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Ross Edgley’s DNF in Lake Trasimeno

A DNF (Did Not Finish) is the bane of all marathon and channel swimmers.

Sadly, there will be an official DNF assigned to the most recent marathon swim attempted by Ross Edgley in Italy’s Lake Trasimeno. The charismatic 38-year-old British author and aquatic adventurer attempted to set a Guinness World Record of the longest non-stop lake swim in history, aiming for over 170 km in a 22 km circuit in the shallow circular lake.

With the venerable Ger Kennedy and fellow extreme swimmer Thomas Kofler on his escort crew, Edgley was training for and planning on a 72+ hour swim as he rounded the circuit 8 or more times.

But it was not to be.

Edgley explained on his Instagram page, “What a swim. Lake Trasimeno, you were amazing, but unfortunately with this ‘Cerberus’ heave wave (to quote CNN news) expected to hit Italy this week, it meant temperatures threatened to reach a record 48°C in places and the water temperature at 33°C in parts which meant the swim had to be attempted under pretty brutal conditions. That said, we tried and the team were amazing, but the adventure was cut show around 70 km due to heat stroke and concerns of dehydration and kidney damage…it was a war of attrition with pure heroics from every member of the team.”

But while Edgley’s swim will be officially deemed a DNF, his efforts and those of his team are wonderful examples of the unofficial designation of DNF – Did Not Fail.

Certainly, he did not achieve his 170+ km distance, but even his description is filled with positivity, energy, appreciation, passion, dedication, and humility – the quintessential characteristics of great extreme athletes.

Edgley only briefly looked back at his disappointment, and remains steadfastly looking forward.

As he rehydrated and replenished his stores with Kennedy, Kofler, and crew, Edgley announced his latest audiobook – The Art of Resilience – that was released today. He describes the book, “It details the very best and worst times of the Great British Swim. It was emotional recording in certain places.”

He preceded that post with an additional release of his other new book – Blueprint – that explores ways to speed up his recovery so “I could go from the surgery table back to the sea as fast as possible. But along the way it turned into something so much more, which is why I’m hoping it equips every scholar athlete (Plato) with a 365-day training plan to condition their body (and mind) for any athletic adventure.”

Edgley put his body through some very difficult conditions this week. The photo above shows his macerated skin of his toes and feet – the natural wet wrinkling response that occurs when human skin is in contact with water for too long. That was just one of Edgley’s physiological challenges. But he took it all in stride. A long-time fan of Aristotle, he turned philosophical. “Aristotle said, ‘Eudaemonia is happiness with fulfillment. Happiness without fulfillment is failure. Happiness should come with suffering and sacrifice.”

With all his suffering and sacrifice that he endured this week, Edgley is one really happy guy after his DNF.

Yes, he did not finish his 170+ km swim, but he certainly Did Not Fail in the most profound sense of the term.

© 2023 Daily News of Open Water Swimming

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