Pi­lot fi­nally lands in France

Multisport Mecca - - News - Grant Ed­wards

FOUR hours into the epic 32km English Chan­nel swim was Peter Schultz’s pri­mary hur­dle.

Strug­gling to uri­nate, the pain was get­ting to the point where he knew it could de­rail his year-long ef­fort to con­quer the iconic swim.

“I don’t know why that was hap­pen­ing but it was and it was get­ting painful to the point where I knew that if the is­sue wasn’t sorted the swim could be over whether I liked it or not,” he said.

“I didn’t feel neg­a­tive about it but more how am I go­ing to sort this out.

“At one of the feed stops I just floated and made my­self let go of all the worry, the ten­sion and what ifs, telling my­self that if I had to float here for half an hour till the job was done then so be it, it didn’t mat­ter about the time but the swim was over if I didn’t.

“That did the trick. I man­aged to get enough out to take the pain away then on the next feed I was given some very strong tea and from there we were back in busi­ness.”

Peter com­pleted the jour­ney in 11 hours and 55 min­utes.

Reach­ing the French sand ended a year-long fo­cus for the 52-year-old. He moved to Sydney from Caloun­dra to swim in colder wa­ter as part of his prepa­ra­tion.

With ex­cel­lent prepa­ra­tion un­der the guid­ance of Trent Grim­sey, Peter looked strong and de­ter­mined through­out the chal­lenge.

“I’ve done long swims in train­ing where it was men­tally quite easy and sim­i­larly ones where it was a bat­tle from start to fin­ish,” Peter said.

“The Chan­nel swim was a good one for me. There were cer­tainly dark times but I never once felt neg­a­tive or that the job was too great.”

Peter said apart from his health is­sue, the other great­est bat­tle was to­ward the end “when your body is hurt­ing and the coast just never seems to get any closer”.

“We had swum into dark­ness hav­ing started from Dover at mid­day,” he said.

“It was a very black night, there was no point look­ing for­ward as, be­cause of the cur­rents, where you were look­ing bore no re­la­tion to where you were go­ing or where you would even­tu­ally hit the beach that you couldn’t see any­way – just lights from the towns.

“Your mind wants to go to neg­a­tive places, you’ve got to shut that down straight away. Put those thoughts out of your head and keep swim­ming. ‘It’ll be over when it’s over’ I kept telling my­self, ‘swim from feed to feed and don’t think any more than that’. ‘Re­lax, stay pos­i­tive, you’ll get there’.”

Now back at work be­hind the con­trols of Qan­tas air­craft, the pi­lot said there were two pieces of ad­vice which were true: “It is the long­est swim of your life fol­lowed by the hard­est swim of your life”, as well as “It’s 90% men­tal, the rest is in your head”.

With such as feat, there were a lot of peo­ple to thank.

Peter paid trib­ute to Toby Coote from SCTA, his first real swim coach, along with Trent for his pro­grams and all the open wa­ter swim­mers he has met along the way.

He also en­joyed some hard work un­der the guid­ance of Vlad Swim head coach Vlad Mravec in Sydney. Tim Denyer from Red Top Swim in the UK was Peter’s man­ager on the day and in all things lead­ing up to the swim, while the team of Reg and Ray Brick­ell from sup­port ves­sel Vik­ing Princess “are sec­ond to none if you want a suc­cess­ful swim”.

Nutri­tion­ist Tara Diversi guided him with weight gain and swim feed­ing, while there were also many won­der­ful friends on the Sun­shine Coast and in Manly that sup­ported and en­cour­aged him along the way.

“There is no over­stat­ing how im­por­tant that friend­ship and fam­ily sup­port is,” he said.

“But most es­pe­cially Sara Whitelaw who put up with so much sh*t from me along the way and then still trav­elled all the way over there to put up with more on the day it­self.”

Peter has no plans for his next chal­lenge, “still too early to say”.

PHO­TOS: SARA WHITELAW

Peter Schultz pre­pares for the Chan­nel.

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