Benjamin Schulte wanted to put his hand up. He was hurting and every time he approached a turning buoy, he contemplated bringing his race to a premature end. But if he did that, he knew he wouldn't truly be an Olympian.
The 16-year-old from the Pacific island of Guam was on his own. He had long been out of touch of the pack in the 10km swim in The Serpentine, and with still another two laps of the course to swim, it wouldn't have been difficult to take the easy way out.
"That fourth lap," Schulte said. "I was just actually taking it in buoys. I was thinking the next buoy I can put my hand up to get out, then I'd get to that buoy, and think, the next buoy I will get out, and I kept that going all the way through to the end."
"I talked to the coach who has been working with me for the past few months, Brian King, on the phone before we came out and he said that if I finish, then I'm a true Olympian. If I don't then I have just come here to swim, and that really helped me along through the race."
Three years ago, Schulte and his family - his father is Australian, his mother is from Guam - moved to the Gold Coast so he could be trained by Denis Cotterell, and there he has worked alongside swimmers such as Olympic 1500m champion Sun Yang. He arrived as a breaststroker, but last year the idea of a 10km swim emerged.
He had hoped to swim the 400m and maybe the 1500m qualifying times to make the Games, but when those standards were set lower than previously, he assumed his London dream was over. But then the suggestion of open water swimming was made, and despite thinking there was "no way in hell" it could be done, Schulte tried a few events, and wasn't too bad.
"It's an absolute honour to be able to say I'm an Olympian at 16. Not very many people get to say that. My goal was to finish the race. Just knowing so many people have worked to get me here with all the training, and I just felt like had I stopped I would have been letting a lot of people down," he said.
Schulte, who started swimming lessons when he was three, after his mother Lourdes "lost" him while they were at a beach party in Guam and she feared he may have drowned, wasn't an "Eric the Eel" story. Sure he finished last, but his time of 2hrs 03m35.1s was only 13m40.0s behind the winner Tunisian Oussama Mellouli.
He said he could hardly stand up at the finish, and while he heard the rapturous applause, he didn't see the standing ovation from the crowd in the grandstand.
"I really couldn't see anything because I lost my goggles in the water," he explained. "At the end of the race, I put them down [on the water] and they just sank. They are my eyes because they are prescription goggles, so I couldn't see anything. But I did hear it. That was nice."