Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Bye Bye Windows

After some very frustrating tech problems I have finally switched from Windows to Mac, I absolutely delighted to have made the transition, as a result I should be able to keep the site updated on a more frequent basis with no more excuses.

To that end, the latest news is a return to salt water, granted it was only a fifteen minute dip in The North Sea at Costa Del Seaton Carew near Hartlepool The Mecca for Open Water Swimmers! (NOT) but we were very happy with this for the first outing on 2015. After some screaming and crying about ice cream headaches and brain freeze we did manage to actually swim properly for 600 metres.

It was an ideal opportunity to test the Ambit3 previously mentioned, the GPS Tracking features all worked a treat, we purposely stayed close to shore as can been seen from the route on the image below.

Pool wise training has been going superbly well with Bill, we have been doing interval sessions on virtually every occasion we manage to train, the direct consequence being a slight increase in speed and return to fitness.

The 24 hours Swim For Life (2S4L) at Guildford Lido is imminent therefore recent sets have circled around1600m breakdowns for example 1600 warm up 16x 100, 8x 200, 4x 400, 2x 800 all on build to max effort maintaining form and bilateral breathing. If you are unfamiliar with the 2S4L then please read the previous  write up from 2011 on list of favourite posts (left side bar)

Dublin beckons this weekend for hydration purposes! after which it will be head first into the swim season 2S4L, Eton 10k, Wykeham 5k, C of C 9 miles etc.

Stay tuned

P.S. The tide was in we didn't just walk the zig zag on the sand! Cheers Google

Saturday, 28 March 2015

CS&PF Award Winners (Summer 2014 Season)

The Eurotunnel Trophy
Bob Fernald
For the fastest CS&PF swim of the year

The Gertrude Ederle Award
Charlotte Samuels
For the most meritorious CS&PF swim of the year by a woman

The Des Renford Award
Cyril Baldock
For the most meritorious CS&PF swim of the year by a man

The Peter Adams Award
Tony Bailey
For the CS&PF successful endurance swim of the year

Camille Anderson
Frank Richards Endurance Swim

The Audrey Scott Award
Charlotte Samuels
For the youngest successful swimmer of the year

The Ray Scott Award
Otto Thaning
For the oldest successful swimmer of the year

The Alison Streeter Award
Dori Miller
For the fastest two way swim of the year

The Barrie Darling Award
James Willi
For the CS&PF Pilot/Crew member of the year

The Dover Straits Award
Oxford University
For the fastest standard CS&PF Relay crossing of the year

The longest CS&PF standard Relay crossing of the year
Diabetes UK - Into The Blue

The CS&PF Observer of the year
Del Carter

The most meritorious CS&PF Special Category Relay of the year
Cosmic Rays

The JLDSC Award
Mark Sheridan
For the most successful swim against all odds

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Plans are taking shape

I suspect it's going to be a challenging season in the water, as per the side bar the scheduled events are all pretty much pencilled it. Having already committed to 2S4L which is as brutal as it gets. Today I entered another gruelling swim. The BLDSA Champion of Champions, here's some details
The Event
The senior Champion of Champions events will consist of three swims - over 10 laps, 6 laps and 2 laps of a designated course in Dover Harbour. Each lap will be 1/2 mile - the course being set using GPS.

To complete the full Champion of Champions event, competitors must complete all three swims and the Championship will be decided on the basis of the lowest aggregate times

Outside the Champion of Champions event, swimmers will be able to enter one or two races separately but such events will not be eligible for the full Champion of Champions competition. Entry to only 2 races will be the 3 mile and 1 mile events and entry into only 1 race will be the 1 mile event.

In order for competitors to complete the full Champion of Champions event, they must complete each individual event before the designated time for the start of the next element.

Start times 
5 mile swim - 9:15am
3 mile swim - 1:30pm
1 mile swim - 4:30pm 

So, similar to the 24 hour 24 mile swim, the quicker you are, the more rest you have. I will be lucky to have defrosted by the time I have to restart ! 

The last time I attended this event (as a swimmer not spectator) was entertaining to say the least, the write up is here for your convenience. C of C link here. 

Oh and I also entered the BLDSA Wykeham Lakes event a mere 5km, if memory serves this will be the fourth time for this one, and the closest event to home. 

Need I say more ?

Saturday, 7 February 2015

A message from Kevin Murphy (CS&PF) re 2015 EC

Hi All

This is a message to all solo swimmers and relay teams intending to register with the CS&PF for their English Channel swims this year.

You should all, by now, have received your application and medical forms. If you haven't please notify immediately.

After an initial burst of enthusiasm by a few swimmers and one relay team submitting their forms during January, the flow has dried up. There hasn't been a single application returned to the CS&PF office for some days now.

The deadline is 30 April and there is always a last minute panic by swimmers and teams trying to get their forms in. If nearly 200 solo and team applications  are delivered by email attachment or post to the CS&PF office during the couple of days immediately preceding30 April there will inevitably be some delay in processing and acknowledging them all.

Please do it now - by post or by email attachment to 

I look forward to your success in the Channel.

Also - I am aware that some members have indicated a wish to stand for election to the CS&PF committee but I have not received their nomination forms. The deadline for those forms to be received is this coming Friday. The forms can be found


Kevin Murphy
(CS&PF Sec.)

2015 ..and there off

Having thoroughly celebrated Christmas which  involved me surrendering to the girl previously known to you as KGB, it was into the New Year with a few plans floating around my head. Out of the water I re-joined the BLDSA with a view to completing a few of their events, both as swimmer and some as Kayak support for Nuala MC at the Derwentwater Event in June (you have a to give a little back remember).

In the water it was a return to the grotty pool at Total Fitness where I have been concentrating on some technique issues in particular hand entry (I was being called a slapper apparently) and also rotation.

I had missed the opportunity for the standard 100 x 100 over the holiday period therefore I addressed that on Sunday 18th January with no after effects to speak of which was pleasing. At 3-4 sessions a week I have been swimming a little less than a few years ago, however the quality is greater. I no longer get hung up or stressed about not swimming what was 7-10 times a week.

That said, distances of sessions will need to increase as the first event of the season approaches. That being the 24 hour swim at Guildford. You may recall an old post related to this brutal event in 2011, here's the link for your convenience 2S4L2011

Will be back writing more soon, in the mean time, here is a little something I enjoyed today..

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

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Ocean Walker on Teesside

If memory serves me correctly, I first met Adam Walker in 2008 whilst swimming in Dover Harbour. He went on to swim swim The English Channel that year in an impressive time of 11 hours 35 minutes.

Fast forward to 2014 Adam was well on his way to becoming the first Britain to complete 'The Oceans 7' and was now hosting swim training camps both at home and abroad. His coaching sessions looked interesting though I had not personally attended, as luck would have it one such camp was taking place this summer at Bishopton Lake (about 5 minutes from home) I took this opportunity to briefly meet up and had a rather inspirational chat with him that evening and decided to keep a closer eye on his progress.

August soon arrived and whilst I was completing one way Windermere number 5, Adam was completing the North Channel from Ireland to Scotland and in doing so made it 7 out of 7.

By now he was pretty much flirting with celebrities! telling his story loud and proud. I therefore more or less pestered him to attend the Stockton area where he could also speak, providing I could gather sufficient interested parties.

Yesterday around 60 of us gathered at David Lloyds Teesside where we were first entertained with some acoustic singing by Gemma (Adams girlfriend) followed by Adams story, unfortunately I missed the first ten minutes or so of the talk as I had volunteered to sell raffle tickets !! I soon got up to speed as Adam engaged with the audience rattling off the details of all seven crossings. The presentation was very well received and I thank Adam for making the effort to travel to our neck of the woods.

The next morning....after far too much alcohol, with a bed time long after midnight, I was back to David Lloyds for a 1 to 1 technique/video analysis session. Feeling slightly under the weather I found the session quite demanding but extremely beneficial. Adam (who uses a rhymical hip rotation to maximise his power and glide) gave clear explanations and demos which I was soon imitating and practising.(at least I was attempting to!) He stayed in the water with me for in excess 2 hours and recorded several elements as we built my stroke in a series of drills. On completion we viewed the recordings and chatted regarding the way forward.

This for me this was the highlight of the weekend, if you are considering or feel the need for some stroke improvement/analysis, I would recommend being Walkerized!!

Friday, 21 November 2014

One of those days

I wonder just what your thoughts were as you read the title of this post...I suspect it may well have been something along the lines of that old Elvis Presley track where "Nothing goes right from morning til night" well surprising enough the reason for the title is the exact opposite.

I have been back to the pool for a little while now, more often than not with Miss Bell of Channel Swimming Fame. We have been doing interval sessions on average around 75 minutes, the general format is: warm up followed by either pyramids or combinations of 100s 200s 400s all on maximum effort trying to hold form with sufficient rest to facilitate the next effort.

Training with another swimmer guarantees greater effort, I'm not sure if that is an ego thing or due to the fact that you know you are not the only one suffering, coupled with being far less boring.

Thursday this week we had planned another similar session, an uneventful steady warm up circa 700m, it was then decided (by Miss Bell) we were doing intervals of 400s, I swam the first two laps harder than normal (I usually try to build the pace on anything longer than 200s) for some unknown reason I was able to maintain this pace and knew I was making excellent progress and yet felt fresh in total control and in no way fatigued) touching after the 16 laps my co-swimmer uttered a few expletives with the closing line "Are you on drugs" She too had noticed an increase in what is my standard best pace.

The same feeling of well being, flow, glide and effortless swimming continued for the remainder of the set. We said our goodbyes and I disappeared for a sauna. I quizzed myself for the reason behind this great session but was unable to find answers. I had been to work all day, I had eaten as poorly as ever, my sleep has at best has been broken due to the arrival of a noisy pup. I just couldn't fathom it.

So I guess I was just fortunate to experience 'One of those days', when for reasons beyond my control everything fell into place, the sort of peak you really want to hit on the day of a major target. I don't know the answer, I wish I did. Do you??

Thursday, 30 October 2014

CSPF 2014 Season Stats..a closer look

I have a day off work and thought it would be interesting to have a closer look at the 2014 swim details provided on the excellent Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation website. For the purpose of this post I am referring to successful solo swims though I may have a look at the relays at a later date. I do not have all the data from the CSA Ltd hence there is no reference to swims.

The basics from the CS&PF site show there was a total of 62 crossings including a 2 way by Dori Miller. (61 swims)

As expected the organisations highly respected pilots were all pretty much equally busy, with the following successes (remember this does not include relay figures)
Paul Foreman (Optimist) 10
Lance Oram (Sea Satin) 9
Mike Oram (Gallivant) 14
Eddie Spelling (Anastasia) 9
Neil Streeter (Suva) 16
James Willi (Gallivant) 3

In total successful solo swimmers spent over 921 hours in the waters of the English Channel.

The season opened with first crossing made by Marcy Macdonald from the USA on Friday 30 June escorted as usual by Mike O and the good ship Gallivant.
The quickest crossing (10hours 50minutes) was made by Bob Fernald escorted by Lance/Sea Satin on 22 July. Track below:

The longest crossing being Tony Bailey with a mammoth breast stroke swim (25 hours 56 minutes 51 seconds) escorted by Eddie/Anastasia on 7 September. Track below:

The average crossing time this year was 14 hours 51minutes and 25 seconds with most success achieved on 5 August by five individuals Nick Adams, Amanda Bell, Stuart Bowman, Georgina Halford and of course Dori Miller and her two way.

The last solo swim was completed on 2 October by Kate Todd escorted by Neil/Suva.

I hope this is of interest :-)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The cave of light and The cave of birds

Open water swimmer Sam Krohn created this moving film of my friend Donal Buckley aka LoneSwimmer swimming the caves of Irelands Copper Coast.

If you you feel stressed... relax, unwind and enjoy this lovely film.
It's 18 minutes long but well worth watching.

I trust Donal and Sam wont mind me sharing. All credit to them for creating this.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Lewis Pugh in London

Last week KGB and I had another whistle stop trip, this time to Kensington, London where we attended the Royal Geographic Society in order to listen to the swimmer and environmentalist that is Lewis Pugh.

Whilst I have already read 'Achieving The Impossible' and am part way through '21 Yaks and a Speedo' his talk remained enthralling and inspirational.

At the close of the talk Lewis was kind enough to chat, have photos taken and sign my books with a personal note. He was totally genuine and humble. We had previously communicated online though I must admit I was suspicious that his agent may be speaking on his behalf. Our conversation took away all such thoughts as he recalled the details of these messages, and thanked us for travelling so far to attend the event.

We then spent some time catching up (in the bar where else?!) with some friends including Graeme Schlachter and Audra Turner, then to our surprise we became aware of the presence of  Cliff Golding, we were both delighted to see Cliff again as he is one of the nicest individuals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He speaks great sense and is himself an inspirational man who I have long since admired. You may be lucky enough to meet him on a Swim Trek LDTC in Mallorca.

If you ever have the opportunity to do so I highly recommend attending such an evening. Here is Lewis' excellent website 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Pool Punctuality and Planning

I cannot say in any certainty if my desire for punctuality stems from my upbringing or a military background, without wanting to sound like a total nerd, I do prefer to be Mr Punctual or better still 5 minutes early. This can lead to frustration for many men when waiting on the opposite sex to be ready, but how very dare I say such a thing when I am told its a lady's prerogative (so much for equal ops) (Don't shout at me Dr KT).

Anyway..getting to the point, Monday, after a weekend of parental duties I arranged to meet two swimmers. For the purpose of this tale they will be referred to as Billy and Mandy. ;-) The deal was to be at the pool ready to start in the water at 4:45pm. Being that we had only recently returned to anything like intense pool sessions the plan was to have a short interval session, max effort with plenty of rest.

I even sent Billy and Mandy a text message with the set.
It was simple enough, easily doable inside the hour and read like this

1 x 200 easy warm up
8x 100 max effort
4x 200 build to max effort
8x 100 max effort
1x 200 easy swim down
Total 2800m home for tea and medals.

I foolishly (I knew it was a mistake) arrived at the pool early, rather than the standard 5 minutes before, "that's ok" I thought, they will be here soon and proceeded to start a gentle longer warm up working on some drills to improve my hand entry.

900 metres later Billy arrives and we start the set.  By the time Mandy drags her sorry backside to poolside we had almost finished the 200s! She swims her warm up and joins in for the last 8 x 100 on max effort. Billy decides that's him finished, swims down and heads for the sauna, fair enough he worked hard and can leave.

Grinning (like a red faced Cheshire Cat) Mandy thinks (wrongly) that after 800m she is finished too!! Silly Girl.

I then have to commence the 4 x 200s AGAIN followed by another 8 x 100 just so she hits the yardage planned. She too then swims down and leaves with correct figures. Meanwhile Stupid Mark here has swam 5200m and has learnt a valuable lesson.

Don't be early YOU HAVE TO SWIM MORE
Don't let people be late YOU HAVE TO SWIM MORE
Be punctual at the pool

The names have been changed (kind of) to protect the innocent. No Cheshire Cats were harmed in the writing of this blog.