I was expecting to head over to Dover on Friday evening for my final training weekend (21st / 22nd July 2012).
I was booked as the number 1 slot on the neap tide from 26th -31st July, and was hoping to use the last weekend for short swims and to get lots of advice and tips from those on the beach.
However, I had been keeping an eye on the weather forecasts and had an inkling on Thursday (19th) that the weather was improving and the swim might be brought forward. I thought I would text Neil to ask him what the position was. As I was texting Neil to ask him, my phone buzzed and it was a text from himl telling me to prepare for a possible swim at the weekend or early the following week. Gulp! Talk about ESP!!
I therefore changed my arrangements and went down to Dover on the Saturday afternoon to stay for a few days to rest before my swim. As I was unpacking at the guest house, I got another text from Neil to ask if early Monday morning was OK!
Wow, it was all happening so quickly! I barely slept at all and went down to the beach on the Sunday morning to speak to Freda about my swim.
The mood on the beach was very very sombre. Kevin Murphy broke the devastating news to us that, in the early hours of Sunday morning, a gentleman called Paraic Casey from Sandycove, Cork had passed away during the final mile of his Channel swim attempt. I do not know the details and would not wish to pry, but everyone on the beach was extremely sad to hear this news. We held a minutes silence on the beach as a mark of respect.
My thoughts go out to the family and friends of Paraic. I had never met Paraic, but he sounds like a fantastic man and a huge loss to the open water swimming community. He was one of us, a fellow swimmer wanting to achieve their own personal dream to swim the English Channel. Everyone on the beach could understand the dream that he held.
Rest in Peace Paraic.