One of the great things about the Sandycove group is actually that it raises one’s own expectations of oneself.
I reminded of that when I saw a quotation from Lewis Pugh on Twitter: “Don’t join an easy crowd. You won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform and achieve are high.” Jim Rohn.
That’s exactly what has happened in Sandycove. As new swimmers join the marathon club, whether Zurich, Gibraltar, Windermere, the English Channel or an eight-hour around the island, the indirect and direct pressure on other swimmers grow. Sometimes, when we know we have a likely candidate, the pressure is overt and consistent: “You should be signing up now!” Other times it grows in the person themselves, “if they can do it, so can I” or “I want to try that too”.
There are currently, at the start of 2012, 16 English Channel Soloists from the group;
Diarmuid O’Brien, Ned Denison, Imelda Hughes , Ray Terry, Danny Coholane, Finbarr Hedderman, Eddie Irwin, Niall O’ Crualaoich, Owen O’ Keeffe, Lisa Cummins (English Channel Two-Way), Sylvain Estadieu, Liam Maher, Jennifer Hurley, Donal Buckley, Ciáran Byrne, Gábor Mólnar.
Those swimmers have also completed many other distance swims in Ireland and elsewhere. Sandycove is a real name in marathon open water swimming, great for a small country that needs any confidence it can claim right now. 2012 will see that number jump significantly again. Also this year there will be MIMS swims, Windermere doubles, Rottnest, Zurich and other as yet unadvertised or private swims. The group’s influence spreads throughout the country and now even further.
Lewis is right. Joining or visiting a marathon group like Sandycove (or South London SC or the Serps group, Dover, CIBBOWS, La Jolla, Huntingdon/LA, San Francisco, Cape Town, Perth) will make you think about and question your own capabilities and make you push yourself beyond where you might previously not have even considered. It’s not even important that you live close to one, by an occasional visit to one of these groups you gain friends, support, expertise and experience and that all important drive to improve and push your limits.