Countdown to the first day we can swim!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Crazy? It's not fun otherwise!!

Ok, I guess it's my turn now...

I stood in flannel warm-ups on a rocky beach looking out across a expansive mass of darkness, which glistened harmoniousness as the surface reflected the warm July sun. It was difficult to see the bottom past a few feet from where the rhythmic tides hit the shore bring along with it clumps of seaweed and other sea life. Baby crabs, not much bigger than pennies, scuttled quickly towards the water. As the officials call us over to the docks for the start of the race, I took one last look at the white boat in the distance that marked the turn around point of the course.
Jumping into the chilly water and swimming a 3K at the Fran Schnarr Metropolitan Swimming Open Water Championship, from one barnacle-covered dock to another barnacle-covered dock and back 3 times, was perhaps the last thing I wanted to at the age of 14. And I vehemently expressed this disinterest after the swim. "Never," I said, "NEVER am I ever going to swim that again!"
Well, the following 3 years brought me deeper into the open-water world, each year bring with it some kind of drama. Swimming the 5K during these years I swallowed a jellyfish the first year (my coach claimed it was good protein when I told him after the race), had a friend got out for hypothermia the second year, and overheated and became severely dehydrated the third year. And yet, I loved it.

It was always a joke that I was going to swim the English Channel. I was the only swimmer in my grade during high school and people naturally assumed anyone with any swimming talent would be able to swim the English Channel, the pinnacle of all swims. I was awarded the "Person Most Likely to Swim the English Channel" award at the end of my AP U.S. Government and Politics class in senior year. Obviously, I never really took this seriously. However, after hearing that Clara Bennett swam it the summer I began college at MIT, the seed was embedded deep inside my brain. The more I heard from Clara about the grappling coldness, the draining distance, the jellyfish stings, the boat fumes, and other details that made my previous open-water swims a joke, the more I wanted to do it.
I first approached Syndey with this idea of swimming the Channel last year perhaps because I knew she was a do-er. It would not have been the perils of the sea that stopped me. I knew if we had agreed to this I would have no excuses to not do it. I am in awe of Sydney's motivation to accomplish things and I know she will be my motivation to go forward when I feel like giving-up.

I don't think I will fully understand the craziness of swimming the English Channel until I do it. Maybe I crave the challenge or maybe I just want to prove that I can do it. But all I know is: I AM SO EXCITED FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

An Introduction

For those of you who know me well and see me often, I am sure I have already talked your ears off about anything and everything Channel related, so feel free to skim this article as much of it I am sure you already know. That being said, I am sure there are a significant number of readers whom I do not get to see as often as well as a certain number who have no idea who I am at all. This post is mostly for them.
First the basics - My name is Sydney Giblin, and I am a junior studying Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at MIT. I love things that fly, the beach, chocolate, and the color green, but mostly I love trying something new and accomplishing things I never thought possible. I have loved the water for nearly as long as I can remember, and although I did not start swimming seriously until I was 13, I had been involved with the Junior Lifeguard program since I was 9 and had already competed in ocean races. Now I am a member of MIT’s Varsity Swim Team, certainly not something my younger self would have predicted. Similarly, when crossing the Channel first entered my mind as a fleeting thought it was nothing more than fantasy, nothing I took seriously. But when I arrived at MIT for my freshman year I met another student, Clara Bennett, who had just completed a successful crossing the previous summer. I was in awe. I thought feats like that were for strangers, not people I actually knew. So when my team mate Qing expressed interest in swimming the Channel as well, it seemed only natural that we team up and train together.
And now here I am, signed up for what I am sure will be the most difficult challenge I have ever faced. 22 miles in 60 degree water, a challenge of endurance, mental toughness, and self-control. There is plenty of training yet to come, should be exciting and painful but all super rewarding. 383 days to go!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


We are super excited about our crossing next year, and we hope our journey will also be entertaining, informative, and inspirational for you as well. More posts are coming soon, so check back often! WE LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!111!!!! COS(0) !!1!!