George Cselko, Swimmer. Secretary of the Serpentine Swimming Club, London.
On the impact of Swimming…
“Swimming has a magical quality to it. It makes you feel happier - emotionally, spiritually.
It’s a form of meditation, and it’s impact is even more powerful (and somewhat surreal) when swimming in the dark.
It’s pushing yourself to your limits once a day. As soon as I get out of the water, while I’m still cold, I’ll then do 40 press ups, then hold a plank. I’m right on my limit then. It’s such a good discipline to test your limits so regularly.”
On his cross channel swim...
“After swimming for 15 hours non stop, from sunrise to sunset I was just 4km but 5-6 hours from completing my cross channel swim (from Britain to France), when the support crew from the boat called time and decided it was too dangerous for my health to carry on... The whole experience demonstrated that there are no limits. I’m quite cool to be in that club that hasn’t made it, and so happy to have had the experience
My 3 daughters were part of a relay team from their school that completed the cross channel swim, an achievement that fills me with pride - and served to inspire me throughout my own swim. It was thinking of their achievement and bravery (to swim despite their fear of being in deep water) that helped me focus each hour throughout my swim.
The experience served to emphasise that in sport and life as a whole, the magic is in the journey, and to not get so obsessed with reaching the end. It’s made me question my own limits with everything I look to achieve in life. I’m currently writing a book - a challenge I now know without any doubt I can accomplish.”
On swimming in ice cold water during the winter…
“It’s divine intervention that the water freezes when it does… as we’d carry on otherwise and do ourselves harm. As it is, at near to zero temperatures it can feel like your wrists and ankles are starting to dislocate.
When you get out of the water, there’s a little ‘honeymoon period’, where you feel a million dollars and don’t feel the cold. When the cold hits you, you need to have got plenty of clothes on and a cup of hot tea in your hands. And there is always someone ready to make your tea at our wonderful club.”
From Duncan: The was such a special and inspiring conversation for me, and I’m thrilled to share this and much more from George.
When I started this project, the motivation came not simply from my love of sport and sports photography - but moreover the inspiration I’ve always felt from what sport embodies, and the character traits of it’s heroes. The determination, courage, perseverance - and the endless tales of self imposed limits being surpassed. The seemingly impossible being proved possible. Again and again.
We are always capable of so much more than we think.