Welcome to my webpage.
This has been a long time coming and it has taken me a while to find my passion but nearly 7 years after a life changing experience. I find myself, with the help of a great team of people, putting together a webpage dedicated to a mans love for all things water based.
So how did it all start?
I left the land I was born, Harare, Zimbabwe in 1997 and came to London. the following 10 years was spent living it large in London, eating too much, drinking and smoking too much, not doing any exercise and generally abusing my body until it started to rebel.
In the Summer of 2007, my brother, who also lives in London, approached me with, what I thought was a bloody stupid idea. His Questions was, Graeme, “How about you and I do something different next year? How about we swim the English Channel?”
My response was
“Have you lost your marbles? Why would anyone want to do something so stupid? Are you not aware they have planes, trains and automobiles to get us to France!”
Nothing much more was said on the matter.
At about the same time, My body was rebelling, I was overweight, VERY unfit, Generally not looking after my body. I was Hemorrhaging money to Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physios as My back was knackered, walking was an effort, let alone doing anything more. Finally, it all came to a head. My partner was Driving down the road and my back went into spasm. It was so bad that I could either stand or lie down. Sitting in a car was not an option, so, whilst travelling, thankfully slowly, down the road, as this spasm hit, my first reaction was to open the car door and roll out of a moving car. Sounds stupid I know but the pain was that excruciating.
After yet another trip to the Chiro, to patch me up and a few drugs to aid me, my brother’s conversation came back to haunt me. I was 34 years old and my body was a wreck! I then got chatting to a Physiotherapist friend of mine and he explained my problem – and solution – in a way that I could understand.
I suffered from slight Scoliosis of my back. All the Osteos and Chiros in the world could help fix that BUT, my body, in the shape it was, was always going to pull my back out-of-place. My muscles, which he explained, are what keeps your skeleton in place, are so weak and used to my back being out that no matter how many times I get it put back in the right place, they will always pull it out again.
Solution = Get it put back in place and then get yourself Fit QUICKLY!!
Problem = how do you take an obese person, who has not exercised in 11 years and get them fit quickly?
My brothers question came back to haunt me. I headed down to the pool and got my bulk into it and did some trialing. Primarily to see if I could still swim. My times were not too bad and my muscles somehow remembered all that training I had done as a Child. Next, i started to do a bit of research on this Channel Swimming madness. Here was the answer to my problem. it was not long before I had a gym membership and was talking to boat pilots and finally bit the bullet and signed up to Swim across to France. Many thoughts clouded my mind. What have I got myself into? Why are you doing this? How are you going to afford this? I will be missing out on so much socializing with all this training. The cons of this swim totally outweighed the Pros at this point.
in 7 months I went from an obese 34-year-old with a broken body to Standing on Samphire Hoe beach looking out at what was to be a life changing experience. 25 of my friends had come down to see this mad man off, I think that is a record for the amount of people standing on a beach with me egging me on. My Parents, and brother and new friends were on my boat, If i was not ready, now was not the time to worry about it but still Many negative thoughts clouded my mind.
11 hrs and 45 minutes later I emerged from the English Channel just below the Light house at Cap Gris Nez. A new Chapter had started in my life. My back problems were now a thing of the past. I had now entered the world of marathon swimming/ endurance sports.
After this, there was not much left for me to achieve but I needed, no wanted to carry on this route so I went on to Cycle up Britain, kayak across Scotland do a few marathons, I ran my own event for a couple of years, all the time raising much needed funds for my charities. There was still something missing in my life.
After much soul searching, I started drifting back to the water and back to, what I thought was hard bloody work, but, it was what I loved. I went on in 2013 to do various short to middle distance swims and keep my hand in. In 2014 saw me taking on another marathon swim in Zürich. Swimming Switzerland’s longest swim along the length of lake Zürich whetted my appetite again and I now see myself soon staring down Salt River Valley in Arizona for, what will be my biggest swimming Challenge yet.
4 LAKES, 4 DAYS, 41 MILES OF SWIMMING
I became the fastest British swimmer to complete the Whole SCAR swim and it was the best Swim I have ever done.
2015 also saw me do a few Shorter races with the Culmination in Italy Swim The Island where I completed the 1.8km, 3.5 km and 6 km swims on the Day.
The year was a slightly Quieter one with 1 significant swim which was Lago D Orta Marathon swim in Italy. A lake swim of tow lengths of the lake totally 27km.
I also did the Jubilee River swim and came in 3rd in the Bioprene category.
Other shorter swims were the 3km Races in which I managed a personal best of Sun 45 minutes for the swims. Leading home the Bioprene swimmers
the Year Culminated in a monster set of 100 x 100m on 100 seconds. A brutal set made even worse by the sweltering water temps of 30 degrees plus. All in memory for a Great Athlete that sadly lost his life mid 2016.
A hard year made harder as I was focusing on shorter swims- no longer than 2.5 hours then did a jump from 2.5 hours to 8 hours at lago D Orta. Not advisable but a huge personal challenge which only helped me learn more about myself and where my limits MIGHT lie.
Another Quiet year swimwise as certain things like my wedding and Honeymoon will be taking up most of my time.
PHISH – 720m in 2 degree water. I decided to Try the Ice swimming thing as a slightly more diverse challenge. I will probably take it further next year and do so ICE miles
Jubilee swim – this year i chose to do it as a team as there were a few Friends that were new to Open water that wanted to give it a go
Various 3km and 5km Swim races at the local lakes Winning the 3km ones
Thames Marathon Bridge to Bridge 14km river swim. I got a Non wetsuit place and managed to finish 8th in the non wetsuit category
It has been an interesting year this year. As it is 10 years since I found a passion for this sport with my very first ever Open water challenge – The English Channel. Not your normal challenge for a first time but why wait? It seems only fitting that I do something in a silimar vain to celebrate. So we needed a challenge of similar stature. The one I have chosen is Loch Lomond. A fresh water swim equal in distance to the english channel. To get there I had to put some time in the water so I selected a few events to be used as training swims
Guildford 12 – 1 mile on the hour every hour for 12 hours
Jubilee River swim – always a favorite. 10km River swim :- 3rd in the non wetsuit category
Waveney River swim – 11.8km River swim :- 3rd in the non wetsuit category
Humdinger Swim – Lake swim. Swim as many laps in 6 hours :- 1st place in non wetsuit category with 21km done
Club to Pub – 1.5km lake swim :- 2nd in non wetsuit category
Henley Thames marathon – 14.4km river swim :- 3rd in non wetsuit category.
Various 3km and 5km races achieving podium positions on all of them
a few 6 hour training swims
So all is looking good so far as we head towards my ultimate challenge to end my open water journey for 2018 Loch Lomond 21.6 mile swim