‘Imagine swimming 1000 metres with one arm’
By Mark Ormrod MBE, REORG Trustee.
Imagine swimming with both of your legs tied together and your dominant hand tied behind your back. That’s what it’s like for me. So I am not really sure what possessed me to pledge to swim 1000 metres in rough, open water.
I used to be a very strong swimmer. You have to be when you’re in the Royal Marines. But then I stepped on a landmine back in 2007 and lost both my legs above the knee and my right arm above the elbow. As you can imagine, I lost a lot of my ability to propel myself through the water.
The first time I tried to swim was about three years after I was injured. I was on the naval base in Plymouth. One day when nobody was about I thought it would be a good idea to give swimming a crack.
I got into the shallow end of the pool and I remember thinking ‘this is going to be easy’. So I launched myself and started swimming. At first it was fine, I was making progress and got into the middle of the pool, but then I suddenly got tired, let out a breath and just started sinking.
I started panicking because the lifeguard wasn’t around and I didn’t think I could keep my head above water. But I managed to compose myself, get up as vertical as possible and taking little breaths I was able to make it to the side of the pool. I thought maybe swimming just wasn’t for me.
When I did eventually try again I managed to figure out my technique well enough to swim 100 metres and win a medal at the Invictus Games in 2017. But this swim is not only ten times as far, it’s in choppy open water off the coast, so it’s going to be really tough. So why am I doing it?
Well I just got through doing a 5km run and managed to raise more than £250,000 for REORG, which was amazing, I am so grateful for everyone who gave money, or just messages of support.
That run was tough, especially like I said before here, when I only really have my arse cheeks for power . If anything the swim’s going to be tougher. But it’s a really good cause, and also I love having challenges.
I haven’t started training properly, but I’m going to have my training partner Ben Wadham with me again, he managed to get me through the 5k run somehow, so I hope he’s going to work his magic with the swim as well. To support please head over to my JustGiving page. Wish us both luck, we’re going to need it.