Jun 08, 2021

An Interview with Sir John Royden

Capital Orthopaedics sat down to discuss his upcoming challenge to swim 42 miles swimming across Lake Geneva and the training that has gone into it.

John Royden is a patient of ours who takes on the challenge to swim 42 miles swimming across Lake Geneva this summer for The Brain Tumour Charity. View his Justgiving page here, and our last article here. John brilliantly completed the mandatory Lake Geneva Qualifying swim last week, which included 10 hours of continual swimming on one day, and seven hours the next day.

On 25th June, John is hosting a breakfast swim in London Canary Wharf for sponsors and press. Ahead of the event, we are following up with him to see how his training has been going so far, and why having a skilled orthopaedic surgeon such as Simon Moyes on his team is so important for him.


John, your Lake Geneva charity swim is coming closer, and you’ve been preparing for it. It’s been very insightful to follow your training process on justgiving.com. For anyone who hasn’t seen those, what kind of training are you on to prepare for the 42 miles swimming across Lake Geneva? It sounds like a tough undertaking. It’s an exciting challenge!

John: During the lockdown periods, training was very difficult with no pools open and travel to suitable open water swimming spots very limited. During those months, I’ve had to be a bit inventive with my training methods; laying on a raised platform and using rubber tethers to replicate swimming motions with my arms, as well as tying myself to a tree and swimming ‘geospatially’ in the middle of a deep farm pond.

sir john royden

Now restrictions have lifted, I have been swimming for two hours each weekday evening in a local pool, and undertaking much longer, open water swims at weekends. I have joined the Channel swimmers for their cold water training sessions in Dover Harbour as well as using Lake 86 at Cotswold Water Park to swim laps for hours on end.

One of the rules of swimming Lake Geneva is that a ten-hour continuous swim on one day followed by a seven-hour continuous swim on the next must be completed to qualify.”

John brilliantly completed this just this week, so is all set to go to Lake Geneva.

You like extreme sports and have had quite a few accidents over the years. But you’ve been back on track pretty fast each time. Let us know more about the importance of having an orthopaedic surgeon such as Simon Moyes for you? Can you give us an example of how his expertise has helped you?

John: “Well, the arms and legs have to work properly. My address book is full of friends and family whose operations have not quite gone to plan, but luckily for me, Simon Moyes’ dextrous and nimble fingers did a great job on the repair work needed on my knee.

There are obviously lots of kicking involved with swimming and if my knees had to pass an MOT for the swim, they certainly would. I must also add that post-operation, my knees carried me over the Himalayas in 2007 and 2010 and that speaks absolute volumes of Simon Moyes’ expertise.”

Your Justgiving page is still open for donations and reached £233,851 (as of June 9th) with a 500k target that we are sure will be achieved. Can you let us know why you picked The Brain Tumour charity and your personal connection to it?

John: Tragically, my little sister Emma died of a brain tumour when she was just 32 years of age. Emma could be easily described as an angel. She was full of love and kindness for everybody and in turn, she was loved and adored by everybody; the high and mighty and the low and the poor. Nobody ever had a bad word to say about her.

There was very limited treatment available to her at the time and quite frankly little has changed in 17 years. She did have a brain operation but that just added three rather poor-quality months to her life. I have also been inspired by the loss of a friend and colleague, Geordie Kidston, and motivated to get a bit fitter, do something worthwhile and make a difference. Life is for living. 

Thanks, John. We wish you all the best with your undertaking.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/john_roydens_mad_swim/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MadRoydens

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