2017 English Channel swim

Monday, August 7, 2017

Weather Channel: #1 Extreme Adventure: Oceans Seven

Last evening the Weather Channel had a great program on the Top Ten Extreme Adventures.  Oceans Seven was ranked as #1.     My good friend Darren Miller (USA) was featured in this incredible segment of extreme adventures .  Darren is an outstanding ambassador of marathon swimming.  Many thanks to Steven Munatones for presenting the concept of the Oceans Seven to the marathon swim community.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Lake Ontario swim

    Lake Ontario here I come!    My next marathon swim adventure will take place at the end of this month.   I will attempt to swim the 32 mile traditional course of Lake Ontario also known as the Marilyn Bell route. The swim will start in New York at Niagara-on-the-Lake and finish in Toronto, Canada near the Marilyn Bell Park.  This route was named after swim icon Marilyn Bell who became the first person in history to swim across Lake Ontario at the age of 16.  She instantly became one of the most highly celebrated swimmers in Canadian history.   Her story of her determination and grit is incredible.   I wanted to share her inspirational story with my young grandchildren  so I purchased the DVD "Heart, The Marilyn Bell Story".  We watched it together......we loved it!
         I will be following the rules of the Canadian swim organization called Solo Swims of Ontario. Their rules are similar to other marathon swim organizations.......swimmer cannot be touched,  swimmer cannot touch boat, start on land and finish on land.  I am grateful to Marilyn Korzekwa,  renowned marathon swimmer and president of the SSO, for extending her gracious hospitality in  planning and welcoming my crew and I.   My boat pilot is Christine Arsenault. She is recognized for her piloting skills.   Christine will have a 39 foot boat fully equipped with GPS and radio contact.   I will be accompanied by a smaller zodiac boat.  One of my crew members will be on the Zodiac to monitor my swim and throw me liquid carbohydrates in a water bottle attached to a line.   The larger boat will be a few hundred yards ahead to assess for currents and conditions.   The main boat and zodiac boat will have radio contact at all times.   SSO is a very well run swim organization and safety is their number one concern.  At the end of my swim,  I will be assessed by a medical crew (rescue unit).  Hopefully, I will be in good condition.   If not, then ER visit would be recommended.  Again, safety of swimmer is very important to this swim organization........it's very much appreciated.
       This swim will be very challenging due to it's unpredictable wind and currents.  Water temperature will be between 50 and 64 degrees.   Lake Ontario is known to have a drastic drop in water temperatures by 12 degrees within a two hour span.  I will swallow an internal thermometer so my internal body temperature will be closely monitored by crew on board.
    Many years ago swimmers had concerns about lampreys (looks like an eel) attacking their arms and legs.   Lampreys have a snake like body with a "sucker" mouth.   Years ago, there were stories about swimmers having to pry these little suckers from their extremities.  Yikes!!!!!     Thankfully, these pesky little creatures no longer bother swimmers.        
   I will have a spot tracker that will be activated about 30 minutes prior to start of swim.  I will post the link to the tracker on Sunday, August 27.  I expect that it will take me about 26 hours to swim 32 miles depending on conditions.    My slot starts on Tuesday, August 29.  I will have a four day slot.     The tracker will be on the boat.  My crew at home will not be posting any updates on my blog.   After the completion of my swim, regardless of the outcome,  I will post an update within 24 hours.
Looking forward to this swim......it will be another great adventure.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017


During my Molokai channel swim a pod of pilot whales came within two feet of me.  Mike Scott was the drone videographer who captured this amazing video.    My crew of David, Bill, and Jean Gallant are in the boat and witnessed these magnificent whales.    Best viewed on full screen computer.  Congratulations to Mike Scott of Oahu for capturing this rare video.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Tribute to Johnny Gallant

The morning of my English Channel swim I had my son Tom write the names "Robbie and Johnny" on my upper arms.   As many of you know, I started open water swimming after my brother Robbie died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 34.  Robbie loved all types of sports especially swimming.  He won the Peaks to Portland (2.4 mile ocean swim) twice.  My son encouraged me to swim the Peaks to Portland as a tribute to Robbie.  Little did I know that I would fall in love with the sport of open water swimming.
     I've had many people ask me about my brother Johnny.   I want to pay tribute to him, too.  Johnny died at a very young age of 17.   He was accidentally electrocuted during a physics lab class at Westbrook High School many years ago.  His passing was a tremendous loss to our family.  He was such a wonderful and caring brother.  He was an all-around proud American boy.  He was a newspaper carrier, altar boy, and a friend to all.    He had a great sense of humor.   Johnny loved sports, too.  His favorite sport was track and field.  In high school he excelled in track and won numerous track events in his very short life.
   During my English Channel swim, I thought of Johnny and Robbie.   As I slowly walked up the beach to the finish line in France, I thought of them.   Because Robbie was the swimmer of the two, I said, "this is for you Robbie".    Johnny would have been so proud of my accomplishment, too.  And,  he probably would have jokingly said "why didn't you run up the beach to the finish line."
Johnny this swim was for you, too.  Love to both!