Open Water Chicago: Mike Solberg – Swimming the English Channel for a Cause

Since you made it this far, here’s a bonus podcast! This has nothing to do with neuroscience – it’s a side project that I did for Open Water Chicago, my other big personal venture. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating look into what it takes to prepare for and swim the English Channel.

Below are the original show notes. Check it out – it’s quite an amazing story!


December 30, 2009

Fresh off of completing an Ironman distance triathlon, Mike Solberg decided to fulfill a goal 30 years in the making by swimming the English Channel in late 2009. But he also wanted to make it especially meaningful to a group of school children in Angola.

In this podcast, Mike and I talk about his amazing experience, and how the journey still continues despite him having completed this monumental accomplishment. Be sure to listen in as Mike gives his special insight into what it takes to swim the English Channel – and what it’s like to do it for a cause.

Key highlights:

(1:00) A 30-year dream in the making, and a chance to make a difference a world away

(5:20) Planning and preparing for a Channel crossing – financial costs, advance arrangements, scheduling

(11:05) Training and physical preparation leading up to the event – and an unexpected setback

(16:45) The swim start – the physical and mental experience of beginning the journey

(18:20) The Channel crossing – a strong start, encroaching fatigue, and a surprising second wind during a “hopeful slog”

(23:45) The swim finish – closing in on terra firma, the last 10 yards, and a landfall in France

(21:15) Epilogue – achievement, celebration, advice for other swimmers, and the continuation of the cause