Winter 2019

Yes, You Can Swim After Eating

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When Lauren Au, NG13, decided to swim twenty-one miles across the English Channel, she knew she needed to gain weight to insulate herself from the sixty-three-degree water. “I was trying to do it in a very healthy way,” she said, “but in the end, it was adding more desserts at night, having more snacks, much bigger portions—and having to be OK with that.” It took a year and a half to pack on ten pounds.

On the big day, July 20, 2018, Au’s crew handed her supplies from a boat—energy gels, pouches of baby food, bite-sized pieces of jam croissant, and, at about nine hours in, a stroopwafel cookie she softened with seawater—meant to replenish some of the roughly seven hundred calories she was burning every hour. After eleven hours and one minute of swimming, exhausted and sore from jellyfish stings, Au stepped onto a rock in France. She knew exactly how to celebrate. “I asked for my peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” she said. “I was starving.”

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