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ONE MILE SHORT

Mickey Helps warns us what might happen if we truly push our limits

When Mickey Helps set out on his twoway attempt of the English Channel on 25 August 2016 he was expecting a swim in the region of 26 to 30 hours. But those watching the boat tracker witnessed an epic swim unfold over two days and nights, only for Mickey to fall agonisingly short, when he was pulled, unconscious, from the water after 42 hours of swimming and one mile short of his goal. We asked Mickey to tell us what was going through his mind during key stages of his swim and how he feels about that elusive last mile.

In real terms the swim started way before I got in the water. By that I mean the experiences and training that brought me to make the decision first to take on the challenge and then later the belief that I was ready. These development phases and decisions are not as obvious as turning the arms over on the day but I truly believe are more critical to the chances of success than anything that can be controlled on the day.

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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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