‘It’s all about getting out of our comfort zone for charity”

Content Team 2 years ago
‘It’s all about getting out of our comfort zone for charity”

Industry heavyweights David Flynn and Giles Lucas will swim across the Gozo Channel for charity on Saturday 16. Ramona Depares finds out more.

It 6AM and it’s pouring, with a good chance of flash-floods, a typical storm in Malta. I’m drinking coffee in bed, and thinking about the two gentlemen I’m about to interview later on that morning – David Flynn and Giles Lucas, knowing that they have already started their morning swimming session.

Readers are likely to know David and Giles as CEO at Glitnor Group and CCO at Kalamba Games respectively, rather than for their athletic prowess. But for these two iGaming leaders, 6AM twice-weekly training sessions have become the norm since January, ever since they decided to swim from Gozo to Malta for charity in fact. 

I’m always inspired by such people, mostly because I know that you will only get me in the cold autumn water at 6AM only if you drag me kicking and screaming from bed, gun to my head.

Their decision to undertake this challenge becomes even more impressive upon hearing that none of them were quite into swimming before this. Giles was more of a runner – he decided to take up swimming, which he claims to have “absolutely hated” before, after a knee injury stopped his training.

And then he dragged David into the whole thing, which is what friends are for, of course.

“I figured that swimming was a good option to keep fit, given my injury. This was back in February, in the dead of winter, so yeah – I figured I need to a good friend to share the, ahem, fun.”

Said good friend was not exactly amused at first, but soon both of them started seeing a definite improvement both in fitness levels and stamina. David tells me that he wasn’t a good swimmer either, before this.

“Cycling twice around Malta? No problem. But swimming was totally new – and I had the arm strength to prove this. It was tough at first, but sharing a common goal with a friend, having a bit of a challenge… keeps you motivated. There were days when I almost decided not to show up for training, but then I’d remember that Giles was probably already there waiting,” David says with a laugh.

Facing the challenge

And now, a mere eight months down the line, the two are ready to face the biggest challenge – crossing the Malta-Gozo channel in aid of Prostate Cancer Research and Embrace Diversity, an organisation that supports children and young people with different abilities.

Amazing progress for the two, who say that they couldn’t even last an hour in the water when they first started training. So, how did this come about?

“Well, when we saw how well things were going we decided to turn up the heat a notch or two, give ourselves a proper challenge. So we signed up for a planned event for a Malta/Gozo swim because, why not?”

As it turned out, the event was cancelled – but this didn’t stop David or Giles. At the time, Giles was spending time helping out the recent Neil Agius swim, helping out on one of the support boats.

“It was a great experience, extremely inspiring, and it made us thinking – how about doing the crossing anyway, not as part of any event? We started figuring out what was needed, we got the necessary permits from the authorities and before we knew it, it was full steam ahead,” Giles says.

The two teamed up with Isaac Borg, who will be in charge of the security boat accompanying them, and whose knowledge of swimming conditions around the channel turned out to be invaluable. Suddenly, it all became very real again.

“This is a far cry from the training we’ve had so far of course. We’ve done three three-month stints training with Neptunes, and so far the longest we’ve swam is 5kms in good conditions,” David says.

But Giles chimes in immediately, saying that he has no doubt that they’ll manage. I get the impression that, between the two, David tends to be the voice of reason. Giles, on the other hand, brings a bit of the devil-may-care approach.

“Well, we got our friends and family giving us their full support, and two very valid organisations counting on us, so it does spur you on to succeed. We only launched the campaign last week and we already collected E2,500, which is amazing,” he adds.

And, apart from the charity aspect, both emphasize the importance of raising awareness about staying fit, especially of looking after your immune system during a global pandemic.

“We’re both leaders in our industry, so it’s good to set an example. If this encourages people to get moving, that’s great,” they tell me.

The swim is set for Saturday October 16, when the two will leave Hondoq Bay at 7AM, swimming towards Ramla, on to the Eastern side of Comino and then on to Malta. The reality of the challenge is now setting in, as the two plan to take it easy in the days leading up to the challenge – and to carb up, of course.

“Well, one thing’s for sure. We’re going to need a new challenge after this,” they conclude, laughing.

If you wish to donate to David’s and Giles’s causes, please click here.

Next up: Malta Week

Don’t miss out on amazing networking opportunities and exclusive industry insights at Malta Week. Four leading shows will bring the best of the business back-to-back to a first-class meeting point. Malta Week will consist of SiGMAAIBCMed-Tech World and AGS, each presenting the top developments of their focal industries.

The cross-collaboration of each brand makes Malta Week the number one destination for leading think-tanks of the gaming sector, emerging tech, digital health, and digital marketing. The middle of the Mediterranean is the perfect place for multi-faceted business deals and face-to-face conversations with leading affiliates, policymakers, and thought leaders.



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