Dover sunrise when I arrived on the Euroline bus via ferry
With the heat wave on the continent it was great to be in Dover for five days (11-15th) for some cold water training in the harbour – although I know from experience that within a few weeks part of the acclimatization will wear off again in the heat back home. So it will be good to come back quite a few days before my tide starts on Sept. 5th. But still it was reassuring to be able to swim 4, 6, 1.5, 3 and 2.5 hours in 16°C waters without problems, coming from 22-28°C
waters and just regular cold showers. It was the last opportunity for the 6 hour qualifying swim, a week later the water in Dover would already be above 16°C. (Zurich Lake obviously does not count any more as a qualifier, since it is too warm.)
Jana (helper), Abhejali and Vasanti, after our first swims on Saturday – 7 hrs Abhejali, 4 hrs myself
From the ferry in the morning dawn both shores with their blinking lights looked so close – just like a little bit more than the Zurich lake. It felt quite reassuring. But of course I know the currents, the cold and the fickle weather can be real challenges.
Sunny Sunday: Freda had a finger operation – she is sporting the nice hat Bahula gaver her after the girls relay in 2014
Abhejali had come a day earlier to prepare for her Catalina Channel swim booked for August 18th, and was happy to meet up with her sister in Dover, who lives in London and came down to assist us.
Kevin Murphy (34 Channel crossings), Hon. Sec. of the CS&PF, helping out at the beach on Sunday
It was very nice to meet again and chat with inspiring Channel swimmers from around the world – like Chloe McCardel and Shelley
Taylor-Smith – and the amazing beach crew inlcuding Freda, Irene, Barry and “King Kevin” himself, who sweetly came down to bring me my
At Varne Ridge, with Shelley Taylor-Smith and David, sharing interesting stories
crocks when I was the last swimmer to get out of the water after 6 hours on Sunday.
Meeting Chloe after her 3 solos in one week in preparation of her 3-way-attempt early August
Chloe McCardel was still in Dover after her she did her 3 solos in one week to prepare for her 3-way attempt beginning of August. We had met her and husband Paul first time back in 2009, when we were doing our 2nd Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team English Channel relay. Best of luck, Chloe!
Update: And she actually did her TRIPLE-SOLO on Aug 8-9th, 2015, in 36 hours 12 minutes: https://dailynews.openwaterswimming.com/2015/08/chloe-mccardel-becomes-4-to-go-3.html HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!
After the Channel Dinner in Dover on March 7th, crowds of swimmers enjoyed the Sunday morning sun and, braving chilly air and water temps, invaded the sparkling Channel waters in the harbour – lead by CS&PF President Nick Adams and King of the Channel and CS&PF Hon. Secretary Kevin Murphy.
Even the Mayor, Cllr Pamela Brivio and her husband watched and took photos. They were quite amazed at the wide smiles and glowing faces of the swimmers coming out of the freezing element, and the general joyful atmosphere of this quite international family gathering.
Enjoy some more of my pics on the CS&PF-Website: https://cspf.co.uk/article/92/swimmers-take-to-the-sea-to-clear-their-heads
I went to the CS&PF Dinner to represent our international Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and our 3 swims in 2014: two EC solos by Scottish Karteek Clarke (solo no 11) and Dover-Heidelberg English Channel-triathlete Angikar Djordjevik from Serbia (who was supposed to come but forgot to extend his visa!), plus the New Zealand-Czech “Sri Chinmoy Golden Jubilee” girls relay, who were all part of the annual honourees. Lucky Peter Hücker won the coveted guaranteed entry to the Zurich Lake Marathon Swim in 2016 in the raffle – congratulations! On Monday we met with the Mayor again, together with two British and Welsh friends to discuss to an upcoming peace project.
Vijaya receiving the Gertrude Ederle award (photo Dover UK)
On Dec. 23rd we received the sad news that Vijaya Catherine Claxton had left this earth.
She was a respected member of the International Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team who made it across the English Channel from Dover to France the hard way on Sept. 8, 2007, in 22 hours 27 min., after three heroic attempts in the years before. Vijaya, who held a responsible position at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, became the oldest US lady to swim the Channel at age 59, and in March 2008 received the prestigious Gertrude-Ederle-Award for the most meritorious CS&PF English Channel swim by a woman in 2007.
“Vijaya was a bubbly person known to a lot of us in the Channel swimming world. She came into our lives determined to swim the Channel and did it on her fourth attempt with Eddie in 2008. Her first three attempts were with me. All were long swims, all were great advances on the previous swim. All were very happy swims with a great support team of girls who enjoyed life to the full. Vijaya, complete with her smile and her willingness to help all around her will be sadly missed by the people who knew her. Those who did not know her missed out on one of the little pleasures of life.” – Mike Oram, pilot and Hon. Secretary of the CS&PF, and Angela Oram, Assistant Hon. Secretary of the CS&PF
Vijaya after her successful swim Sept 2007 with Alison Streeter, Queen of the Channel (43 crossings) and "King" Kevin (photo by Cliff Golding)
“I happened to be on the jetty when Vijaya came off the boat after her Channel swim and I recall being immensely impressed by how cheerful and energetic she was. She wasn’t fast but she had enormous determination. It was a long and therefore a tough swim – but you never would have known it. She was an inspiration.” – Kevin Murphy, “King of the Channel” (34 crossings)
“I remember Vijaya swimming in the Dover harbor, always having a smile on her face, no matter how long she was in the water. The love she had for the water and our sport will be missed.” – Marcy McDonald, Connecticut
“She was truly an inspiration. Vijaya taught me so much and I am a better person for having known her.” – Anne Cleveland
More: www.thewaterisopen.com, on my old blog, on Sri Chinmoy Races and on Open Water Swimmig.eu and Dover UK.
“You don’t have a Soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” – C. S. Lewis
“Death has no access
To the soul.
It only has access
To our weak and fragile body.” – Sri Chinmoy
“Death is at once
The end of the body’s
And the beginning of the soul’s
New journey.” – Sri Chinmoy
On August 13, Karteek from Edinburgh finished his 10th successful Channel swim in 16 h 49 min.
The same day Suprabha Beckyord from Washington, D.C. – another teammate – finished her 13th 3100 mile race in New York in a time of 61 days (unimaginable for me, but highly inspirational to follow the daily reports on https://perfectionjourney.org). For both of them these challenges are more of an inner quest than just athletic feats.
The online-article is followed by a few comments by Kevin Murphy, current King of the Channel and Karteek`s oberserver on the day.
Businessman hails yoga after completing tenth swim to France
Published Date: 20 August 2009
By MARK McLAUGHLIN
AFTER completing a gruelling swim of the English Channel, he vowed to never put his body through the pain again.
But Edinburgh businessman Karteek Clarke just can’t leave a challenge alone. He gave it another go – becoming the first Scot to attempt the crossing twice. Then he did it again, and again, and again.
Incredibly, the 42-year-old business training consultant from Newington has now completed his tenth swim to France – and he puts his remarkable achievement down to meditation and yoga.
He said: “Every time I do it I say it will be my last time, but this time so many events conspired to draw me back to Dover to give it
“I first attempted it back in 1994 and I thought I could complete it with very little training, but I had to give up after I’d been going for 12 hours and still hadn’t even made it halfway.
“I went back and trained properly and completed the crossing in 1997, and a friend of mine filmed me coming out of the water saying that it was great but that I was never doing that again. It was just too tough.”
Mr Clarke spent a few years pursuing less gruelling athletic challenges, such as swimming Lake Zurich in Switzerland.
“It’s only 17 miles across and it’s a bit warmer,” he said. “It’s hardly a dip in the pool but it’s nothing compared to the Channel.”
However, the Channel drew him back once more in 2000, and has refused to let him go since.
He says he has been continually drawn to cross-Channel swimming by his devotion to the Sri Chinmoy discipline of yoga and athletic endurance.
On his latest trip, completed on 13 August, he was monitored from a boat by “King of the English Channel” Kevin Murphy, the male world record holder with 34 crossings under his belt.
Mr Murphy’s feat is dwarfed only by the “Queen”, Alison Streeter, who has crossed the Channel an impressive 43 times.
Mr Clarke said: “I’m definitely not racing to catch up with these guys.
“I keep going back to hone my meditation skills as our Sri Chinmoy teacher encourages us to undertake these tasks to promote self-discipline. Like most brands of yoga, the aim is to silence the restless mind and purge it of negative thoughts. After about six hours in the water, you’re cold, wet and miserable, but it starts to become quite exhilarating.”
This time, the choppy seas, showers and swell made conditions difficult, and Mr Clarke had to battle seasickness which led to his
energy levels dropping.
He finally paddled up the shore at Calais 16 hours and 59 minutes after setting off. The world record for a cross-Channel swim is just under seven hours.
Mr Clarke is one of a select few swimmers who have repeatedly crossed the Channel.
Michael Oram, honorary secretary of the English Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation, said: “Very few people have swam the Channel more than ten times, and while Mr Clarke has his spiritual motivations, others are motivated by the challenge.
“The Channel is the Everest of swimming, and I would argue that it’s even tougher than climbing Everest because there have been so many ropes and handrails added over the years that you can just stroll up it now. More than 4,000 people have climbed Everest but only around 1,000 have swam the Channel because it’s all about the endurance.”
Observations by Kevin Murphy who helped out as an observer and even crew member for Karteek, whose helper was busy feeding the fish most of the time (i.e. completely seasick):
“I was out yesterday observing Karteek Clarke’s successful swim (16hrs 49mins). The first five hours in the dark and what passed for dawn seemed to me to be miserable with a fair swell, a following sea and wind strong enough to be blowing the rain horizontally through the back doors into the cabin. It looked to be quite difficult for the swimmer to get a rhythm going. Although it was Karteek’s tenth Channel swim he started being sick after a couple of hours, until it calmed down. But afterwards he said it wasn’t the swimming that made him sick – it was looking at the way the boat was rolling! The second half of yesterday’s swim was brilliant and was as calm as could be hoped for – not quite glassy smooth but almost. Unfortunately, unless you’re lucky or very fast, the Channel is seldom calm all the way across…
Incidentally, I was very impressed by Karteek. He was always cheerful, always smiling, always confident, fed quickly, never asked how far he’d got to go and just got on with the job. If he keeps knocking them off like he did yesterday I think I may have a problem!”
Kevin Murphy (34 crossings)