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“You’ve said you’re going to do this. Now prove it.”

H2Open talks to marathon swimming legend Kevin Murphy, 67, about injury, mentoring and his ambition for one more English Channel crossing

For a man who has said that he didn’t really enjoy most of his swims, Kevin Murphy has managed to rack up some seriously impressive records in his swimming career. Known as the King of the Channel, Kevin has 34 English Channel crossings to his name, including three two-ways and three attempted three-ways. His first North Channel crossing stood as the male record for 43 years. He swam Windermere when he was just 15, was the first person to swim around the Isle of Wight and his record for the earliest ever English Channel crossing stood for 26 years before being broken last year. And despite injury, Kevin still hankers after one more English Channel crossing. Read on to find out what makes this marathon swimming legend tick…

It’s now more than 10 years and a lot of shoulder surgery and rehabilitation since you last swam the English Channel. Do you still want to swim it again?

I have a burning ambition to swim the Channel again, to prove to myself that I still can. I now have a replacement joint in my left shoulder – basically a metal ball and socket – but one year on I am back swimming again. At the moment it feels awkward and I am very slow but I was given considerable inspiration by a swimmer who took part in a two-person two-way relay this year. She had a replacement shoulder joint six years ago. It took her two years to come back from it but now she is swimming as good as ever.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

One of the things that keeps me going through the winter is my daily outdoor dip, whatever the weather or temperature. A few years ago this would have been considered pretty odd behaviour by many, but opinions seem to be changing as outdoor swimming and cold water swimming is featured more and more in the media. Indeed, a group of sea swimmers now feature daily on the BBC in the short films between programmes! Find out the story behind the swimmers in our news section. Elsewhere in the magazine we hear from Beth French about her close encounter with a shark in the Molokai Channel, we meet English Channel swimming legends Kevin Murphy and Sally Minty-Gravett and gain an insight into what happens when a swim goes wrong from Mickey Helps’s story of his unsuccessful two-way English Channel swim. I have really been enjoying Terry Laughlin’s series on mindfulness in swimming, which he brings to a close this issue with a look at swimming as ‘moving meditation’. It is a really interesting element to introduce to your training sessions. If you haven’t decided what swims you would like to complete in 2017, check out our event listings. And remember, events are not just for competitive swimmers – a race is only a race if you race it, otherwise it is just a lovely swim. We have some exciting news to share about H2Open – turn to page 27 to learn about our big plans for 2017 and how the magazine is changing. Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming.
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