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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > April 2018 > The Handwriting

The Handwriting

A short history of chronicling English Channel success on the walls of Dover’s White Horse Inn. By Elaine K Howley
Bill Shipp
Tom Keen

“Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, But he’ll remember with advantages What feats he did that day: then shall our names. Familiar in his mouth as household words Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.” — King Henry V speaking on the eve of St. Crispin’s Day, Act 4, Scene 3, Henry V by William Shakespeare

Humans need to remember and proclaim accomplishments. This innate desire to tell the world what you’ve done, perhaps spurring others to remember who you were for eternity, cuts across cultures, resulting in glorious monuments, buildings, and other constructs that memorialise names and efforts. The ancient pyramids of Egypt, the Nobel Prize, the Rocky Statue in Philadelphia, the Lincoln Memorial and Nelson’s Column are all examples of ways we commemorate and memorialise our achievements, whether they’re in the arts or sciences, sports or war, academics or politics.

Swimmers are no different in their need and desire to commemorate achievement. It’s why finishers’ medals are commonplace at open water events and why organisations like the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame exist: to curate the history of our sport and acknowledge the pinnacle of achievement within it.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

Our April issue is our one-year anniversary issue, and it's a cracker to get you in the mood for the start of the main outdoor swimming season. On the training front, we've got a couple of kick and pull sets to try out or a fitness and technique boost, and would look at how poor technique may not only slow you down but also be a factor in shoulder injuries. Our contributor Becky Horsbrugh relates how she became a hero for a day in Bangladesh when she swam across the Bangla Channel. Then, just in case you thought outdoor swimming was a new thing, Richard Nelsson tells us the story of two swimmers from the 1950s who went about swimming in every tarn in the Lake District, naked.