“Everyone Has A Plan Until You Get Punched In The Mouth!”

5k ocean swim 50by50 dominic byrne and tristan byrne

Mike Tyson was asked by a reporter whether he was worried about Evander Holyfield and his fight plan and Iron Mike’s speedy reply was; “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

On Sunday morning, I got punched in the mouth by the ocean, and wow did it bring me unstuck.

Over the last couple of months, in goal preparation, I’ve completed 17 ocean swims: (time and distance below)

My 17 training swims from bottom to top in order of distance

My battle plan was this:

1.) Conquer 500 meters (which was a challenge), then add a little distance to each consecutive swim. Work towards a metric of 2:24 per 100 Meters which is essentially 2.5 Km /hour.

2.) Find a pilot (my brother enthusiastically volunteered) to align with my game plan and set the pace and direction. The lead would swim draft me so I could comfortably achieve my goal of five kilometers in under two hours

3.) Put the above into a duo – practice run, a week before the event

4.) Fine-tune the plan if needed

Our practice run went “swimmingly!” We made some minor adjustments to some distance splits and amended our strategy for the start of the race. I was confident and good to go.

I owned this swim.

How the plan went:

It was already a miserable day, far from the tranquil sunny days of my recent enjoyable ocean swims. A storm cell whipped up as we were marshaling to enter the water. The onshore wind, tide, and current were traveling in the opposite direction to the way we were heading out and the ocean looked ugly.

This green highlighted line nearly ended my swim before it began…

The start gun sends your heart rate through the roof. The tussling bodies of dozens of other swimmers all compete for swimming space. The waves were breaking on my face every time I tried to take a breath. I was not only drinking copious amounts of dehydrating salty water, I was inhaling it.

My goggles were smacked down my face by the slapping of the unanticipated swell. Putting my goggles back on imperfectly with the seals not flush against my skin created leaks, all of the water was now on the wrong side of the lens. My eyes stung and I had poor visibility.

I just couldn’t get a breath.

I couldn’t settle.

I was going harder than I’d ever swum and I was barely moving. I was swimming like a water polo player with my head in the sky and it was unfamiliar and fatiguing. I couldn’t slipstream Happy as we got amalgamated like we were taking a bubble bath together in the washing machine

“What the fuck am I doing?”

“Why am I here?”

“I can’t do this!”

Happy kept stopping and asking if I was ok. I couldn’t even respond. A lifeguard at the third buoy asked me “are you ok mate?.” If he had blurted out some instructional rhetoric like “jump on my ski,” I would have.

I wanted to grab the giant yellow-anchored buoy. I wanted to stop.




I decided to slow right down, convert to breath stroke, and complete one lap which was half the intended distance. I would be a failure but I tried my best. What else could I do?

After turning around the 5th buoy at 600 meters, we aligned with the tide and the wind. The rain was still so heavy it was bouncing off the surface of the ocean so we couldn’t see the next marker, but the swimming-strokes started to return. I had a taste of rhythm. I was putting my head in the water, my heart rate was coming down and I was in control of my breath. I was swimming.

Helmuth von Moltke was a war strategist in the 19th Century. He first coined the term “no plan survives contact with the enemy”. This a slightly more sophisticated statement but the same as Bad Boy Mike’s, “Everyone Has A Plan Until You Get Punched In The Mouth!”

The ocean had been friendly to me in training, today it was my enemy. I had to keep the old plan in mind while working out the new one. If I was a boxer, my eyes were black, my nose was pushed across my face, and blood was in my eyes but my arms and legs were still working. “Don’t stop moving and throwing punches, Dom.”

My new plan was to get to the next buoy, take more strokes before each breath, find my rhythm, and keep the three swimmers in front of us at a close visual distance as their pace was sound. Then, repeat that plan.

Bang. At 1.6 km I was back baby!! The storm had settled and I was swimming right behind Happy, touching the souls of his feet with each stroke and listening to the bubbles of my slow, controlled exhale under water.

The thought of only doing one lap never even came back to consciousness. We had some time to makeup but we were on the move and swimming fast enough to finish the event.

To give you an idea, our first 500 meters was 16:55.8 seconds. Toward the end of the race, we were doing sub 10 minutes for 500 meters (1:57/100m).

We finished under time and raised $1, 330 for doing it.

Never give up!

Boom!! Swimmers and grinners!!

5k Ocean Race | Let’s Do This!!

Earlier in the year I finalised a list of goals to attempt before I’m 50. One of those goals was an ocean swim.

I wouldn’t call it a phobia but I’ve always had a heavy fear of the ocean. Something about having zero control of the environment and an unjustified apprehension about the larger style of fish that inhabit the sea.

The obstacle is the way, right? “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” Marcus Aurelius

Flinders Pier Victoria – Having a dip and loving the ocean

35 days ago I googled “ocean swims NSW” and learned there was a race at my local beach on the second of April and the event doubled as a fundraiser for children’s cancer. Even though it was a mere month away, I didn’t hesitate to lock myself into the 5K race and make it a real challenge.

Up until March, I’d never swum more than several hundred meters and at no time more than 100 meters in open water. I created this false perception in my mind that it wasn’t for me and I didn’t like it.

There’s nothing like a bold goal to deliberately box yourself into a corner and self-intimidate. The intention thus far has been both motivating and fear-conquering.

I’m still nervous about a key entry clause that states:

“Competitors need to be able to complete the distance in 2 hours as after this they will be asked to stop.”

As you can see I’m getting close to the cut-off time:

I need to find an additional 5.8% pace on race day. This sounds like an incremental adjustment but it’s not. It’s going to take all that I’ve got.

With more experience and in better condition, Happy helped me on my last swim, he piloted the two-hour pace and I was able to hold it for most of the session. He’s back in town on Sunday to push me to dig a little deeper in the second half of the race and come up with the goods.

While there will be a hundred people in the water, I’m racing me and the clock.

Please donate a small amount to The Children’s Cancer Institute. I need 50 people to donate $20 each so I can hit my $1000 target. Thanks for your support!

Let’s do this!!

Thank You Thank You Thank You

If YOU donated $1 or $1000, if YOU purchased a book for $50 or successfully bid $10, 000 on the Yacht, the gratitude from Lou and her family is as immense.

As mentioned in the auction booklet, EVERYONE’S contribution is a true testament that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Believing As One. Stronger As One. Succeeding As One.

There was one single detail that would have improved the night and that would have been the presence of Lou. None the less, the pressure cooker of love was felt across the oceans and into Europe, buoying Lou when she’s needed it most.

Louise and I both received numerous messages mentioning the energy that was present in the Greenwood on Thursday night. The glimpses we saw of the crowd streamed through Jon’s phone was astounding. Simply amazing.

Thank YOU so much for attending the party. For knowing that Lou wasn’t going to attend but still being there with bells on. YOUR friendship, the respect YOU have for her determined battle, YOUR unwavering support will continue to be the nucleus that moves her toward the possibility of remission. Thank YOU.

YOU have afforded Lou to be in Germany, with her family, to receive treatment options not available at home. YOU are giving her the best chance of winning and helping her achieve her biggest goal, to be a mum.


A special thanks for contributing to the event’s production:

  • Elysia McConkey: Coordination and ongoing involvement
  • Ginny + JulesTimmins: Managing the very successful auction and its 300 items
  • Brigitta De Laet: organising auction items
  • Judy Smart: Helping acquire multiple items
  • Michaela Francis: Finance
  • Nikki Hodgman: Managing the physical event
  • Nicole Watts: Event collateral design
  • Jon McConkey: Being a great MC
  • Rob Ward: Auctioneer
  • Adam Khamis: Videos production
  • Damien G from Hire Intelligence: 50% of screens and equipment
  • Anthony Reed:  FOC Install and pack down of all screens and AV
  • Lincoln Baker and Alex Taylor: For spinning decks and making tunes
  • Wilso: The Greenwood

I’ve taken the liberty of one final reciprocal thank you, passed on from YOU to Lou; thank you for keeping up the fight. Thank you for maintaining the rage, for amazing your village with your strength, courage, tenacity, grit and determination to keep punching while taking heavy blows. For putting one foot in front of the other when all the forces are trying to drag you down.

Thank you for being something that Noah and Evie,  your village and the world will forever be proud of. Everyone knows that you are really struggling right now but keep that spirit burning, draw upon the village’s energy to do so.

The village loves you and the world needs you for many days more.

Danke Schoen


Good morning Australia 🇦🇺. Lou had another 1.5 litres of fluid removed from her right lung yesterday. That’s twice in seven days. 😩

The good news is that she had her best day today since we have been in Germany, and we’ve been here for three weeks already……..I know right.

Hopefully, this means she can skype to all 464 (and counting) party goers……

It’s midnight Wednesday here in Bad Homburg, 10am Thursday for you. I hope you’ve polished your party shoes and got your drinking hats on. 💃 🕺🏽

I’ll continue to update this page with content before, during and after the party MOFO’s.  Everyone loves to party.


Welcome: Jon McConkey, MC

Main Speeches: Jon McConkey, Dominic Byrne and Louise DeCelis


The Online Auction Is a Go!

9 more sleeps until Lou’s party. We’ve sold 410 tickets to the event, there are 139 auction items online with many more to be added.

Products are open for instant buy and bidding.

(yep, click on the hammer)

Lou’s village has spoken.

No wonder this is Noah’s favourite song:

Crank up the volume and listen to this song by George Ezra. Noah sings his little lungs out to this. He loves his mumma more than anything or anyone in the world.

Guten Morgan

It’s only 8pm in Frankfurt but the kids and Lou have been out for an hour. It’s blissfully quiet. Just that very faint hotel murmur, humming somewhere unidentifiable in the background.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be waking in my own home right now, getting Noah dressed in his budgies so he can dominate the flags at nippers. Then rushing home to sneak off to the MX track to spin a few laps. Returning for one of McConkey’s prawn paster Sunday specials.

I’m happy here though. The kids have settled in and have been sleeping to the central European standard clocks and not their own messed up time that was causing me some torture.

We’ve sold 397 tickets to Lou’s event, amazing really. Do you think we can get to 500 in ten days time? If you haven’t purchased a ticket and live near Sydney, pull the trigger. “Chk Chk Boom” – Clare Werbeloff May 2009

Lou and I are obviously not going to make her very own party. There are some positives in this.  If Lou was home, she’d be under self-imposed pressure to attend. If the party was on any of the last four or five Thursday’s. I dare say she wouldn’t have made it. Being a few kilometres from the Greenwood, in bed, would have upset her.

Lou would have wanted to speak to the audience also. This would have been an unneeded burden. Her anxiety from certain medications along with the constant fear that comes with an “incurable disease” may have been too much. Being in Germany has removed her from any planning and event pressure. She will be sad she’s not there. My dream is to have a remission party that she can dance at, in full health.

We know you will party and party hard on her behalf. As I have mentioned, YOU, are the reason we are here in Deutschland.

Lou is really struggling right now, physically and mentally. She’s in a rut proving difficult to get out of. I documented a brief post with some detail here.

I managed a quick trip to the zoo with the kids on Thursday, It was fun but nothing on Taronga. Noah and I hit the ice together this morning (wow, that doesn’t sound right), I’d prefer to be putting in some turns on some skis but a skate is pretty fun.

Evie Byrne at the Frankfurt Zoo, easting an ice block when it's about 3 degrees.
Evie eating an ice block, not my choice of snack at 4 degrees…..

Noah Byrne at the zoo in Frankfurt Germany
Noah and one of his new buddies.

Noah Byrne and the Frankfurt Ice Skating Park
Noah’s little penguin helping with some stability on the ice

Evie and Noah Byrne on the way to the indoor pool
Just so you know, I don’t dress Evie like this when its 6pm and zero degrees. It’s just how she rolls.

It’s amazing how much you can love your own children. A limitless level of some sort. xx



Dear family and friends, the time has come for us to ask for your help.

The community that you have created around us is phenomenal. It’s nurturing, energising, committed, sympathetic, and full of an immeasurable amount of love. It’s more than we could have ever hoped for. Having this village behind us has carried us this far. And I hope the tone that’s been set for our support carries over to any family in the community that needs help in the coming years.

But today I want to talk about my family. And I want to ask for your help. Help with a fundraiser to generate the funds required to afford the treatments I need. And for my family to live comfortably with me, where ever in the world we land for treatment.

For us now the stakes couldn’t be any higher. I have aggressive metastatic Cancer moving through my body. My doctors define it as Stage four and terminal. Soon it could impair my liver function.

Terminal is just not something we will lay down and accept, however, the treatment options are limited and overseas treatment will likely hold the key. We have sought out the best international doctors and clinics who specialise in my type of cancer. We await a few more test results before we can make a call on which way we go. But the paths are very much the same. And they all come with a very high price for life.

We need to stop this cancer from spreading any further and we need to move fast. One liver lesion alone doubled in size in just 6 weeks and new lesions were detected. Terrifying.

I could live well with the current cancer in my body for many years as long as there is no growth or new lesions. However, to date we have not had that result from any of the five treatments we’ve tried.. and are now onto the sixth. We need a multi-disciplined approach to hit this abominable disease from all sides.

We are creating a huge fundraiser event with both a live and silent auction on Dec 6th @ 6pm at The Greenwood North Sydney. The auction items are flowing in and are blowing me away. We hope the night to be a big celebration of our village, a boost to our morale, and a night to remember.

So why do we need your help?

Having cancer as a mum hits you in a place so deep, so raw and so terrifying that it’s impossible to describe. What i want most is to see my babies grow up and to know they are not suffering the loss of their mum. Evie is 4, and Noah’s nearly 6. The thought of not being there for them growing up is a place i try not to imagine. I want to see what beautiful people they become.  I worry they won’t remember me. They have been through so much in the last year but still they are are so brave, always smiling, always loving, always silly. They haven’t lost their innocence to cancer yet and i hope they never have to.

My disease is currently incurable but treatable and the reality is until they find a cure, we will be forever focused on treatment and survival. They predict a cure will be found within about five years, so we’re going to fight like hell, one day at a time, for 1825 days (five years)and keep me alive.

Money is always a massive worry. Money is a big worry for most families without throwing the cost of cancer into the thought blender. Dom and i built a great business that had several years of doubling annual growth. We never missed mortgage payments, we travelled the world. However, my cancer off the back of Dom’s bike accident has completely crippled us. We’ve been in this fight for 17 months now and the truth is, if it wasn’t for family support we’d be beggars on the street. For that, we are extremely fortunate and downright lucky, however, it is not sustainable.

It’s a strange feeling of living in a beautiful suburb, in a beautiful house, with a nice car and all the trimmings that make our life easy and enjoyable. And then one day you find yourself struggling to pay bills for gas, electricity, phones, internet, childcare, clothing, petrol, tax, school and daycare. Sometimes food. It’s such an enormous fall from what we have come to be used to. And yet on the outside, we look to most like life hasn’t changed. But it has. We count our dollars and we value what we have so much more.

And what we know is that stress has a major impact on cancer growth and spread. We need to peel back all the layers of stress. By helping us financially you remove a major stressor for us.

Treatment facilities and hospitals overseas are hundreds of thousands of dollars and that is without medical issue or travel and relocation costs. The best diagnostic gene profiling and chemosensitivity tests run from $5,500 – $10,000…per test! We’ve spent $40,000+ in just the 4 mths since the metastatic diagnosis in July.

How can you help?
Buy a ticket to our Fundraiser Night Dec 6. 6pm. Greenwood. Nth Sydney
Donate an Auction prize for the fundraiser donations@louisedecelis.me
Donate directly to our family

I do want to make it really clear here that we are asking for financial assistance for our family. It is not a registered charity and the money would be gifted to us for medical treatment and support for the family.

I feel extremely lucky that we can ask for help without pride or ego getting in the way. After all, this could happen to any of us, it’s a conversation that many of us will need to have, and I hope that it makes it just that little easier now we have paved the way.

With much love and gratitude


Noah and Evie Byrne's Christening