Nick Martin (OX 1981) swims the English Channel
Monday, 26 September 2022
BET YOU HAVEN'T
Over your journey at Burke Hall, then the Big School and afterwards you had your fair share of ups and downs on the school and international stage. Let's get the goss when you played for XC Under 16 D's, what age were you really?
I was doing my HSC, so that would have made me 17 years old. (Mr) Tony Hennessy was the coach and we had a good rapport. He was short on players, so desperate times means desperate measures.
Surf swimming was more your go, you joined Portsea Surf Life Saving Club being active on patrol, competing at carnivals culminating with Life Membership, Portsea SLSC. Did it ever dawn on you that one day you could swim across the English Channel - tell 'em they're dreamin'?
Surf carnivals, surf swimming and open water swimming are far more interesting than doing laps in a swimming pool. In the ocean there’s the wind, the sun, the saltwater, the surf and all sorts of sea life to energise you. In the pool you’ve got the black line, lane ropes and old band aids on the floor.
The Channel Crossing became an obsession and training began, you were a man on a mission, tell us how and why you chose a bayside charity to be beneficiary of monies raised as a result of the mammoth swim?
The Portsea Camp (formerly the Lord Mayors Camp) started 70 years ago and makes a real difference to kids. Kids come from all over Victoria to participate in Camp programs. Many of them are socially isolated, under-privileged, have experienced trauma associated with family violence, abuse, or neglect. Some of them are challenged by their physical fitness, limited friendships and social experiences. Swimming the English Channel for the Portsea Camp gave my swim real purpose. And donors, which include many Old Xaverians, contributed over $130,000 to the Camp – pretty special to be part of that.
Did you encounter any odd ball flotilla objects, or curious marine life as you swam across the Channel?
As one of the busiest shipping channels in the world we saw some huge cargo ships. A couple of jellyfish let me know I was in their territory by stinging me in the face. My great mate Damien Honan was my support crew on the pilot boat and had the responsibility of keeping all large unfriendly fish well away.
Have you got another monster swim on your bucket list?
It’s been nice to have a couple of months off training to give the shoulders a rest and get back to a normal diet. Reflecting, it was a challenge, a real buzz and being part of a group to help the Camp is a huge honour. I’d like to find another challenge.
Despite your infamous game with XC U 16 D's you rarely miss supporting the OXFC where you served as a Committee member for many years.
Congratulations, Nick. OXA is proud of your achievements.