Nicola’s English Channel Swim – Unfinished Business!
Swimming Against The Tide – Fundraising for Mari Lewis
If you would like to make a donation to support Nicola’s English Channel Swim fundraiser, please click here:
There is no such thing as failure, it’s just unfinished business!
Nicola has always been a strong advocate of Growth Mindset and actively promotes the meaning of resilience and bouncing back from ‘failure’ in order to inspire and encourage children, young people and adults alike to overcome obstacles to achieve their goals.
The English Channel Swim is a minimum of 21 miles (32 kilometres) but this distance can increase depending on currents, weather and other factors. According to research by Dover UK, only around 1,800 people have successfully completed a solo English Channel Swim – with only 36% of those being female. The first person to complete an English Channel Swim was Captain Matthew Webb in 1875, taking 21 hours and 45 minutes whilst the youngest person was Tom Gregory (11 year old boy) and the eldest person was 70 (and 9 months) year old Cyril Balldock.
For those of you who don’t already know the story, Nicola taught herself front crawl in 2011 at the age of 37 after being inspired by other swimmers effortlessly gliding through the water in her local pool. This inspiration coupled with her own personal bucket list ambition of completing the English Channel Swim grew her determination to achieve her goal. In 2016 opportunity knocked when Nicola and her close colleague were presented with the chance to complete an English Channel Swim in a two person relay, however, only a few weeks into training Nicola hit her first obstacle when her colleague decided the danger of the English Channel Swim was too overwhelming and out of fear for her safety, decided to withdraw from the swim.
Although wary of the potential danger, Nicola was delivered further inspiration and determination from Professor Carol Dweck’s conference speech in Cardiff. This final piece of inspiration exhilarated Nicola and spurred her to stretch and develop her own mindset in order to inspire and encourage others. To do this, Nicola knew she needed to fully understand the concept of Growth Mindset, overcoming obstacles and persevering to achieve her goal by completing her own Growth Mindset journey – a solo English Channel Swim. Nicola henceforth began her rigorous training for her challenge and decided to donate her swim sponsorship to MIND.
In July 2017, less than a month before her swim, Nicola published these words on her Facebook page, “…the journey has been incredible! I have faced struggle, disappointment and many challenges both emotionally and physically. I can certainly say that the past year has taken my understanding of growth mindsets to a different level and I feel very ‘stretched’.”
In August 2017, Nicola made her first solo English Channel Swim attempt, but after an exhausting 14 ½ hours relentlessly swimming, Nicola was grounded in a merciless current and was pulled out of the water only a few miles from the French coast. Disappointed she had ‘failed’ her first English Channel Swim attempt, she felt exhausted and defeated, but the Captain’s words have continuously stayed with her and spurred her to re-train for a second attempt. He said to her; “You haven’t failed, it’s just unfinished business”.
Nicola is proud of her ‘F.A.I.L’ and sees her previous English Channel Swim attempt as a ‘First Attempt In Learning’. She has bounced back from her first attempt and has recently started her arduous task of retraining and hopes her own Growth Mindset journey will inspire others to enhance their own mindset. Nicola was further motivated to complete a second English Channel Swim attempt after becoming inspired by little Mari’s story and battle with WAGR syndrome. From this, Nicola decided to propel her efforts into raising money to help aid Mari’s learning and is hoping to raise £2,800 to buy Mari an Optilec Traveller HD.
WAGR Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that often incurs Wilms Tumour (a rare form of kidney cancer), Anirida (a serious visual impairment), congenital anomalies and intellectual disabilities (sometimes including autism, OCD and ADHD) which affects processing, learning, responses to information, communication and social interactions. Mari is the only person in Wales known to have the condition.
From the very beginning life has been difficult for Mari and in her short life she has already had a total of 11 surgeries. At only 12 days old, Mari was rushed to hospital and operated on for intestine malrotation and only a few days before her first birthday, her parents received the devastating news that she had been diagnosed with Wilms Tumour. Mari’s treatment entailed a year of chemotherapy and multiple surgeries to remove tumours from her kidneys. Mari also later had eye surgery and is registered blind, but she can see very large print very close up. An Optilec Traveller HD is a fantastic device that will enable Mari to enlarge books and other resources to a size she can read.
Mari is an amazing, loving, caring and affectionate child who charms everyone she meets and has an immensely positive outlook on life despite still being so young. She is a really happy, tough and determined child that doesn’t complain about anything and doesn’t give up easily! Despite her poor vision she also enjoys swimming, crafts, and dancing just like any other child. She attends Llandwrog Primary School and loves it there! She also has additional support and learning aids in school to aid her learning and is even learning Braille.
In her short life she has already been through so much and Nicola’s English Channel Swim is hoping to raise the funds needed to buy little Mari an Optilec Traveller HD as she loves reading and loves learning, however these cost £2800 to buy. Any donation, big or small will help raise these funds to meet this goal. Please help in any way possible whether it’s sharing Nicola and Mari’s story, following Nicola’s journey or making a donation.
Please follow Nicola’s journey on:
LinkedIn: Nicola S Morgan
Youtube: NSM Training & Consultancy
If you would like to make a donation, please click here:
Thank you all so much!
Click here to watch Nicola’s Swim Video: