Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
“There is nothing solo about a solo swim,” reported Oceans Seven swimmer Kimberley Chambers from the Ulster hospital in County Down, Northern Ireland.
“It is a team effort all the way. Everyone on the boat stuck with me, including my pilot Quinten Nelson. I could not be more helpful.
My Mum and close friend Matt Donoghue were amazing.
They knew just the right amount of ‘carrot and stick’ to motivate me and help me mentally through the severe pain of the stings and also the onset of hypothermia due to my body trying to battle the jellyfish toxins.
My Mum knows I can suffer a lot and while it was very difficult for her to watch, she knew with each stroke I was achieving a very special dream right before her eyes.”
Besides her supportive family and friends, she had another Oceans Seven swimmer Darren Miller on her escort boat. “It was important to have someone with Darren’s experience on this swim because things can change dramatically and very quickly in cold water.”
But at the end of the day, Chambers stroked across each of the Oceans Seven channel by herself. It was the epitome of guts and determination. “I am also glad that I could draw on my own experiences from each of my previous six swims – and the crossing of Lake Tahoe – to persevere. I was glad I saved the best swim for last.”
She needed all her experience and amped up her fortitude to make it across from Northern Ireland to Scotland in 13 hours 6 minutes where she was stung relentlessly by jellyfish. “Jellyfish toxins are no joke. My arms and legs are still swollen and I am now in a specialized respiratory unit due to continued breathing issues. I am still unable to walk to the bathroom comfortably without oxygen.
But I have no regrets. I feel very lucky to have had these profoundly life-changing experiences in an environment for which humans are ill-equipped.”
Ill-equipped, but inspirational indeed.
Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association