“A massive thank you to all the Shirley Pool customers who sponsored my recent swim in aid of Mountbatten Cancer Hospice. We raised an amazing £2,000, double the original target.
The cross continental swim in Istanbul was a fantastic event, 2,600 swimmers from 79 countries were loaded on three boats and shipped 6.5k upstream to the start in Kanlıca.on the Asian side of Istanbul.
All shipping was stopped for two hours as competitors leapt from the ships into the fast flowing Bosphorus where a powerful current from the Black Sea swept down towards Kuruçeşme on the European side of the river.
My swim was going to plan and I was moving so fast with the current, I thought I was going to break all records in my age group. However, the excitement got the better of me and I ended up too far left in the river, pushed down by the powerful flow. That meant a horrible swim across the flow to make the finish line and avoid being swept under the bridge towards the med.
Completely exhausted, I could hardly haul myself up the ladders to the timing mat and I was grateful for a strong arm of a lifeguard as the blood flowed back to my cramping legs.
The best news of the day was when I accessed the results. Looking at the history of the swim and pictures of previous swimmers displayed at the event, I noticed that Ian Thorpe and one of my boyhood heroes, Mark Spitz, had previously completed the swim, in 2012. Spitz, who was 60 at the time, swam the race in one hour eleven minutes.
My official time, even with disastrous navigation: 64:32!