The latest member to join the PaceUp team, PR Manager Ben is a former international swimmer turned sports PR man. Ben brings a wealth of experience from across mainstream sports as well as his native discipline, while also welcoming the PaceUp appetite for a challenge. Ben speaks of his biggest adventure for 2019 – swimming 24km in 48-hours in Croatia this October.

Swimming 24km in 48-hours

The latest member to join the PaceUp team, PR Manager Ben is a former international swimmer turned sports PR man. Ben brings a wealth of experience from across mainstream sports as well as his native discipline, while also welcoming the PaceUp appetite for a challenge. Ben speaks of his biggest adventure for 2019 – swimming 24km in 48-hours in Croatia this October.

When I tell people I enjoy swimming long distances in open water, I always get the same reaction – why?

I started open water swimming when competing in triathlons a few years back (eight to be precise), but hadn’t really trained for it again until I was persuaded to enter the Great East Swim 10K this year I got the bug again and I’m not looking back. 

Having pool swum to international level, it comes easy to me. Though on the other hand open water swimming is an entirely different ball game. A tumble-turn and push off is a pool swimmer’s best friend, you don’t get that luxury in open water. This is what I found the hardest, my arms constantly moving, non stop. 

I’m not going to lie the 10km hurt, a lot. I didn’t really know what to expect, I didn’t have much of a plan apart from trying to get to half way without stopping to feed. I’d been told that once you got to 5K adrenaline would take you the rest of the way. This wasn’t the case for me, jelly babies got me the rest of the way. It wasn’t about finishing it in a certain time for me, it was just about completing it. I hadn’t swum this far in one go before, even in training. Having said that, I was over the moon with the time, completing the distance in a respectable 2 hours 36 mins, placing fourth overall. But now I needed a new challenge. 

24km in 48 hours, swimming from island to island in Croatia, go on then. 

This will be my toughest challenge yet. Luckily it’s broken down into four 6km swims, one in the morning and another in the afternoon as completing all that in one go is madness. This swim distance will be completely mind over matter, pace won’t matter at all as the group will be of varied ability. There are no stopwatches so timing is not an issue, the only issue might be sharks.
I’ve been slowly increasing my distances in training to make sure I can comfortably complete the distance of one session. I’ve also been trying to get in multiple sessions in a day. I haven’t been able to get two swims in a day yet but I’ve been able to swim in the morning and try to get a run in at some point to get my body used to being the double session. I’m not sure anything will be able to prepare me for the event but I can try!

This probably won’t be the hardest challenge I undertake as there are some crazy ideas on my bucket list, but for now, it is. I can’t wait. 24km in 48hours, bring it on. 

Find out more about the Croatian challenge on the event website here.

Ben currently works across INCUS Performance, Austin Cycles and the Rouleur Classic as well as business development within the team.