ConnectWise chief executive Arnie Bellini is a living testament to the adage "at first you don't succeed, try and try again." After more than two weeks of waiting for calm seas and good weather, Bellini succeeded yesterday to swim the 22-mile-wide English Channel.
Arnie Bellini (pictured), a resident of Tampa, Florida, waded into the relatively cold channel waters in Dover, England, a town famed for its alabaster bluffs, yesterday around 7am. He completed his crossing a little more than 16 hours later. He landed somewhere near Ambleteuse, France, a town on the outskirts of Calais.
A combination of current and drift took Bellini on a zigzag course that actually made the crossing longer than the direct line distance. He was flanked by a boat carrying his wife, Lauren Vassallo Bellini, and safety crew.
Social networks were tense with anticipation as Bellini approached his the French coast. Friends, well-wishers and partners were able to monitor his progress live on the Open Water Swimming Web site. When word came that he waded ashore on the European continent, the social world exploded with congratulatory messages.
Bellini is just the 1,335th person to successfully swim the English Channel and the 45th person to make the crossing this year. He's also the 50th person over 50 years old to complete the swim.
The Open Water Web site asked the question: Which is more difficult: climbing Mount Everest or swimming the English Channel? Bellini responded, "Well, today my answer is the English Channel. Both are very cold. In one you get to wear whatever you want the ward off the numbing cold. In the other you are in a Speedo."
This was Bellini's second attempt at swimming the English Channel. He previously attempted a crossing last year, but had to abandon the swim just four miles short of the French coast because strong currents were dragging swimmers away from shore.
Bellini spent much of the last year training for this attempt. He dropped weight, adjusted his swimming techniques and built up his strength.
"I completely reinvented my stroke. I did a Tiger Woods, what I had was good, but not good enough. I reinvented my stroke with a new, controversial technique called Total Immersion. I lost the 20 pounds they told me to gain for insulation, and then took off another eight pounds to lighten the load across the Channel. I went at it just like a new start-up business," he told Channelnomics.
For more than two weeks Bellini waited in South East England for good weather and calm seas. His Facebook posts hinted at his eagerness to get back in the water and finish what he started last year. In one post, he quipped, he'll be eligible for British citizenship by the time he gets to swim.
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