Swim22: Nous sommes arrivés!

Oui, it’s true (sort of). Not quite clambering up onto the beaches of Calais, but the combined efforts of Esther (9), Martha (7), Mishkin (5, a negligible contributor who would’t even wear his Swim22 hat), Dad and Mum (age undisclosed), we have completed our 22 miles, 1,416 lengths of swimming and our fundraising target of £1000. Much as I would like to claim all of the glory, Swim22 hats off to my wife and daughters who really took this to heart while Dad, if he’s honest, didn’t quite keep up with them on the mileage. But to coin a painful cliche, there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’.

So what have I discovered on our journey? That initial enthusiasm, whether you are starting out swimming, joining a gym or a fitness class, isn’t a walk in the park to maintain. We were sustained by the importance of the cause and my family’s innate competitiveness – the girls wanted to beat each other every time.

Mishkin, Esther and Martha
Mishkin, Esther and Martha

But it’s easy to see how ‘life’ can get in the way. A big meeting the next day, an early morning report to write, some extremely minor crisis at home… I have all the excuses, but you also need determination and commitment, especially if you are flying solo without buddies to egg you on/get you out of bed/make you go. Doing it together helps with all that so my tip – team up with someone, make it social, it’s easier to do and harder to avoid if others are involved. I also discovered that waterproof headphones aren’t always waterproof and some music is better to swim to than others – Anarchy in the UK maybe not, something more rhythmic, and less angry, works a lot better.

More challenging than the actual swimming was the fundraising. Yes, we doorstepped friends in the playground, refused to serve at dinner parties until guests had sponsored us, and guilt-tripped all available grandparents, godparents and family friends, but it was quite hard to get people to go online and actually do it. What was amazing was the surprising people who pitched in, and much as I dislike Facebook in many ways, it was the dreaded Zuckerberg monster that encouraged all sorts of people to help out – from long lost school friends to exiled friends in India to teachers at my kids’ school (including one who is living with Type 1) and some people I am not even sure we know. Here at Diabetes UK, it was everyone who forked out for cakes and G&Ts as we stalked the office with our confectionary trolley. A huge thanks to everyone and roll on next year!

The swimming might officially have finished but fundraising hasn’t. If you have a few quid to fire at a good cause, there is still time: Justgiving – The Buglione Family Swims the Channel

Lengths completed: 1,416 (and a few extras)
Money raised: £1,018 (target £1,000)
Current swimming playlist: damp, muffled indeterminate mumblings due to under-functioning headphones (see above)

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