To most, the English Channel is the body of water that separates Southern England and Northern France. To A3 Performer Craig Frederiksen, the English Channel is the challenge of a lifetime. Moline, IL native and longtime swimmer, Frederiksen has his heart set on what he believes will be the pinnacle achievement of his swimming career – swimming 32 kilometers (or 21 miles) across the English Channel at the end of August 2017. Growing up, Frederiksen swam for Moline Blue Marlins and Moline High School. After high school, he went on to swim for Lincoln College (two years) and Western Illinois University (two years). Since graduating in 2008, Frederiksen has found himself unable to stay away from the pool. Currently a full-time employee with John Deere, a husband, and a father of two , Frederiksen fuels his passion for the water as the Head Swim Coach at Moline High School, a US Masters Swimmer, and an Open Water swimmer. Despite being a lifelong swimmer, a collegiate athlete, and even a national champion at the 2017 USMS Marathon Distance Open Water Championships, Frederiksen wanted more out of his swimming career,
"I really started to dwell on the fact that my swimming career never really had any goals, records, or crowning achievements. It was more or less an experience that I survived rather than thrived. I am proud of my swimming career but I feel in the end my measure of success will really only be subjective...I decided that I needed to have a goal set or some reason to train."
In July of 2015, Frederiksen made the commitment to the English Channel. After two months of being more intentional with his training, he received confirmation that he was on the schedule to swim the Channel in August of 2017. Frederiksen shifted his mindset and started entering open water competitions, including the Big Shoulders 5K in Chicago where he finished second overall. With great success right off the bat, Frederiksen got his final confirmation and a little extra motivation to tackle one of the hardest swims ever. This shift in his mindset carried over to other aspects of life, particularly coaching,
"The kids I coach seem really engaged in this challenge I am taking on and perhaps my coaching career will get the most mileage out of this experience...I have gained so much more knowledge and experience during this English Channel crossing preparation. I will always be able to leverage these lessons I have learned over the last two years throughout my coaching/swimming career."
What started as a fantasy in the back of his mind is now a reality. With the support of his family, his swimmers, and his crossing support crew, Frederiksen has goals to cross the Channel in under 12 hours. Frederiksen is on track to reach his "crowning achievement" as a swimmer.
"I decided to do this to reach my full potential as a swimmer, coach, husband, and father."
With two solid months of training left, it's crunch time for Frederiksen. Follow Frederiksen's training and the big swim at the end of August here:
*The Channel crossing will take place on or around August 28th. Swimmers are given a window of time and guaranteed to be on the water during that week, depending on weather conditions. Follow A3 Performance on social media and Craig Frederiksen on his individual accounts to track his progress and see his success on crossing day!