LAS, reality intrudes at some point
between childhood and adult-hood.
The advanced degree,
hundreds of hours as a jet pilot,
and rigorous physical require-ments
restrict the astronaut field to an elite
few. Would-be paleontologists lose interest in
dinosaurs somewhere along the way. Only the
most genetically gifted make a living playing
But Goodwin’s dream is alive and well.
About 35 years after learning that it’s possible
to swim from one county to another, she is set
to attempt an English Channel crossing this
“This is the realization of a dream,” she says.
“That’s very exciting.”
Goodwin is a swim and triathlon coach
based in Raleigh who does her open-water
training in Wrightsville Beach. Her Channel
swim is scheduled for the week of July 12-19.
Swimmers must register with one of two
certifying organizations and book a boat and
pilot to monitor the crossing. The boat captain
decides if conditions warrant an attempt. She
has the second slot in her week.
“After the first person goes, the next good
day will be my day,” she says.
The key word there is attempt. In the
world of endurance sports, the English
Channel swim ranks among the most diffi-cult
“One in five attempts make it,” Goodwin
The first person to make a crossing was
Royal Navy Capt. Matthew Webb in 1875.
Since then, about 14 a year have succeeded.
Of the 2,097 to make it, 37 percent have been
The width of the Channel between Dover
and Calais is almost 21 miles. To put that in
perspective, the “marathon” open-water swim
in the Olympics is 6.2 miles.
The distance, while daunting, is only part
of the challenge. There’s also the cold water,
potential for strong winds and high waves, and
an abundance of jellyfish, seaweed and flotsam.
Frequent training partners Burak Erdem (middle) and Michel Heijnen (right) walk with Laura Goodwin to the ocean on Jan. 9, 2022.
Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach locals have swum or paddled alongside the Raleigh resident over the years as she trained in the
waters around Wrightsville Beach.
36 april 2022