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Phenomenological interview methods were used to examine the experiences of thirteen channel swimmers (nine males and four females) with an average age of 41.08 years (SD = 10.05). All participants successfully completed an official channel crossing of 20 or more miles within the past 2 years. Analyses of the interview transcripts yielded 2,028 meaning units that were grouped into subthemes, themes, and major dimensions (e.g., Patton, 2002). The final thematic structure consisted of three major dimensions that chronicled the swimmers’ experiences including: before my channel swim, during my channel swim, and after my channel swim. This manuscript specifically focuses on the themes from within the dimension of during my channel swim, which includes the swimmers’ environmental, physical, social, and psychological experiences during the swim itself as well as the coping mechanisms that they used to succeed.
The authors are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton, CA.