Thursday, 17 February 2011


The first issue of the all new Open Water Swimming magazine arrived today and I must say its very good, lots of reading material in 66 glossy pages well worth the fee. Get your subcription from

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Training resumes...

Last Monday (7 Feb 2011) I finally returned to training after exactly a month away from the pool and work, it was a tentative start, the injury still being present especially noticeable whilst sneezing, coughing, lifting etc. I therefore relegated myself to the slow lane at the gym where I noticed the water was very cloudy and warm, not that the pool attendnts seemed too bothered ?

So heres what I did by way of easing back to the routine;
Monday 7th 1 x 1600m steady
Tuesday 8th 2 x 1600m steady
Wednesday 9th 3 x 1600m steady
Thursday 10th 3 x 2000m better pace
Friday/Saturday rest, work/childcare
Sunday 13th 3450m hard..week total 19,050m

Monday 14th 10 x 750m poor ventilation / chlorination stopped play, I began coughing a lot after about 5km and knew this would be bad news for my intercostal muscles so called it a day after 7500m

Tuesday 15th 60mins / 3000m of drills, weak side and hypoxic breathing which seemed to result in a migraine..I am pleased to say my chest and ribs have coped with the return to the pool and my migraine has eased enough for me to go to work in an hours time.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Ned's Santa Barbara Solo

This goes very well with Neds guest post , I think you get a taste of his character and the sort of man he is.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Guest Post Ned Denison

To be frank, Ned Denison is one of the most inspirational, motivational, welcoming and genuine men I have ever met. When I first became serious about open water swimming Ned was one of the first people to call me and offer oceans (pardon the pun) of advice, he is a legend in Ireland especially for what he has promoted at Sandycove..I asked him if he would write/provide a guest post for the blog and as expected he responded without delay..his swims include: Channels (English & Santa Barbara), Around the Islands (Jersey, Valentia, Manhattan and Cobh) and Lake Zurich.
BIG THANKYOU to Ned for this and his continuing support.

BEFORE you go and book an English Channel Solo Swim - get in a 6 mile open water swim

Too many swimmers are trying to jump from a 1 or 2 mile open water swim to the Mount Everest of open water swim - the 21 mile English Channel.

Set your goal at a 6 mile distance in the late summer of 2011 - it is VERY DIFFERENT from a 2 miler. Your nutrition and hydration needs become much more important to meet and stay ahead of. These together with stroke rate are important factors in staying warm. The mental processes (or lack thereof!) and disorientation in the open water becomes a bigger issue with longer distances.

1. Plan now to do a 4 mile open water swim early in the summer. Do it safely with a support boat etc. It doesn’t have to be an event. It can be just you and your trusty kayaker (near shore) or Rib and crew further out.

2. Start now to find a carbo drink that you can stomach. Over 6 miles you will need to drink about one litre of liquid before the swim and about 2 litres during the swim. These volumes can double or halve depending on the swimmer and the day. This can simply be something like Lucozade...or a carbo powder that you mix with water (many marathon swimmers in the UK use Maxim). We had a swimmer do a 12.5 mile channel, drinking orange juice and eating mashed potatoes out of a plastic cup - SO it is really only important that you get the liquid and same carbs (electrolytes and protein are advanced topics - worry about them for swims over 6 miles). By March - EVERY swimming workout you do should include drinking at least 500ml of the stuff afterwards or during the workout.

It's really important to get in quality calories that taste good and are easy to digest. You have four options for calories: drinks, gels, beans, bars. It's really important to be happy with your food. "Fueling" with something that you like makes you keep going from feeding to feeding. It will make it mentally and physically possible to keep swimming longer and longer. If you don't like the taste of your fuel and/or it upsets your stomach, you'll stop eating, and that would be really, really bad! Other things people seem to enjoy as fuel on swims: fig bars, bananas, Jaffa cakes, etc. It's amazing the things you'll come up with to try. Only thing – avoid drinks with caffeine during the swim.

If you really want to keep it simple - but drink your carbo drink. "Eating" involves more treading water, more chews and a longed idle period in which to get cold!

3. Figure out how often you need to "fuel" to stay ahead of your fuel and hydration needs. People seem to “fuel” at a wide range of intervals, from one hour to every 15 minutes. You can start with every 30 minutes and see how that feels. If you start to feel low or go through a struggling phase, feed every 20 minutes and then alter that according to how you are feeling. If you wait until you’re hungry or thirsty to fuel, it’s too late!! You have to fuel before you actually want it. (have you crew implement the agreed timing) Many of you will not want to stop to fuel during the swim. Wait until you are much more experienced before you try a 6 mile swim without fuel - trust me fuel for the 6 miler!

Also consider how high your metabolism is. If it's high, you'll definitely need to refuel often. If your metabolism is lower you'll get away with eating less. If you struggle to stay warm in cooler water, you'll also want to feed more often, or take in more calories at each feed. The most important part of this exercise is to come up with a schedule for longer distances and then stick with it, adjusting it only as you discover exactly what your individual needs are over time.

4. Learn to tread water and drink in deep water (you can master this in the deep end of the pool). Do a few marathon pool swims to allow you to begin figure out your ideal feeding intervals sooner rather than later. You can then translate that into your 4 mile training swim in early summer in preparation for the 6 miler.

5. Work up steadily your weekly swimming yardage:

Minimum 8,000 meters per week by March
Minimum 10,000 meters per week by May
These are more. If you are below these numbers - seriously reconsider

6. Do longer pool sessions over the winter. Two hour sessions are much better than 45 minute sessions

7. Plan out your weekly yardage goals and follow your training progress. You can’t fool a daily pencil recording your distance on each day you swim. There are no fudge factors with simple addition.

8. Take a minimum of 1 day/week rest day. This could be as much as a full week every few weeks depending on age and condition. The key is to stay fresh mentally and not get injured. But don’t get lazy, either. The little gnomes are everywhere with their nasty voices of REST and QUIT or THAT’S ENOUGH FOR ONE DAY. Shout them down if you have to. Yep, right there in the pool. You’ve got a plan. You know your rest days. Keep it moving forward.

9. Interval training is important to building / maintaining speed and for being able to maintain a steady pace over long distances. Example - swim 20 times 100 meters each on a 2 minute interval (or faster or slower). Hint 100 times is about the 6 mile distance!

10. Train your brain. You should think about the upcoming swim every day now. Every time you are in the pool – imagine the start, imagine fueling and how it will feel walking (running) out to the beach. This MUST be one of your bigger plans for the year. Make it an important part in your life.

Dream - Prepare - Succeed

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Art and The English Channel

I obtained a copy of this booklet last year sometime and thought I would share it with the more artistically minded amongst you, nice little project for a worthy cause. Thanks for your efforts and contribution Jen.

Swimming The Channel... Jenny Rice Graphic Design

The tide, weather and the speed of the swimmer all determine the course that a swimmer will take across the 21 miles of sea between England and France. A series of sculptures based upon the course of different Channel swims were photographed at Dover Harbour. These photographs formed a publication that was available to all the swimmers involved in the project and the potential Channel swimmers who started their training at Dover.

The booklets are for sale for £12 (£14 inc. P&P) with £5 per copy going to the Swim Loch Ness charity, Afghan Mother and Child Rescue.

If you would like a copy of the book, please email

Update from Jenny.
A few words on my Channel project:

I began this project after seeing the Serpentine Ladies relay team Channel chart - they missed the Cap and ended up getting swept so far down the west coast they actually went off the chart. I spoke to Nick Adams and he helpfully showed me all the charts he had from both his swims and other teams he had been involved with. People on the Channel chat group also sent me their charts after Nick emailed them about my work so I built up a substantial collection of charts from the world record through to Lisa Cummins' 35 hour two way swim.

The difficulty for me was to produce something that moved things on from the beautiful admiralty charts. Initially my ideas remained flat and 2D - but as soon as I started working with the map in a 3 dimensional way I got a lot more excited about the project. Once the final sculptures were made, I took them down to Dover on the first weekend of Channel training to photograph. The weather was perfect - grey and drizzly - and I spent a couple of hours before my swim taking pictures of them in the sand, in the water, against the sky and on the rocks. It all came together beautifully. Some of the swimmers whose charts I had used were there that weekend to see what I had been working on and why I'd been sending nagging emails asking for all their details.

I had no plans to make the book, it was suggested by one of my tutors, and as that developed I realised it could be something that could be sold and link back to one of the swims. The Serpentine Ladies relay team (whose chart I used) had swum the Channel in 2008 in aid of Afghan Mother and Child Rescue, a small charity with one of it's Patrons being a Serpentine swimmer. That summer the team had reformed with a couple of different swimmers (including myself) and we were planning to swim the length of Loch Ness for the same charity (we completed the swim in August, in 13 hours and 23 minutes). Sales of the booklet have so far have added a modest £100 to our total (around £7000 which is going towards building a hospital purely for women and children in the remote Panjsher valley in Afghanistan).

I do still have copies left, so please contact me if you would like one. For further information here are some links -

Thursday, 3 February 2011


I am slowly healing from my intercostal injury thanks to improved medication from the Doc and much rest, though I am going insane with the lack of training and becoming slightly paranoid regarding my fitness level and time remaining before this years events commence.
To that end, I was reading an old book and came across this 'miracle cure' pity its about 60 years old!! enjoy