The Brew

High profile guests and celebrities chat with host Angela Vithoulkas, insights are shared, tales told and lessons learned – all over a brew.


Episode #006 - The Brew - Guest James Pittar

James Pittar is a champion open-water swimmer, conqueror of the English Channel and inductee of the prestigious International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

And he’s done it all completely blind.

At 16, James was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Retinitis Pigmentosa, which causes degeneration of the retina. His vision rapidly decreased after his diagnosis, and by 21 he was legally blind and fully blind by his early 30s.

Yet despite this major setback, James was determined to succeed as an open-water swimmer. He devised a plan to aid his performance, using blows from a whistle to guide his direction.

A national inspiration, James became the first ever blind person to successfully cross the English Channel in 1998. Alongside the English Channel, he completed the “triple crown” of open-water swimming when he completed the Catalina Channel and Manhattan Island Swim.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why James believes that disabled sports are harsher and rougher than able bodied sports;
  • How James has maintained a positive outlook on life throughout his tribulations;
  • The unbelievable tale of his English Channel journey and the many obstacles he constantly had to overcome;
  • How James has held a fulltime job for 28 years;
  • The power of psychology in sport;
  • The fear James felt as an expected father being blind;
  • How he fares with his daughter also becoming a competitive swimmer;
  • James’ work with the Fred Hollows foundation;
  • The unbelievably harsh conditions that openwater swimmers endure; and
  • James’ vision for disabled sports going forward.

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Angela Vithoulkas

Eagle Waves Radio is the creation of Angela, she is a multi-award-winning business owner and a passionate small business advocate. Angela gave Eagle Waves its wings to ensure the voice of small business never flies under the radar. She has produced over 2000 hours.

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