Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lydia Goldswain - A Dramatic Inspiration In The Channel

American television viewers from the 1970's recall this TV intro to a famous weekly sports show:

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport! The thrill of victory...and the agony of defeat! The human drama of athletic competition!

Lydia Goldswain epitomizes this thrill of victory, the agony of defeat and the human drama of athletic competition, especially in her third attempt of the English Channel last week.

Goldswain was pulled from the water with 6 miles to go in her English Channel swim last week after being informed that the tides had turned after 17 hours in the water - and she could expect another 10 hours of swimming.

For 17 hours, after starting at 9:09 pm on a nearly windless night under smooth conditions, Goldswain had made good progress. Even as the elements started to turn against her, she continued battling on despite losing her special feeding pipe in the middle of the English Channel.

Because Goldswain cannot tread water due to a disability, she devised a pipe to enable her to feed during her English Channel attempts. But because she lost her pipe, she was forced to feed from a bottle, which proved to be very difficult. Like all experienced marathon swimmers, Goldswain simply forged on as she expected the unexpected.

Goldswain is the first disabled South African swimmer to attempt to swim the English Channel. Because she has no use of her legs when swimming, she and her crew devised a feeding method where her feed is placed in a bag on top of a pole that passes through a long pipe to Goldswain in the water.

While she did not make her third attempt, she remains an inspiration to many, both in the water and on land. We celebrate her grit and determination and incredible outlook on life. She's a winner.

Photo of Goldswain after her Double Robben Island Swim in South Africa.

Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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