Dorking man vows never to swim the Channel again after charity mission
A SWIMMER completed a solo mission across the English Channel in memory of a friend who died of motor neurone disease.
Peter Taylor, of Tower Hill, Dorking, swam the 21-mile stretch from Dover to Calais in 13 hours and 24 minutes.
Mr Taylor, 41, raised more than £4,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, in memory of his university friend Ben Bird, who died at the age of 38 in 2010.
"I was probably over-confident after my preparation, thinking that I would be able to do it easily," Mr Taylor said.
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"I had been training for up to seven hours at a time through most of the summer, but I had never gone for more than that.
"People talk about hitting the wall, and that caused me mental and physical pain. It made me doubt my ability to finish and all I could think about was getting out of the water.
"I could see France, but it was only a little speck on the horizon and every time I turned around I could see the white cliffs of Dover."
After arguing with his support crew, who would not let him stop, Mr Taylor finally reached dry land at about 5pm.
He spent the next two hours getting his body temperature back to normal before reflecting on his achievement.
"The last 100 metres before I hit the rocks were the slowest 100 metres I have ever done," he said.
"I expected some form of enjoyment but I didn't really get that, just relief.
"I am absolutely never ever going to do anything like that ever again.
"The pain and the cold were so severe."
Mr Taylor is a former member of Dorking Swimming Club, but said nothing could prepare him for the gruelling nature of the Channel swim, which he completed on October 10.
"I have been a swimmer for years, and when you swim a length in the pool you finish and think 'my lungs hurt and my arms hurt'," he said.
"But that is kindergarten stuff compared to what these endurance swimmers go through. I had no idea, but now I know."
For more details, or to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/peter-taylor10