George Thornton English Channel Swim : SWIM DAY, Part 1

It was a beautiful day for a Channel swim. The skies were partly cloudy, the wind was near zero, and the seas were almost flat.

Sorry I did not have internet access on the boat and wasn’t able to post live updates. Fortunately, most of you were able to follow along through Anastasia’s Facebook page, Lara’s blog posts, and Ann’s emails.

Dad/George started his swim at 8:50am, UK time. For 9 hours he maintained a consistent 52-54 stroke per minute rate, had high spirits and joked around during most of his feedings, and made solid progress across the Channel.

At his 8 hour 30 minute feeding, we started to notice that he was struggling with his fluid intake, seemed to have some difficulty with his stroke cadence, and was not quite as jovial. During his 9 hour feeding, Dad mentioned for the first time that he may not be able to continue due to being cold. He tried to push on, but at 6:54pm decided to abandon the swim.

From the boat, we were unclear as to why he was in distress. But, upon exiting the water we could see that he was shivering and moaning uncontrollably. Hypothermia had set in quickly.

This was not a matter of training and preparation, nor a matter of mental toughness. Once hypothermia sets in like that, there is no way to overcome it while remaining in a cold, wet environment.

Obviously, Dad is disappointed. Just as obviously, we are as proud of him as we could possibly be.

REQUEST: Dad asks that you NOT send him consoling messages. He knows you are thinking of him, but he would prefer to NOT receive your emails, letters, phone calls, etc. Thank you for understanding. You are welcome to send them all to me, and I will share your messages with Dad if/when he feels up to reading them

I will write more tomorrow, and post photos. In the meantime, Dad appreciates all of your love and support.



2 Responses

  1. Tell him congrats in any event. He did more than most everyone. We will toast him at the tailgate during the first DePauw swim meet this year. FYI, I am the parent of two DePauw swimmers (freshman and senior) as well as a junior cyclist. Both boys are Betas.

    John A. Gleason Cooke, Demers & Gleason, LLC (614) 939-0930 Office (614) 304-0099 Direct (614) 296-1281 Mobile

  2. 9 hours in a speedo in the English channel?! At any age and condition, that’s a brilliant success in my book! Go George – I’m perfectly impressed by you, and the loving dedication of your whole family. You are a lucky, plucky grandfather, and i’m quite sure they’re all inspired by your dedication and sense of adventure, while thrilled you knew when your life was more important than a stat in Guiness’ book. Hope to meet you one day.

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