We caught up with 5 time Olympic swimming champion, Haydan Tompkins, about his recent mission that he has just completed to virtually swim across Cook Straight in New Zealand. Actually Haydan has no interest in the Olympics, he’s just a regular guy like you or I who still managed to complete the impressive distance of 22.7km over 8 or so weeks. You can find his mission page here.
Q. What made you decide to start a mission?
A. I was just really keen to have something external to work towards. Getting caught up with measuring success just by looking at the scales was getting boring. Doing exercise for the sake of doing exercise is also really boring so having a goal that made me feel like I was working towards something helped me a lot.
Q. Did anything surprise you on your mission?
A. Lots actually. For example, instead of just doing my usual distance and than getting out of the pool, I found myself getting near the end of my session and thinking that I should swim a few more lengths to get ahead on my mission. I’ve never really had that motivation to do extra before! Some days I swam 10-20% further than I would have normally. As I approached the end of the mission I had a real sense of drive to complete it and smashed out some additional sessions. That was really surprising for me!
Q. What advice would you give people who are thinking about starting a mission?
A. I think the biggest thing would be not to bite off more than you can chew. Do a mission that you know you can actually do in the time frame. Some people seem to be doing ridiculous missions that will take them 20 years to complete. Start off with something small, like 2-3 months and stick with it.
Q. Overall, what results did you see?
A. I lost about 6kg during my mission. It was so good not to just be focusing on the weight though. I also proved to myself that I can stick to a regular exercise routine if I have an interesting goal in place
Q. Where to next?
A. I’ve got two other missions on the go. One is swimming from Tahiti to Moorea and the other one is a really short mission to bike to the gym, which I have just completed.