is a sport with no limits and with little regulation beyond the "English Channel rules". That creates a variety of approaches among marathon swimmers - some focus on being faster than anybody else, some prefer to swim longer races or pursue common feats, some others to create unprecedented, challenging routes. That also generates a wide variety of age groups and body shapes among the OWS community - in fact, some would never pass for swimmers at all.
What is common among most and still amazes me is the secretive nature of the planning. While runners, triathletes and climbers have no problems in sharing their goals, swimmers tend to be more reserved to say what they are up to. This could be because of our competitive nature (i.e. I'd like to finish the English Channel before everybody else) or because of our fear to fail (i.e. if I don't complete the English Channel, I don't want anybody to know I tried).
In any case, I've decided to let the cat out of the bag and share my 2018 project, for three main reasons: (i) I am doing it for a good cause and would like to fundraise as much as possible; (ii) I would not mind finding a sponsor that helps me with the costs; (iii) I am putting some self-pressure and motivation to finish every step and swim along the way, which won't be easy for sure. As you can see in the video, I plan to be the first swimmer ever to compete in a major, significant challenging race in each of the seven continents in a single year, including Rottnest (OZ), Robben (ZA), Titicaca (BV), END-WET (US), Bosphorus (TK), Clean Half (HK) and Antarctica. You can find the full list here, and the map depicting my planned swims, below. Would you share your goals with me now? :-)