Next up: The White Horse Pub on St. James Street in Dover, where aspiring Channel swimmers meet and dream of one day adding their name to the wall or ceiling. It's a popular hangout for swimmers to meet and celebrate their successful swims. I waited to find the White Horse, until I accomplished my mission. When my crew and I walked in, we immediately split up into several directions, each walking towards a wall signature that caught our attention. Wow, I thought, look at the history here. I found names I recognized from my research and reading and took a photo of where a fellow Michigander, Brian Burke, signed his name in history. Then I noticed his time: 11h 30 min. I swam it in 11h 31 min. My heart stopped. My swim was over and I was still being competitive!
I shared a pint of summer ale with Lynn and Noah tried a dark ale. We had a great time, swapping stories with other swimmers who came to celebrate, namely Stuart Johnson and his wife, and Roger Finch and his crew. I wandered around and we snapped photos of the wall while I was locating the perfect place for my signature. I found it, right before you step into the back room, on the ceiling. First, I sketched out what I wanted to create on the wall, on a postcard. Noah grabbed a pencil and outlined the large old English D, for the Detroit Tigers, in pencil. Then I took my permanent black Sharpie and started to fill in the details of Saturday's swim. Please check out our photos above.
I filled in the top with my name, the bottom with my time (11:31:07) and date, and the side with Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. The cook was ill, so we just had the celebration drink, a few crackers, and then walked to lunch in Dover. We had a sit-down lunch and walked to the Dover Museum, hoping to walk around. The museum had closed 11 minutes before we arrived, so instead, we walked around the town. We made a late night dinner at the house. I was overwhelmed and very emotional reading the amount of e-mails and Facebook posts from friends, family, and people whom I had never met who wanted to offer their well wishes. Thank you for sharing this celebration with me. By the way, a shout out to my terrific massage therapist and friend, Jeff Kong, of Novi's Tri-Covery Massage and Fitness, for the awesome black jacket that says "English Channel 2011 Swim" that I proudly wore all day, while my face was beaming with excitement.