Sunday, 7 February 2016

J2F briefly

If my research is correct, only 38 individuals have successfully completed the challenge I have set this to swim from Jersey to France.

A few people have asked me about tidal influence and is it the same as England to France. Yes, it is influenced by the tide as per the photo below, it is similar in that it is a salt water swim, there will be jellies a plenty, the water temperature will be similar, there will however be considerably less in the way of shipping. 

It will be tough, that said I am genuinely excited about the swim.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Asha Allen Roth...5 Ways My Marathon Swim Training Is Different This Time

This article appears here with the kind permission of Asha, I certainly thought it was worthy of sharing with my readers..enjoy

"I did some big swims last year. I swam the length of Tahoe (21 miles) and Catalina Channel (20.2 miles) At that time, my mind-set was simply that I wanted to understand what it would be like to train for something huge.  In other words, "How the hell is it done?" I've learned some things since then and I'm making some adjustments. While I'm sure I will continue to tweak my training plan, here are a few significant changes from last year's training I am making as I prepare for the English Channel (21 miles).

1) Recovery Swims
Last year, after a long swim, I rested out-of-water, the following day. That is to say, I did nothing - maybe a little stretching. This year, on the day following a very long swim, I am making sure I get in the water and swim no matter what. It doesn't have to be fast, it doesn't have to be long, but I'm getting in the water and moving.  The intention is to recover the same muscles that worked so hard the day before. This is a small change that I am already feeling a big difference with.  I'm sending my body a message that, "Yes, we are really doing this again. Let's endure and it's okay."

2) Mindful Resting
When I knew I had a long swim day last year (multiple practices or just hours in the bay), I turned on my "go-go-go" mode. It was a type of hyper-vigilence.  It was a super-hero syndrome. Not only did I swim like a maniac, I also did all normal errands and chores, family care and work demands.  I also had a few panic attacks while driving last year.  I attribute this to my "hard-driving" training program which didn't allow for restful pauses. This year, I'm resting after or in-between swims.   For example, when I swam five practices in one day a few weeks ago, when I had a short break, I gave myself a 10 -20 minute Savasana.   I allowed myself to completly sink into a restful state and let go completely.  This deeply restorative pose is now a part of my new training regimine. I set myself up with a bolster under my knees, a blanket and an eye pillow. Man, does it feel amazing. I can usually find 10-20 extra minutes after a long swim day.  It makes a world of difference. I'm doing it today after my 3-hour swim. It's just part of the plan.

3) Double (or Triple) Distance Days
The days of a single long swim day are gone, my friends.  It's time to build tenacious sustainable endurance. With the inspiration of S.C.A.R. coming up (4 lakes, 4days, 40 miles), I am incorporating some consecutive multiple days of distance swimming to this year's training.  In addition to planning this at home, I've reserved some weekends at Donner Lake in June and July so I can simply camp and swim - two (or three) long training swim days in a row.

4) Counting the Hours (not Distance)
I was counting every yard, meter and mile last year.  It gets to be a little much, fixating on the distance, as if the numbers are God.  This year, my focus is time in the water. Time in the water. I swam 4 hours on Sunday, an hour yesterday and today it's 3 hours.  I'm not counting the distance or wearing my Garmin. I know what the approximate distance is and that's good enough. After all, my goal is to finish no matter what. At 15 or 20 miles, the numbers are irrelevant, but my comfort level with time in the water, needs to be infallible.

5) Stroke Quality

I'm not sure why, but last year, I just wanted a stroke that would keep going forever.  I didn't care if it was slow. I just wanted to know I could finish. I didn't put much focus on quality and efficiency of my stroke technique. This year, I want every edge possible for the specific endurance event at hand.  So for example,  I'm getting comfortable with not only bi-lateral breathing but breathing only-left and only-right for extended times. I'm removing any cross over of my hands in front and kicking more consistently.  I'm working getting the full push-through and increasing momentum in my underwater pull. I'm swimming more butterfly because 1) I like it and 2) I like the idea of strong deltoids, trapezoids, rhomboids and lats - I could use the help!"

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Whats Happening ?

I will tell you exactly whats happening...well, the plan at least

I have been looking at a few events for 2016

as it stands this is the list of targets

March ..Camp Eton (if space allows) 
4 June.. BLDSA Wykeham 5km night swim
5 June.. BLDSA Wykeham 5km + 1km

18 June.. BLDSA Champion of Champions 5 miles + 3 miles + 1 mile

10 July..Windermere 10.5 miles

17 July..Dover Harbour 6 hour date TBC

 2-6 Aug.. Jersey to France

That my friends is the plan for this year, in pool, fresh and salt water.

I will also escort a few friends on both one and two way Windermere swims 

stay tuned ...

Monday, 28 December 2015

2015 Summary

It's been a tough year as my Facebook friends will be aware. I will however spare you the negative aspects from my personal/work life and focus on the ups and downs in the water.

As normal the year started with a gentle easing back into pool sessions with some work on technique, all sessions were recorded on, utilising the Suunto Ambit3. 

Although it was a year without a 'HUGE' swim, there were certainly several challenges ahead, some of which I had tackled previously.

2S4L Guilford Lido

I last entered this event in 2011 (post here) so, in theory, I knew exactly what it would take. It was always referred to as being 'brutally relentless'. For 2015 I had again opted for the solo effort of 1 mile on the hour, every hour, for 24 hours. For one reason and another I was unsuccessful, completing only 10 miles. There was some positives to be had, in particular the support received from a few of the usual suspects. I was pretty much fed up after this event.
Not happy. 

BLDSA Wykeham

This is the event geographically closest to home. An almost annual occurrence as one of the first in the BLDSA calendar. 5 triangular 1000m laps in water around 15 degrees and success was in the bag, the time was exactly as expected. I then took the opportunity to swim the 1km event, as I thought it would be ideal prep for the next weekend. 2 swims totalling 6km = 2 successes. (post here)

BLDSA Champion of Champions

Notoriously tough event, the full compliment being: 5miles, 3 miles, 1 mile in Dover Harbour. The last visit for this event in 2011 was a mixed up day weather wise to the extent that the 3 mile swim was cancelled. 

2015 (post here) was no different. It was a very hard day at the office, after some frightening mental blips on the start of the 5 miler (10 laps) I eventually achieved success, the conditions deteriorated for the 3 miler but again after what seemed like an eternity success was gained. Everybody likes the 1 miler as the end is in sight. 
Overall 3 swims totalling 9 miles in salt water about 14.5 degrees. Happy.

Windermere #6
A month earlier than normal, I planned to swim Windermere on this occasion starting at Ambleside in the North. I might as well be honest..the objective was to swim to Fell Foot the back to Bowness, meaning a 15 mile swim. However as it turned out, I altered the plan before the 10 mile point and opted for just a one way. (post here) Technically speaking, unsuccessful though I was still content with 6 hours at 16 degrees. On reflection I had not trained sufficiently for 15 miles.
Still Happy!

BLDSA Ullswater
After a slight lay off in training after Windermere, the next event was soon here. Karen Throsby had kindly offered to kayak for me on this 7 mile swim in beautiful surroundings (full post here.) I was hoping for lovely conditions similar to the 2011 event.
It was in fact bloody awful! By and far the most difficult swimming event of the year. 3 hours 48 minutes in frigid water.
It was a success but I wasn't happy!

That was the last of my events, we did however go to support some others with 3 excellent One Way Windermere swims for:
Ian Adshead, Zoe Sadler and Ady Brown followed by a 10km for Amanda Bell. We also assisted at the BLDSA 2 Way Windermere.

Happy or Not Happy, Success or Not, the one consistency year on year are the individuals, in particular those of what I like to call the BLDSA family,  alongside the Dover beach crew, are like no other, the care, support, advice, unselfishness, and all round altruism of these people is a joy to be part of. You know who you are. 
Thank you.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

When you say you are a swimmer

Returning to 'The Pit' yesterday, first time this week due to life!

Further build up to the planned monster session in December, on this occasion it was 80 x 100, probably 10 reps too far if I am honest as I lost about 3-4 seconds per 100 metres towards the end.

I like this little video..enjoy, I am sure you can relate to some of the lines 

"When You Say You're a Swimmer" from Chris Shimojima on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Pit

It's that time of year again, when after a brief cessation following the close of the open water season, I have finally returned to the pool. The first few sessions were very short but felt very tough. Having been back to the chlorine pit about a month (only average 3 sessions a week) I already feel like I am making some improvements to technique and general fitness.

This last weekend inspired by Mark Sheridan I upped the distance slightly and bashed out a 50 x 100.

Initially these sets feel mind numbing with the end seemingly out of sight. I was pleased to have maintained my timings throughout. Having concentrated on hand entry and rotation I was also delighted to exit the pool pain free and hungry for more.

Looking forward to more intensity in order to build a good base for 2016s massive swim.

All will be revealed....

Friday, 30 October 2015

2016 Escorted Swims

Recently I have received a few flattering enquires to escort swims next year (see the escorted swims tab) on Windermere both 1 Way (10.5 miles) and 2 Way (21 miles) there are in the region of 7 swims booked thus far for 2016, so, if you know me, and I know you, and you are thinking of asking for help next year please be quick. 

I only have a certain amount of annual leave and brownie points to use. 

In addition to that I also have a big swim to train for so time will be precious.

You know the drill

NB a giver not a taker 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Further 2012-2015 EC Data

Truly awesome data from Phillip Hodges to enlarge and analyse further..thanks Phil

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Amanda Bell.. A 'Cool' Windermere 10km

Amanda asked me some time ago if I would assist her with boat support for a swim on Windermere, on a date to be confirmed once the water temperature had dropped below 14 degrees. (it was nearer 12 today) I was very happy to assist on what turned out to be a 10km swim, the start of which was in far from ideal conditions. The strong wind from the south was sending waves over the front of the boat, it was more like swimming/boating in the sea than freshwater.

The plan prior to the start had been to head down from Bowness (South) to the large yellow buoy about a mile north of Fell Foot, where we would turn, however, very soon after the start, due to the poor conditions the route was altered in an effort to afford Amanda some protection from the worst of the weather. I took the boat into the flatter waters near to Ferry Nab where the water levelled out almost instantly. It was a different world, much nicer for everyone concerned.

Then the rain came.. in biblical fashion, this flattened the water further still and we had a pleasant tour behind Belle Isle and through the Lillies in the general direction of Wray Castle. 

By this time, the feeds had dropped to every 45 minutes, following the initial 2 at one hour intervals. It was however, too late. Amanda was already in depletion (she should have started on 30-40 minutes between feeds due to the colder water) and it would not be possible to fully recover/refuel. 10 miles would not be doable today.

She probably (hopefully) won't mind me saying that she was ready to quit at 7.8km, as a result of which she was given a portion of what we call 'advice'. I also asked Graeme to jump in and offer some morale support by swimming alongside. This definitely helped and there was a marked increase in speed (to the extent that Graeme had some difficulty keeping up). 

Having already made the turn we headed south to the jetty at Bass Rock where Graeme exited the water. As per the video we then adjusted the course to encompass a small loop simply to round up the distance to 10km and facilitate the return to the jetty in order to collect our support swimmer.

Great training swim in 'cool' water. Well done.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Sunday, 11 October 2015

CS&PF 2015 end of season stats.. a closer look.

At the close of the 2014 season I composed a post here reflecting on the CS&PF statistics regarding successful English Channel Solo swims. The post proved to be very popular, hence it was always my intention to more or less repeat the procedure with the 2015 figures.

In the same manner as last year, the information has been gathered from the most excellent Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation website.

At the outset it appears obvious that the weather gods have played their part in thwarting a lot of swims this year, you can see at a glance on the below graph (data from 2012-2015 only) how the figures have dipped this year. 

N.B. Solos only (there was an additional 47 relays.. see post script)

The skilled pilots have however still been busy amassing the following figures (43 solos)
Paul Foreman (Optimist) 9
Lance Oram (Sea Satin) 6
Mike Oram (West Winds/SeaFarer II) 3
Eddie Spelling (Anastasia) 11
Neil Streeter (Suva) 10
James Willi (Gallivant) 4

The season was opened by 2 Way EC legend Wendy Trehiou/Suva swimming on 25th June in preparation for her 24 hour St.Malo to Jersey swim with Matthew Clarke and Lionheart Pilotage !
(The record for the earliest swim is held by King of the Channel, Kevin Murphy 29th May in 1990)

2015 gave us 4 mammoth swims in excess of 20 hours, the longest being Sigrun Thuridur Geirsdottir with a  22 hours 34 minutes crossing with pilot James Willi/Gallivant. Track below:

The fastest swim this year was Sebastion Karas in only 8 hours 48 minutes with Pilot Eddie Spelling/Anastasia. Track below:

The 17th August proved to be the most successful day this year, with a total of four successful crossings. (Kristian O'Donavan, Phil Yorke, Lisa Williams and Volker Koch)

Other swims of note (IMHO) that should not go unmentioned:

Mr 'Big Love' (President) Nick Adams swam his 11th crossing on 8th August with Neil and the Suva crew.

Phil Yorke became only the 12 person to make a breaststroke crossing on the aforementioned most successful date in 18 hours and 2 minutes. (Neil/Suva) track below:

My mate Mark 'Shezza' Sheridan completed his second successful crossing on a big spring tide on 2nd September. (Neil/Suva)

Liz Fry swam her 6th crossing on 28th August with Eddie/Anastasia.

The season closed with Sue Croft completing the swim on her 4th attempt on Thursday 8 October in 15 hours 59 minutes with Neil and Team Suva.
(The record for the latest swim is 29 October in 1979)

The Solo Heroes this year spent a total of 651 hours 30 minutes and 13 seconds in the Water.

Equating to an average crossing time of 15 hours 09 minutes and 4 seconds.

Congratulations to all swimmers, pilots and crews. 

Post Script ...


Total time for relay teams in the water this year 713 hours 23 minutes and 10 seconds

The average time for a relay crossing this year was 15 hours 10 minutes 42 seconds 

Fastest relay 10:36:39 Auckland Grammar (6) 10th July with James / Gallivant
Longest relay 20:04:00 Sisters of Swim (4) 24th June with Paul / Optimist 

There has obviously been a number of successful crossings recorded by The CSA including Chloe Macs. 3 Way ! however I do not have access to their data in full. 


The below data is kindly provided by Michelle Hardy 

Thursday, 3 September 2015