After completing crossings of the English Channel, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait, Strait of Gibraltar, Molokai Channel, and Tsugaru Channel, he had one channel left: the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
But the worse scenario came up for the 56-year-old Australian. “Two weeks ago, I dislocated my shoulder in the chicken/duck pen. I have never had a sports injury in the whole of my swimming career.
In fact, I have watched many of my swimming buddies drop around me with shoulder injuries, requiring surgery. I thought I would easily be able to bounce back into things and tackle any swim put in front of me.”
Reality has hit him hard – and pushed back his final channel attempt of the Oceans Seven an entire year.
“I realize now that is not the case. I have been seeing a sports medicine doctors and physios to try to get some mobility back in the joint. It hasn’t improved and realistically I will need another 12 weeks of ongoing management to be in a position of handling a big swim.”
He has no power in his right arm and feels like he may swim in a circle.
“I have had to make the decision to pull out from my North Channel crossing. I was so looking forward to completing this swim. I am angry, annoyed, saddened and depressed as I have put everything into this year of my life. I have put on so many kilos so can now officially be labelled obese, I’ve done the cold water training, I’ve done the miles, but can’t do this without a shoulder.”
Despite his disappointment, his passion and dedication are deep. “I will leave the North Channel till next year. The Channel will still be there and so will I.”
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