Neal came into my room to talk about a date he had just been on. Somehow the conversation turned to me. I was leaving to swim the English Channel with my relay team in four weeks.
“You know, I’ve been thinking… you’re spending all this money to travel to England…taking time off work etc., and you’re going to be in Dover… so… why don’t you just swim a solo too?” he said.
I thought for a moment. He was totally right. Why not? Sure, it would definitely be a classic “Kimberley case” of biting off more than I could chew. OH. YES. This would most definitely up the ante. And I loved it. Another adventure!!!
“That’s a totally crazy idea, but I love it!!!! Let’s do it!” I replied.
Neal had swum the English Channel as a 2-man relay a few years ago, and within seconds he had pulled up the email address for his pilot on his iPhone. We looked at the English Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation website.
I sent a text to Joe. “I just came up with a crazy idea….” I’ll never forget his reply. “No you must do it. Very important that you try.” My decision was made.
I told only a handful of friends. This swim was for me and I wanted it.
Everything happened so quickly. Within days I had my pilot booked, my swim slot booked, and my medical certificate.
All I needed next to qualify was complete 6 hour swim in water 61 degrees or colder without a wetsuit.
My 6 hour qualifying swim seemed almost effortless. Piloted by Neal and Rafe, I swam all over the Bay. It was glorious. The sun was shining and the boys kept me entertained while I swam. At one point during the swim I swam past AT+T Park.
All of a sudden Rafe and Neal’s phones starting going crazy. The SF Giants were playing at AT&T Park and somehow I ended up on the Jumbo Tron, and broadcast live, nationwide, on ESPN. All our friends from the Dolphin Club and South End Rowing Club were calling and texting to say they had just seen me swimming on TV. AT&T Park is a long way from the swim clubs and it didn’t take long for everyone to figure out what I was doing. A 6 hour swim in the Bay means only one thing: a qualifying swim for a SOLO English Channel attempt.
My secret was out.
The next day I pulled the trigger and wired my deposit. I remember my hands shaking in front of the teller at Bank of America. It was a lot of money. But I knew either way that I would be embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. And what price could you put on THAT?