The Unforgiving60

S1E27- Sam Penny: English Channel Swimmer- ‘I didn’t come this far to only come this far’

September 19, 2019

Sam Penny is a father, cheesemonger, civil engineer and endurance athlete who is currently training to conduct a DOUBLE crossing of the English Channel.  Looking at his physical accomplishments – which in addition to Channel crossings, include the conduct of a Backyard Ultra running race and swimming a mile in ice water - you could be forgiven for thinking that he’s some kind of superhuman.  But, as we find out in this interview, Sam is a refreshingly normal guy who likes to set lofty goals and then work towards them - one step (or stroke!) at a time.

In this discussion, we find out how Sam does this, as well as how he deals with the physical and mental discomfort associated with endurance feats of this kind. We also learn about his greatest fear and how he overcomes this through a deliberate action plan, and ponder why the cheese is so good in Vanuatu.

Just count to 10!

Enjoy the show!


Intelligence Summary (INTSUM)

2:07            The excellence of cheese in Vanuatu

4:30            Sam’s early athletic career, including his triathlon days and the dangers of a life of complacency

7:30            How Sam got into swimming and ocean racing

9:20            Sam’s early fascination with swimming the English Channel

10:00          Preparation for the channel swim

13:00          How modern life breeds complacency and takes away our ability to dream

15:30          Sam discusses goal setting, both long- and short-term

17:45          What does a training program for a double English Channel crossing look like?

19:40          Shutting off your mind during long distance swimming

22:40          “I didn’t come this far only to come this far”- Tom Brady

23:40          Last One Standing – Sam does a Backyard Ultra

29:30          The mental barrier of crossing the channel and how Sam overcame this

31:10          Ben asks the big questions – in a double crossing, is it compulsory to tumble-turn at France?!

33:25          Sam talks his goal time for the double crossing

35:32          How do you rest when swimming for the best part of a full day?

38:30          Chats from the Chest Fridge – why Sam sits in a converted freezer full of ice water

41:30          Controlling breathing in ice-cold water

43:07          The Ice Mile – the most stupid thing Sam has ever done

52:07          Sam talks heart rate – and reveals his very impressive resting heart rate!

55:30          Sam’s shark attack action plan

1:00:30       Sam’s definition of happiness





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