A talk by Sri Chinmoy in China, 2005, to his students who were preparing to cross the English Channel.
My request to the English Channel swimmers is to work on speed, speed, speed. I advise all my disciple swimmers to do speedwork. The less time you can remain in the water, the better.
Speedwork gives stamina. Stamina does not mean only to swim long distance. There is another type of stamina. When you do speedwork again and again, that speedwork itself gives you stamina.
Some people think that if you run ten miles you will get stamina. That is one theory. Another theory is that if you run 100 metres again and again and again, it is very good for stamina. Our famous champion Emil Zatopek ran 400 metres again and again and again. Then he performed miracles in long distance. With 400 metres he did speedwork.
So many people who attempted to cross the Channel gave me the message, “The tide changed.” Why did they allow the tide to change? Before the tide changed they could have gone across.
Speedwork is very, very necessary. If you can concentrate on speedwork — even if you do only six miles, not ten miles — that will help you tremendously.
A seventy-year-old man has swum the Channel. I lifted him on the 13th of November. He was very moved, and he stayed at our function for a long time, because he appreciated being in the company of such spiritual people. He said that was what he needed.
Sri Chinmoy lifted George Brunstad and his wife, Judy, during his 13 November 2004 weightlifting celebration, “The Body’s Fitness-Gong, the Soul’s Fulness-Song.” In August of that year, at age 70, Mr. Brunstad became the oldest person to swim the English Channel.