Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Minor Setback ?

Things have been ticking along nicely with three fairly consistent weeks at 21, 25, and 30km and I have been fortunate enough to get in a few lengthy sessions with no side effects, normally I start all pool swims with a one kilometre warm up, my shoulders usually feel like they are stuffed with rice crispies for the first 15 minutes after which I am sorted...until this morning that is, I had planned to do session before work so was in the pool by 6.30 ish only to have some moderate to disturbing pain in the middle head of the right deltoid. I decided to cut short the swim rather than aggravate the situation. I sat in the sauna a while and applied liberal amounts of tiger balm to the effected area then departed for work. I was on a development day which meant 'death by PowerPoint'. I have now returned home and applied more embrocation and intend to take some nsaids to ease any inflammation and hopefully the pain. Having pencilled in a biggish swim for Thursday before nights I am now in limbo and waiting to see how the shoulder develops over the next few days.

As you might imagine I am disappointed at this set back but hope it is minor...like other injuries, they are inevitable with the amount of training as my body adapts, better for this to happen now than in the summer.

Links....If you want to see a stack of swim related articles you gotta have a look at the website Swim Like a Fish, its packed with interesting stuff... in addition to that, I recently found Anne Steele's website, it is definitely worth a read, she too swam last year with my skipper Andy King. So I was delighted to again see yet more positive comments, her link has been added to the right hand side together with the others. I have also been keeping an eye on Chris Pountney's website who also swims later this year...... more news when I have it.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Sunny Lowry MBE

email from Mike Read :
Dear All,

Channel Swimming Association Limited

President: Sunny Lowry MBE 2000-2007

It is with great sadness that we have to report the death of our President 2000-2007, Sunny Lowry, at the age of 97, she was the oldest living Channel swimmer. She enjoyed life and was looking forward to her 100th birthday. She took on the mantle of President of the Channel Swimming Association on the death of Comdr, Gerald Forsberg, who had been the Association President for 37 years. A wonderful, gentle, kind lady who loved Channel swimming and channel swimmers. She devoted her life to Channel swimming and helping others and only stood down as our President in November 2007. As much as she enjoyed her annual visits to the Dover Regatta and to the CSA Annual Dinner and Presentation evening she admitted that she was finding it hard work travelling by bus down to Dover from Warrington. On her last visit the bus driver kindly stopped outside her hotel.

Manchester born and proud of it, Sunny needs little introduction in swimming circles having been involved in one aspect or another for over 75 years. A visit to the Dover Museum offers a fine display of her Channel memorabilia and will serve as a lasting tribute.

Her knowledge of all aspects of swimming, training, teaching the disabled, lifesaving, pilot lifesaving and long distance was immense and few people today can claim to have been coached by Jabez Wollfe and kissed by Australia’s swimming star, Ian Thorpe. She always said that one of her proudest moments was having the opportunity to present Ian Thorpe with one of his gold swimming medals at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games. In the summer of 1932 she undertook her channel training in Dover Harbour always accompanied by the Betts Brothers in a rowing boat. Her first Channel attempt that year was ended after 14 hours when she was a mile from Calais. In 1933 she moved to Boulogne so that she could train in the harbour there. On her second Channel attempt she was caught in a thunderstorm off Folkestone at 03:30 after 9 hours of swimming and the conditions became so rough that her crew decided to pull her out. At her third attempt she was successful landing at St Margaret’s Bay, but not even this was plain sailing. For the final 200 yards across the rocks and to dry land, she had to be escorted by the Betts Brothers in a rowing boat and because of this, her pilot argued that he could only complete her chart to the point were the rowing boat took over. She told us that as a result of this, the very organisation to which she became President, made the days after her swim very nerve wracking. Her swim, from France to England in 15 hours 41 minutes on 29th. August, 1933, was finally ratified and she became the 7th Lady in the world (and the 15th Swimmer overall) ever to conquer the English Channel.
Her success is all the more incredible when you appreciate that these were the days of “leather motoring type” goggles, when communication was by pigeon and local weather forecasts had not been invented.

Sunny married Bill Anderson, both were members of the Swimming Teachers Association. She taught swimming and life saving in Warrington. Bill was particularly interested in helping the disabled and partially paralysed to swim, which he did with great success. With Sunny, he started the Pilot Life Saving Scheme following a tragedy on Lake Windermere.

At the age of 16 she became a committee member of her local swimming club, she was a founder member of three swimming clubs as well as a founder member of the British Long Distance Swimming Association.

In 2005 she was invited to St James’s Palace for the Maritime Reception and had the privilege of being presented to H.M. The Queen and other members of the Royal Family.

The Channel Swimming Association was delighted when we heard that our President had been awarded the MBE in the 2006 New Year’s Honours list for her services to swimming in the North East.

Outside of her Channel swimming activities Sunny was a constant and indefatigable supporter of Manchester’s Victoria Baths, turning out in all weathers and at every opportunity to support it’s fund raising efforts. She was delighted to have been one of the people presented to Prince Charles when he visited the Baths. She can proudly claim to have been a driving force in the success of Manchester’s Victoria Baths restoration success in winning £3.5 million in the first of the BBC Restoration programmes.

She was also extremely proud of her connections with Manchester High School for girls.

Her legendary swimming achievements (not least for being one of the 'Bikini' Swim Costume pioneers!), her consistent contribution to our Sport and her gracious acclaim of her contemporaries and peers endeavours, was her hallmark. She will be long remembered by long distance swimmers around the world and greatly missed.

Channel swimmers around the world join the CSA Board in sending her family our deepest sympathy.

Friday, 15 February 2008


Progress has been made on a number of fronts this week, firstly and perhaps most importantly I have received confirmation email from Julie Bradshaw MBE, (CSA Ltd secretary) confirming receipt and process of my swim registration. That more or less completes the administration side of things, all that remains is the reservation of accommodation for the tidal dates and training weekends in Dover, the Lakes and Cork. I have emailed a couple of recommended hotels in Dover but am yet to receive a reply.

Secondly I am delighted to say the facility to donate online to J.A.C.K. is now live, I have distributed a number of sponsor forms at work and at the pool, there are a lot of pledges, Thank-you all. I would however much prefer where possible for people to make use of the Justgiving widget thus enabling the J.A.C.K foundation to benefit from the 28% it can reclaim through gift aid, the monetary advantages speak for themselves.

Training wise it has been a reasonable week, I am already over the 20 thousand metres, have had a dip outside at 6 degrees as per the previous post and had a 10km time trial, I wanted to swim the ten kilometres on a specific time, I managed to keep every 1000m within 15 seconds of each other with times of 15:45 to 16 mins. I took 15 seconds rest between each km to feed and flip over the counter. A great improvement on this time last year when I had never swam more than 4km in a session, I felt good afterwards with no shoulder pain.

The most stressful area at the moment is weight gain. It is difficult for me, when training most days burning calories in the warm pool to take in sufficient food to compensate, as well make gains. I am using supplements but don't expect great weight gains until such times as the swims are restricted to long weekend swims only? Any advice on this issue would be appreciated!

Had a little check of the calendar today too, its just 25 weeks til the start of my tides, and about 14 weeks until Cork... to make it worse below is a photograph of the swim start at Kinsale, Cork, do you think Ned is trying to frighten me!?

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Naughty Boy!

Tuesday 12th February was a frosty, foggy morning. Kelly had a physio appointment for her spinal problem and I was due to start work yet again at 3pm after a weekend of nights and a quick return on Monday. I was tired out to say the least. Looking out of the window at 7.30am to find the cars frozen solid didn't inspire me to go training, we had arranged to meet at the gym just after ten. I had around 90 minutes to either, go back to sleep, start a session at the pool or just sit and fill my face til she arrived.
Coffee in hand, I had a quick check of my emails and favourite websites to see several pictures and write ups of swimmers braving the cold water. I decided to make use of the spare time and headed to Seaton. It was really thick fog and took much longer to travel the ten miles or so due to the conditions, however, on arrival at the beech, there was not a breath of wind and the Sea was pan flat! it looked so inviting....but I was alone...I could just imagine the reaction of KGB if she knew what I was contemplating, the beech was deserted so I wasnt going to alarm any dog walkers. I 'toe tested' the water through my crocs..Yep it was about the same as expected.. COLD!
Jogging up the sand for 50 metres to generate a little 'inner fire' and get my head together, I returned to my dry bag stripped and walked into the 43degree F water (around 6.5 degrees C) getting to chest height I dipped under to completely submerge, the worst was now over, initially breast stroke followed by regular freestyle, my breathing took slighty longer than normal to control but settled eventually..around the same time as the arrival of my brain freeze! I then spent the remainder of the dip switching between breast stroke and freestyle to save the ice headache. Just ten minutes today after what seems like ages away from the open water, I am completey delighted I made the return and my paranoid guilt has left me once more.
I returned to the gym met KGB and told her where I had been, got the expected reprimand and headed for a pool set, it was worth the telling off, though I would not do it if it was rough. It was just too nice to resist.
Almost forgot, Kelly then had a freestyle lesson and made massive improvements, she will be making waves in the fast lane before we know it!

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Just a quickie...

Managed to drag my sorry butt out of bed yesterday after night shifts to get to the GP for my CSA medical, went fine except for the fact that the Doc wanted to send me for a chest X-Ray (I had a chest infection in March 2006!!) So off to the local Hospital slip in hand to get the job sorted, only to find that the Doc hadn't signed the said slip, back to the surgery for the autograph and return to the X-Ray department. I understand it was fine and now await the written report before submitting the papers to the CSA Ltd, I am quite hopeful that my nice understanding Doc might just wave the recommended fee of £165 though there is no way I am going to get away with not paying for the X-Ray and report (I told you it wasn't cheap on the last post).

Ned emailed to state that there are 52 swimmers for Cork ...brrrrrrr

Training has been a bit stop start this week, should hit 20k though and over 100km for the month of January so not too bad.......back soon......just keep swimming, so they say.....