Friday, 28 September 2007

Another one bites the dust

Busy week again as usual, but managed to get to Sunny Seaton on Tuesday for a nice swim at 13.5 degrees, (I forgot the camera) was a little bit anxious before getting in due to only swimming in the pool and lakes of late, but once in.. it wasn't too bad at all, the temperature felt fine, and I had a very relaxing swim, probably the most relaxed I have felt in the sea to date. Once out, I felt really refreshed.. so we will definitely try to keep this up as the winter approaches, that said, we have three days training in the Lake District in a fortnight, that is sure to be breath takingly chilly. I expect that to be the last of the swims of any decent length outdoors before we resort to quick dips just to keep the omens at bay. I am planning to just get in the sea/river/lake when possible for short swims throughout the winter, (even if its only ten minutes) the plan being that it will not feel so severe when the spring arrives and the temperature is up to 11 degrees again. I read somewhere that a minute in March is equal to an hour in August, with that in mind I am sure you understand the method in the madness.

Other news Michelle Macy completed her swim with Reg her Pilot on 22 September in the fantastic time of 10 hours and 2 minutes! Congratulations.........If you saw the Sunday Telegraph last week, you may have read the Channel Swimmers article in the supplement...One of the swimmers 23 year old Rebecca Lewis (she swam this year in an incredible 9 hours 35 mins !!!) is studying at University nearby, so we are in the process of arranging a chat so we can discuss training etc..

Also check Sally Gobles blog re her Isle of Wight relay swim....its a great read.

The shoulders seem fine, been a good weeks training so far.
The story continues...........

Friday, 21 September 2007

Less than 11 months to go.....

Hello again, yes that's right less than eleven months to go now until the big day (not that I am counting the days or anything you understand), time is already passing by rapidly and I just know that May will soon be upon us when it will be the start of the season at Dover, as far as training in the harbour.

Its been a tough week in the pool......I received some different swim sets to try make a change/break up the boredom of swimming inside at the gym, I have been spoilt with the outdoor sessions and the twenty five metre black line at 29 degrees is really not exciting at all. Therefore anything that increases the difficulty and interest is welcome. I have been against the clock most of the week and getting out of the water completely out of breath! Pleased to say the left shoulder has been absolutely fine. When it came to Wednesday night it was relaxing to attend a masters group and do some 400s concentrating on relaxed technique and length of stroke. I should easily manage the twenty thousand metres for this week though I am on nights all weekend so that might throw a spanner in the works.

On a positive note I am arranging for another session in the Lake District next month, the water temperature will be down a little further so it should be excellent training before the winter approaches. Weather permitting we will be going to The North Sea over the weekend too (its been terrible this week with a number of red flag days).

Fingers crossed for Michele Macy from the States who will be Swimming The Channel any day now, once she gets the nod from her pilot Reg. She is updating her blog on a daily basis so we are well informed. Other news this week; Charlie today received a package from Loraine to thank him for his efforts for Jack, included within was Charlies copy of Loraine's Channel Swim DVD, I have already viewed it several times, it's very inspirational, emotive and it so puts across the efforts of everyone concerned with the swim.

I am still deciding which Charitable cause to dedicate my Channel Swim to, there are a number of issues in mind but hopefully all will be arranged before too long.

Will post the weekly totals on Sunday together with anything else of interest.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

The L.V. Interview Part 2.

The following text is the second part of the interview conducted with Loraine Verghese, I think you will agree that she has been open and forthright with her answers, some of the information has certainly helped me, I hope it does the same for some other aspirants out there...

“I think the week before my swim was surreal and many thoughts and fears seem to have been forgotten looking back but one thing stays fixed in my mind ! -THE WEATHER as this was what determined my future.
My workouts ended on the weekend before with a 2 hour swim on the Sat 18th August and Sun 19th August where I swam a relaxing two hour swim just to get the feel of the water. Mostly I had to find things to do down at DOVER… because of the postponement of the swim, which left me having to stay down at Dover for ten days and hence I had the absolute joy of making my new home at the SANDOWN guesthouse so close to the beach (Thanks to Mike Cross--conquered the channel twice - who told me all about Martin ) so friendly and understanding of Channel Swimmers needs and mood swings !!! !ha ha .
Please do check it out as a possible option both Martin and Sonia are fantastic hosts and really take care and spoil you .
So the week prior to the swim was a tense one as the weather factor left me in anticipation most days, but thanks to my mum and of course my princess Jodie I was never lacking for company. Mum -I thank you so much for helping me through this without a complaint .I had several thoughts about my feeding too and realised that once a decision was to be taken it was to made with no doubt . With a funny week and all the discussion about electrolyte (the pros and cons ) I decided to keep some on the boat but not use it unless I was in dire straits, as I did not like the taste and felt queasy when I used it. To my surprise whilst I was in Dover I came across the newly released Lucozade and loved it….hence my decision stuck - This is what I would use as the label stated it contained electrolytes and I loved the taste! By this time a week before my swim I was rearing to go and time could not pass fast enough .In hind sight one must enjoy this last high as funnily there is a low to follow after your success unless you can hold on to the fact that you have now joined an elite club of cool people.................who love swimming under pressure .”

M.R. “AND THE NIGHT BEFORE?”......................
L.V. “Gosh that was the most disastrous last night in hind sight !!!!!!!!!!! as well as the morning before my swim !!!! .I remember looking at my watch and realising it was 2200 hours and late that I needed a good sleep as I knew my sleep would be filled with a few disturbances of my tossing around and not to forget Jodie's visits to the bathroom .The last calls from friends to wish me good luck came in at 2200 and after converting MARTIN and Sonia's kitchen at SANDOWN into a workshop area with all my boxes and items that I would be taking on the boat, I felt tired and was ready for bed .
I knew that the MAXIM would need to be prepared in the morning as its potency lasts only for a maximum of 24 hours and so there was only so much I could do that night as I had all the major work in the morning. I made the 24 rolls for my beloved crew before I went to bed 2300 hours and then crawled in to bed realising I would need to be up at 6 am which left me only 7 hours but this I suppose was better than nothing until at the dot of 5 am !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was wide awake and the adrenalin was pumping .My visual planning kept going around like a stuck record in my head .................I was ready there was no doubt.
Today 26th of August was a dream finally coming true there were no ifs and buts .Failure was not an option - I rushed down to the kitchen and that's when the horror struck me I had all the MAXIM to prepare into all 40 bottles that I had to empty of water and fill with( 28scoops of maxim in 2 litres) MAXIM 250ml which I was to take on the boat, It took me and my darling mother Brigitte until 7am to do them all. I began to panic realising in just over an hour I was set to swim .I soon realised this was just my mind zoning in on the task ahead It was almost surreal .I then got calls from my faithful crew saying they had arrived. Jacks father who was instrumental behind the power that drove me arrived after a late night trek from Devon-London only to begin another journey London-Dover in the early hours of Sunday morning to show his support for me.
Although I was glad my support swimmer was already there the night before ,ready to boost my morale during my swim . .I was nervous and did not feel particularly hungry but no sooner had the first bit of toast gone down my throat I realised I was hungry and knew I would be soon crying out for food so I decided to dig in .........................Five toasts and tons of scrambled eggs prepared by the SANDOWN awesome couple (Martin and Sonia) I was soon sated and ready to rock and roll .
I then got a drop to the marina with Jodie sitting on my lap ,she was so excited for me it was such a warm feeling seeing the sparkle in her eyes filled with all the love she could show me " Mummy you are going to swim the channel today .Will it be long before I see you ?" I replied " No darling I will be home to cuddle you in your sleep " satisfied with my reply , she snuggled into my arms content with her knowledge of my whereabouts for the day..
Kindly both MARTIN and SONIA had offered to drop Mum so that she could show the magnitude of her support for me on this mission which would change me forever ..............................then time stood still and all I could see was the miles of water that separated me from France....…”

L.V. “The sun had just risen and the truth dawned on me .......... today was D day and I had a big task ahead of me .With everything packed we headed to the harbour and stashed everything aboard. On the boat Mum realised someone was missing, soon I realised it was ‘Dan’ thankfully he arrived a few minutes later. Andy was then able to set the wheels in motion and started heading towards Shakespeare Beach for lift off .
At 8.30 the fun began, the horn sounded and I dived towards France but not before I turned over to my side whilst swimming to the boat just to wave to my darling mum and awesome daughter who screamed in delight "Go mummy go."
The first three hours was a breeze, filled with fun coming in the form of funny messages on the white board. Despite having several large gulps of sea water I remained focused but soon as the saline water found its way down the intestinal tract I started to feel sick!!! The urge to throw up was the stark reality, but I held it down and changed to water feeds in order to give a chance for my kidneys to sort out this mess .The feeling soon was a distant memory.
At around 1700 hours when I was well into the North East shipping lane I stopped for a feed and then all of a sudden felt this immense sting and saw the most beautiful jelly fish but sadly IT STUNG ME!!! Ha ha and so the happiness and joy at seeing it did not last long I had to grab it with my hand and pull it off me as it seemed to latch on to my left shoulder and to my surprise a cute lil one followed in its wake bobbing away but I did manage to avoid getting stung a second time and Mum and baby continued their venture around the world. I cracked the whip from time to time encouraging myself to race the boat -I LOVED IT. Slowly as the day passed, without further incident I saw signs of sunset beginning and was pleased as I had could see that my goal was finally attainable. However with the 3.6 knot tide pulling me sideways I soon realised I was battling against the weather gods. Because still felt very strong I decided to take up the fight yet soon I was aware that despite my speed and strength I was not going anywhere, barely making any progress forward at all .
Frustration is a funny thing it can make you weak, weak enough to give up, or on the other hand it can make one stubborn!!!! Well I am glad to say it made me stubborn and more determined, that was when my skipper Andy (unsure of my mental state) asked
"Do you want a support swimmer?” Without a moments hesitation almost defiant I said "Hell NO" I was going to make it alone and hoped that Paul (my support swimmer) who was encouraging me from up on the deck throughout, would understand my defiance. Any help at this point would have been no use. It was dark, I could barely keep an eye on the boat and I was nearly there. I could almost touch the lights in the distance. So instead I just cracked on.
At 21.45 hours I landed just a bit past The Cap Gris Nez and felt the bottom! I stood up and of course funnily lost my balance, falling back into the water. But at every difficult moment I felt connected with a hidden cache of strength from deep within, along with a burning desire to succeed and these I WILL REMEMBER so in essence, Yes, I remember it ALL and feel I have learnt something new about myself ................”

“August 26th finally arrived and after a long wait because of dreadful weather I finally was given the go ahead 12 hours before the actual swim ...........Would I change anything ?Many thoughts come to my mind ................ and most of them so positive which easily outweighed the negative that I can only say No Regrets.
I never look back on the past with regret for the things that might have been,
Nor the promises made to my crew that I may have unintentionally never kept for life cannot always be perfect and our days don’t always shine bright and promises are sometimes broken
and the dreams may not turn out just right, but no time has ever been to waste for me NOT EVER and certainly NOT NOW,and I look back on my journey across the channel
with No regret but a SMILE .......... "

“Life is a game, play it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is an opportunity, capture it.Train hard and be true to yourself there can be no cheaters cos you only cheat yourself. Enjoy your training and take help from those that want to give and also remember that your motivation is not our strength but it is our desire that moves us
Its all about your character it becomes destiny. While most are dreaming of success winners wake up and work hard to achieve it, There is no giant step that does it ,it is the little steps ( training, support , friends and crew )that keep going until you reach the shore
Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are, for what you could become.
Know that ..........what the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve and It is the size of one's will which determines success. If you are not afraid of failure. you'll seldom have to face it
Positive attitude it changes does it for me .
The power to impress - the design to conquer & the ability to command respect is the greatest gift of all and most of all.................................To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift of the honour of crossing the channel.
Thanks once again to my skipper Andy - and to the all of the crew of the LOUISE JANE ( Nicole, Dan, Terry, and Jack Browns Dad -Richard Brown )who worked in absolute harmony each linking and providing a vital detail to my success and who made my dream ..........


L.V. “Thank you Mark for giving me a chance to express my thoughts."

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Swim Trek Lakes Weekender

Earlier this year I booked a weekend trip to the Lake District with Swim Trek, the aim being to finish off the summer (if you can call the recent weather a summer!) with some cold open water swims in different bodies of water, as both a confidence building exercise as well as the physical/acclimatisation benefits as oppose to the pool at the gym, (which at times bores me rigid). As well as an obvious break from the routine. We made the short trip of about 90 miles across Country on Friday and met with the other guests and Swim Trek guides at the Smallwood Hotel in Ambleside, made our introductions, had the itinerary explained then settled down for the night.

Following breakfast we drove the hour or so to Buttermere for the first swim of the day, there was about sixteen swimmers, the ages and abilities within the group varied greatly, but only two of us were to swim without wetsuits, we were grouped and began the swim at intervals according to the predicted swim times. We swam the length of the lake in what was around 15.5 degree water, the weather was OK, it was dry and only a slight breeze it felt great to be swimming without the need to turn every 25 metres, knowing we had boat support if we needed it. And what’s more it was weed and craft free. It was silent but for the splash of our group….....Bliss! After the swim and lunch, we walked for about 90 minutes to the next lake...Crummock Water, a much bigger, more scenic and impressive lake . Here there was a choice of swims, a shorter width section or a triangular swim of just over three and half km. Kelly (who by her own admission is not a swimmer) was brave enough to get in and tackled the shorter swim with breaststroke ease. I was well impressed. This was the best swim of the weekend, we really got moving and felt great at the end after 55 minutes again at 15.5 degrees.
Another drive… back the Hotel, a meal attended by almost all the guests and a late night of socialising.

Next morning and slightly delicate! A shorter drive to Coniston, where we swam over and back in another triangular route, probably only 2km or less at what was a degree warmer than the previous day. Another trek/walk through the picturesque Grizedale Forest and onto Lake Windermere for the final swim of the weekend. Here we swam for about 45 minutes in almost constant weedy water. It was a grouped swim again and we managed to get our heads down and before we knew it were back at the shore for food . Where again Kelly took on the Mother role and made sure we were all loaded with hot drinks, food and were wrapped up dry and warm. Thank you Kelly. It made a big difference you being there not only to support me as usual but also for the benefit of the others in the group.

Overall it was a great weekend and I would recommend it without hesitation. Hats off and special thanks to Lesley and Brad our guides for making the break so enjoyable in every aspect.

Granted the distances were not massive (about 11km in total) but it was another step forward and another piece of the jigsaw en route to my dream of Swimming The English Channel in 2008.

Over 23,000 metres this week , the shoulder is holding up…just......on we go.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Charlie and Jack

Just as a brief update to the below post.... late last week I showed Charlie my little boy (he is seven) a you tube video of Jack Brown, he stood and listened to the broadcast and then as cool as you like said "ok I will do a swim for him" knowing that he did a similar thing for the charity CLIC Sargent, I was delighted that he wanted to help again. Together we decided he would do a thirty minute continuous swim at David Lloyds in the indoor 25 metre pool, obviously he need a few rest/drink stops but after thirty minutes on the dot, with his mum counting, he had managed 29 lengths, he was happy to have broken the 700 metre barrier and raised a few pounds (£53.50) in the process. Well done Charlie. We are all really proud of you. You are a top man x

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Back to School

So after six rapid weeks the kids are back to school today....we will all be back to the routines just like July which literally feels like five minutes ago, its been all go what with Egypt, Dover Regatta, Shift work, Parenting and Training. Things always seem a little weird after the holidays, but at least it feels like there are few more hours in the day for training during the actual school hours. I have been managing my 20km a week without to many issues and that too will be a lot easier now time wise. Thursday sees Charlie doing a sponsored swim for the Jack Brown appeal, (his own small way of giving a little back). Then Friday I am off to the Lake District for a weekend with Swim Trek, we will be swimming in a number of Lakes and are staying in Ambleside. The water is around 15 degrees so it should be great training to round off the summer.
On the down side I have developed something of a twinge in my left shoulder, probably tendonitis or impingement pain, hopefully I can get it sorted with some nsaids, ice and massage. I expect its a fault in the recovery phase of my stroke so I will have to have that looked at before I cause any long term damage.
Other than that everything seems to be going according to plan (touch wood). Loraine has the second lot of questions which will be posted on receipt. We will update with a report on the weekend when we return.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

The L.V. Interview part 1

I recently spoke with Loraine Verghese (see post below) and asked her if she would be kind enough to be interviewed for the blog, with a view to enlightening me and other readers on her preparations for her English Channel Swim, she agreed without hesitation, so without further delay here is the first instalment, with more to follow. It would be interesting if we can get others to answer the same questions for us to compare.
MR . “Loraine, some people are aware of your previous achievements in swimming but for those of us in the dark could you give a brief re run please.”

L.V. “Firstly thanks for such a chance to answer such in depth questions!
Well I began swimming at 6 and training seriously was at 8 and half years.
I loved the water, Trained 7 days a week with two three hour sessions each day except Sunday with only one ................between the ages of 8.5 and 22 years so some may say I wasted a lot of my life but I loved it .........................and made many friends.
Got my first bronze national medal at 9 in the junior National Championships
Became the Junior National Champion at 14 yrs(1985)until 18years(1989)
Became the Senior National Champion at 15 and a half (youngest ever)(1986) and remained until 22.
Received my first South Asian Federation Gold medal at 13 and half years in Nepal (KATHMANDU)1984 and my First Bronze medal for the Junior Asian Games In 1986. Was part of the Commonwealth Games team to Edinburgh Scotland in 1986.
Stopped competitive training in 1992
Totally amassed:
Joined a medical college in 1990 and completed my degree in general medicine in 1996 ......
Came to England in 1999 to do my post graduation but instead life’s journey me a daughter Jodie and another dream began when I joined the MET in 2005 start.
In 1986 had a chance to either swim the channel (my dream then) or train in America.. I chose training as I wanted better times at my event 200m PB "2mins 04 sec" after a training camp in Fort Lauderdale where I won the coveted "Camper of the year award 1986"
Favourite event -200m
Favourite Stroke -Freestyle” although I always ended up swimming 10-12 events some times !!!

MR. "Excellent...when you first decided to swim the English Channel how long did you set aside to train, and what specific training were you doing, (distance times temperatures etc)?"
L.V. "Even before my training started I had the blessing of my mothers complete support to look after my lovely daughter Jodie whilst the training got long and tough it was a godsend ………..done with the passion any mother would feel as their daughter took up a challenge that most people in the world would think an impossible task The first of my practise for the Channel began in December 2006 and then a sequence of events started ...............a lot of cold water training down at HYDE PARK -The Serpentine as well as the cold waters of Fairlop .
The first time I dipped into the freezing water it was a shock to the system as no one really can explain what cold water actually feels like . I had such a head freeze with the water temperature being 6 degrees, the pain I endured was immense as we all know but I succeeded in staying in the water for 45mins ......................
I also realised at this point the enormity of the challenge and realised that I needed all the back up in regards to time to train from my Borough Commander who without a moment of hesitation ……….. Gave me all the backing I required and the time to train for the event which he felt was an awesome effort for a good cause.
At the same time started a lot of anaerobic training and cardiac /fat burn at the gym purely because as I stated earlier I wanted a layer of muscle before I could build up a good layer of fat . Resting pulse improved significantly each week literally.........
Flexibility after these strenuous workouts was paramount as I could feel the muscle contracting after each heavy workout. By Feb I was swimming five times a week and a distance of up to 10-15km a week. By March this increased to 15-20 and so on a gradual increase of 5- 10 km each week. Stroke technique was the most important part of this exercise as it is vital.
I got to know my stroke rate and knew how fast I was swimming at any given time. As the swimming increased the gym workouts decreased and more stretching was etched into my routine.
During May I started mentally preparing for my first dip down at Dover Harbour which was an awesome event, as although the temp. was only about 9 degrees I was so overwhelmed, after about 45 mins I knew I was getting hypothermic delusions and got out of the water ....I had only been given 15 minutes to do so I did pretty well in my eyes.
June July and August went in a my peak of distance I was training over 40 kms in a week with my main workouts just being weekends at Dover and a mid week swim only. All gym workouts came to a halt and I found that this did me good as my body was able to recover and get me ready for the next weekends workout ..................
In addition I made sure I enjoyed my training time too and when I needed a break from the continuous training up and down I did give myself a break but with the knowledge that I had already done a good swim or would do one after a while, more so the latter .
I also had many meetings with my skipper and spoke of my swim times, my needs, learnt the tides and learnt my boat and most of all told my skipper what I wanted out of him. I made this event an enjoyable one as it was a challenge of a lifetime ...........................
All my visualisation exercises were full steam ahead during the days leading up to the event ...........I had swum the channel many times over before I had actually faced it in real time ...............................!
Two weeks before the actual swim in August I ended up doing a taper session from two 7-7 back to back weekends it gradually decreased to the final two hour session on the last weekend with a few hour swims down at the beach days before with no strenuous swims . By then the adrenalin and the acceptance of the fact that the swim is only days away ……………CARB RUSH each day I gained a few pounds on the days leading up to the event.
My ethos” No guts No glory" is closely followed by “Amor est vitae essentia” and “carpe diem

MR. "What about rest and nutrition not while swimming but to adjust weight etc, I know I need to gain a gain a lot and this is a concern of mine?"
L.V. “Yes this question posed a great concern to me to and in all I had to put on just under two stone but I am aware that as a result I found that the cold did NOT get to me at all. I usually weigh 11.10 and have gone up to 13.6 and of course am now on a MAJOR DIET!!
With Nutrition I played around with Protein drinks for over four months trying to get my body build that strong muscle layer before I started piling on the pounds to provide insulation, this formula worked miracles and now losing it wisely I should be left with my muscle layer .......I found it easy to put on weight eating high carbs and many meals a day.
I never stopped the workouts though through this period so I never let my body have to feel any drastic change ...............also continuous regular massages kept my muscles supple and able to cope with a lot of lactic acid build up..........alongside was my visual training techniques which as well as rest and nutrition , were some of the most important skills taught in the early years of my career and helped me an immense amount. IE goal setting, relaxation, visualization, self talk, awareness, control, concentration ,using rituals, attribution training and periodization very very important.

M.R. "What were your needs, fears and expectations? "

L.V. “Well going back in my earlier years as a swimmer .I always found life with a challenge and it has followed me through. I love testing myself and the thrill of the unknown beckons me to push myself to new limits way of comments throughout the swim and the whiteboard was the best way to stay focused and take my mind away from the actual pain so all the scrawled messages were set out to keep me entertained and as I wanted to know the truth along the swim skipper Andy kept the promise and I never felt like I was in unknown territory .
I knew that I loved positive reinforcement..............and the attention so I made sure that everyone knew that .
Having Richard (JACKS DAD ) was the most powerful motivator as he was the most important person to me as I watched him revel in his own mental world which seemed so full of solemn thoughts .at one point in the swim I felt the connection it was as if there was only him and me fighting the same cause ............JACK!!!
Failure was never an option and I, as I always have, pushed my body beyond what I would call the comfort zone the pain is almost a HIGH as one could and would call it. I knew that I needed a group of people that would keep my morale up and keep my spirits going! most of all I knew I needed friends who cared .............cared enough to want me to go past the finish line ....
I needed a support swimmer that would get me through the difficult times and push me beyond the pain zone. Paul although our friendship was still new was a kind man who only ever had words of support whenever I spoke to him so I knew he would be perfect for my psyche ................
My expectations through all my visual training exercises had no space for a failed swim ..........I could not fathom the feeling of or thought of not being able to complete the challenge ahead .
I know that my journey is not over and there will be many more challenges along the way I will look out for them and for be grateful for all the friends. "

MR. “How did you choose your crew for the actual swim albeit you have kind of answered that in a previous question?”

L.V. “Well .......For starters high on my list, the main aim get people on the boat with a high level of morale and enthusiasm.

RICHARD BROWN - Jacks Dad to remind me of the reason to drive me across the Channel
my support swimmer.......who had the faith in me to encourage him across the Channel .......likewise I could recognise the fact that he was backing me 100percent .I had total faith in him...........NEVER A DOUBT even though I did not require him to enter the water and to give me any pace support whilst swimming as I decided to take another challenge up whilst swimming and that was …………swim alone -SOLO .Thank you Paul for all your support
ANDY ..........My pilot whom I spent a lot of time allowing him to get to know the drive in me .............. to realise my dream and ambition.
to know how I face hardship and pain
NICOLE GALLON ................... A friend who knew my spirit and ambition and who was fun and ready for a laugh as well as hard work.
TERRY BARRON...................who showed so much enthusiasm when he knew I was doing it ...... I knew he would be a good crew member.
DARREN ELLIOT ............................. a friend whose wife I had just recently befriended and when she knew I needed good support she offered her husbands support on the boat for me to help with documenting it all.

And lastly have to say I loved the white board most of all as it helped me stay in close contact with all the crew as I knew constantly what was going on with the crew and this allowed me to take my mind off the swim for many hours .........................”

That's all for part one, Loraine has the second installment of questions which will appear soonest.