Here’s a blog on my swim from the sports psychologists at K2: http://planetk2.com/blog/2016/06/achieving-more-than-you-thought-and-more-than-you-thought-possible/
My write up of the big swlm:
We had to wait a few days for the right weather conditions but then we finally got the go ahead from our ACNEG support team. I kept calm on the morning of the swim, remembering why I was doing it, why I knew I could complete it and my psychological plan. My brother Adam and my parents kept my spirits up. The two support boats finally set off to leave Tarifa harbour, chugging slowly to the start point. The waves looked big! I jumped in – it was 17c but felt colder and I immediately saw a shoal of fish at the bottom of the sea. I swam to the start point and a loud whistle was blown to signify the start of my swim.
The start was tricky – the waves were high but I tried to keep a steady pace and relax. I couldn’t see much and had to look up every few strokes to make sure I was following the main boat ahead of me. The sun was very bright and it was difficult to get my head above the waves. I looked back to see how far out to sea I had swum and wondered if the whole swim would be this challenging or if the waves would start to calm down.
After an hour, we started to see some big ships pass close by, which is not surprising given that it is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. I was glad we had some expert guides to help us get across safely. The crew, my parents and Adam also saw some dolphins and had a very close encounter with some pilot whales. I tried desperately to see them too but struggled to see where they were surfacing.
At the halfway point, Adam told me I had swum for 1 hour 45 mins. This was far quicker than I expected but I knew that the Moroccan tides would be tough to swim through. I ploughed on and focused on my breathing and the strength of my arm pull. I tried to sing Oasis and Coldplay songs but couldn’t get a Justin Bieber song out of my head!
On my fifth feed, Adam told me that the tides were getting very strong but that I had less than 3km to go. I couldn’t believe it and asked him to repeat it. I was going much, much quicker than I had expected. I was working hard but the currents must have been kind to me. I adjusted my stroke to sprint, with a breath every 4 strokes to my left. I could see that Morocco was getting closer. The dinghy boat moved beside me and the guide pointed me to some rocks. I increased my speed, feeling emotional that I was finally going to achieve my goal – all of the early morning training, the sprint sessions and the long swims were finally paying off.
I touched Moroccan land at Punto Cires in a time of 3 hours, 5 minutes. I was ecstatic!
Happy to confirm that we achieved my ambition to swim from Europe to Africa on Wednesday. The sea was choppy but the tides were kind to us and despite preparing for a 5 hour swim we did it in 3 hours 5 minutes. We had some big ships, whales and dolphins for company. Massive thanks to everyone who helped me, but especially Team Boon – my amazing wife Lisa Boon and girls who supported my crazy adventure, my Mum and Dad, Adam Boon who supported me from the boat, Zoey Boon Maxim Boon and Toby Boon who were cheering from afar. The Spanish crew, K2, Ashley Shaw and Jez Robinson were also a huge help. Thanks to all my sponsors – we have raised £4000 for Scope, Lessons for life and Big Change.