Breccene Ennis from Dublin swims for the Glenalbyn Masters Swim Club who is scheduled for another shot in the English Channel in 2012 after aborting an earlier English Channel attempt.
Breccene talks about a scary and potentially catastrophic hypothermia incident that was happily averted. “It was a normal February dip in the 40 foot in Dublin with Glenalbyn Masters. They normally stay in for about ten minutes while I try and stretch it out for longer.
On this occasion, I decided to swim out to a green marker buoy no more than 100 meters offshore. While swimming and getting closer to the buoy, I noticed something strange happening to my legs and looked deep under the water to find them trailing very deep behind me, unable to move. I also felt like falling asleep. It was an amazing experience, very peaceful. I could have easily slipped under the water because of how totally relaxed and peaceful I felt. I realized quickly that I was in fact passing out and needed to get back to shore as quickly as possible. It was 100 meters away, I didn’t care where I landed, I just needed to get back. The front crawl stroke fell to pieces as the coordination started to go. I tried breaststroke and made slow progress all the time looking for the quickest exit on land. I finally made it.”
Breccene is an example of someone who understands the situation he placed himself in, but who was also cognizant enough to resolve the situation. “I was foolish to attempt this and was given no more than half a minute notice that I was in serious trouble…30 seconds…”
It is always risky and never wise to swim without others especially under the increasingly risky and extreme conditions that open water swimmers are willing to experience.
Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source