Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Interview with EC swimmer Amanda Bell Part 4 of 4

AB " I did consider stopping and asking them, but I'm not so sure I would have started again once I stopped, so I just kept swimming and swimming, the next thing was seeing the rib (rigid inflatable boat used for escorting the swimmer when the water is too shallow for larger vessel) coming off the rear of the boat which made me give a little YAY !! And then even though it came off the back it just sat there, at the other side of the boat, occasionally I would slip behind the boat and again I would see the rib. I'm not sure if this was deliberate from Eddie, I suspect it was, in order to give me a boost, then I would find myself at the front thinking YES The boat is stopping now it's getting really close, then we would go through the whole cycle again. With every stroke I took I was longing for the boat to go away, so that it was just me and the rib. I could see the vague outline of land ahead, but it was so dark I couldn't tell if it was really close or far away. It remained like that until such time as the rib crew said "That's it, you are there" it didn't change in appearance at all. I still had no idea how long, so I swam on and then I more or less bumped into sand. I was there. I had done it.

MR " How did you feel?"
AB " It was a real anti climax, I know this sounds really negative but it wasn't at all how I had envisaged it would be. Nothing like what had been going through my head for hours and hours. You know when you see videos of people in daylight, with lots of cheers and arms held aloft, it was nothing like that. It was pitch black. I couldn't see anything aside from a small light on the rib, and light further off on Anastasia. So I stood up, on the beach, alone, raised my arms in the air and said Yaay (spoken in a very soft unassuming lonely manner) pretty much to myself. I didn't look for pebbles it was pointless in the dark on a sandy beach. I just felt relieved. I suppose inside I was chuffed I had done it, it hadn't really sunk in."

MR " Did you cry"
AB " No, I just go back in, I wanted to get back to the boat and get dressed. I wouldn't get in the rib, there was no way, you know what I am like, there was only one boat I was getting on. So I swam back to boat and whilst doing so swam into the biggest almighty jelly I had encountered all day. It was so large and hard I thought my hand had hit the rib. I received a mild sting and made it back to the boat. I climbed aboard where everyone was fussing. I was grateful though I was still capable of getting dressed. We sat and chatted for a while. My priority was to let those closest to me hear the news in particular the children. The crew retired to the bunks so I got wrapped up and stayed on deck and rested til we arrived back in Dover. I felt better than at the end of the 2 way Windermere, no banging headache and there had been no vomiting. I pretty much stuck to the maxim and it wasn't a problem "
MR " Awesome, is there anything you would like to add"

AB "Yes absolutely, there are many people to thank. Firstly, thank you Mark for taking the time to interview me and write about my swim. Much appreciated! The many people who have helped and supported me along the way. I couldn't have done it without the support from lots of other swimmers not least Adam Walker for his technique sessions and Nick Adams for the Eton Camp. The many others for training with me, and of course Freda Streeter and the Dover beach crew. Mark Sheridan and his family for their hospitality. The kind words of support and understanding from all family & friends.

To my colleagues at work and for all the support and efforts of the pupils at OLSB. I thank you all. 

Thanks also to my Pilot Eddie Spelling his crew on Anastasia, along with my crew on board, Johanna Barkwith, Barbara Brown, Kathryn Ayre & John Mace. Ground control, that's you Mark, you were not only a great support during the swim but a major part of the build up and part of the inspiration in the first place, even though you won't like me saying that and probably won't include it. I want it in! Also to Charlie your son for giving up his days off to crew for miss in the water! (Amanda is Charlie's science teacher)

To Georgina for being incredibly courageous during exceptionally difficult times. An inspiration to all.

Final thanks has to go to my ever supportive children, Joe, Adam and Emma. They are simply awesome!"

MR " Amanda I am sure I speak for many many people, when I say congratulations, I am very proud, thank-you for you honesty. I am certain you have inspired lots of people, not only swimmers but everyday folk who think they are having a bad day. Thankyou for allowing me to part of your journey"

It is only right to include The Justgiving page to close.


Barb Brown said...

Fantastic set of interview blogs.... a really good way to record the swim, well written and great to read. I was lucky enough to be crew for Amanda that day, so know that all that's here is true!- but even so, this has opened my eyes to what you went through in your head Amanda, as you kept things so positive on the day! I was really moved reading this, and it's only increased my already huge admiration for you! Well done Mark for a great write-up :) ... and massive love and congratulations to Awesome Amazing Amanda, who I am very proud to call my friend :)

Suzanne Charnock said...

Congratulations Amanda. Your recount of your Channel Swim explains why it is an achievement that deserves accolation. Like Georgina you faced a journey that would be a battle of mind and body that would be surrounded by people who wanted to support you, no matter what the outcome. For me, the final part saddened me that you didn't feel that 'fanfare moment'' but sometimes life is like that and it led me to this quote that 'sometimes it's the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination'. And I'm sure it has. Suzanne x

Johanna Barkwith said...

Fanatstic piece about a fantastic swimmer and friend. I am very proud of you Amanda - sounds patronising but it really isn't meant to be! I was honoured to be part of your swims, from the two way Windermere and then the channel. I have swum often with you and found you to be an inspiration. I have often felt frustrated at my MS letting my body down but you have always been there with a kind word and support. I hope I have been half as amazing for your achievements as you have been an inspiration and support for me.


The Team said...

Amazing Amazing Amazing Ms Bell!! So well written, it's made me really emotional reading this ( again) Gutted about how you felt once you hit France, but I can understand it totally. I felt exactly like this after swimming only 10.5 in Windermere. You've raised so much money for charity and continue to be an inspiration to me ( or bad influence, not sure which) keep on swimming and achieving great things .. love you lots :)

Anonymous said...

Fascinating insights into the practicalities and the psychology of Amanda's unbelievable achievement. Some excellent lessons = for us all - in keeping on keeping on. xxx Georgina would have been thrilled xx

Stacey Ferguson said...

A well written blog, giving a great insight and new appreciation into Amandas wonderful achievement. Well done again. X

The Team said...

The Team??!! it's Michelle Grancourt :P

Sophie Hermans said...

Thanks mark robson for sharing useful information also I say congrats to perfect swimmer Amanda my best wishes with them. His all achievements are amazing and example for the new swimmers