Despite enjoying swimming I have never taken the time or had the foresight to ask a coach for some tips. I have been the classic “I love swimming but struggle to breathe”.
So now I am determined to change all that.
I have therefore found a great challenge which is to swim the channel in the summer.
Swimming the channel will be a real achievement for me. I recommend everyone to always have a goal. A goal is a rudder which steers you in the direction of achievement and satisfaction.
In training for the channel I am keeping a log of the distance I swim which has been on-going since August 2008.
Below is a diary of how I started my training journey.
I will put key points here and achievements:
Last Kicking only session
Since doing kicking only in the pool with a float, I have been overtaken not only by normally swimmers but also by most people (of all ages!) kicking with a float. From studying them though I beleive I have finaly got it.
It is all about th speed you kick, small fast strokes.
I got my 25m time down to 36 seconds which is a massive improvement.
I have been swimming in Jesus green twice this week. It really is an excellent pool and perfect for my training. It is 91m long so you really get into your stroke. It is also 13 degrees, which I found really cold and I couldn’t stop shivering afterwards.
I must buy a wetsuit because i will need one for the pool and the Chanel.
4 hour swim
I swam for 4 hours in abbey pools this week. This is by far the longest swim I have done. I found it realatively easy and didnt run out of energy or ache afterwards.
This has given my confidence a great boost.
I went for my first proper swim in the sea on Sunday. I swam 1 mile in Dover.
It was very hard to begin with because there was no visibility in the water and it is rougher than swimming pools. But I completed the mile non stop which was my target for the day.
Despite it being hard I did it which has given me a massive confidence boost.
I also spoke to someone who works at the pier and he told me if you can complete 16 lengths (16 miles) this is the equivalent to the channel (24 miles) due to currents. So this is my next target.
3 miles in the sea
I swam 3 lengths of the harbour at Dover today. It was so much easier today than last week when I really struggled. The last length felt really easy.
I must now organise a swim to the isle of white.
Sailing accross the channel
Last week I sailed across the channel to get some perspective on what it will be like. I also learnt all about how the tide works in the channel. I got to see how busy the shipping lane was and there were some massive ships I am going to have to avoid.
The tide changes every 6 hours, which means depending on how long your swim you need to have half in one direction and half in the other so that it cancels itself out.
I also got to swim in the sea with no land in sight. This was a really good experience and I found the vastness and depth of the sea intimidating. But it was an excellent experience and the water was a really clear dark green
Old Hunstanton to Heacham
Today I swam 4 miles from Old Hunstanton to Heacham.
The swim was really different, I saw 5 Jelly fish and lots of crabs. I hit a jelly fish with my head at one point which put me off my stroke for a while.
It only took me 2 hrs and 35 mins. Which was quick considering I wasn’t in a rush. Also I felt fine at the end and could definitely have done it again.
This was last week.
I decided I needed to get used to swimming on my own in the sea. This was a big challenge for me because I need someone on the beach keeping an eye out for sharks!
This was obviously an irrational fear I needed to get over.
Anyway I swam 2 miles on my own, then got out for a drink. I really didn’t want to get back in (because I was exhausted) but eventually I did and I swam a further 4 miles.
I am really pleased I got over swimming alone and managed to continue when I wanted to stop.
This week I have decided I need a challenge, so I am going to swim 21 miles in 7 days. I have already swam 7 miles so it is going well.
Dover to Calais is 21 miles in a straight line.
Except I got cramp after the first 2 miles. But I continued swimming so this is a good sign.
14 miles to go!
21 miles completed
I finished the 21 miles on sunday. The hardest part was fitting in the swimming because it took a total of 12 hours. I swam the following:
Monday =4 miles
Tuesday = 3 miles
Wednesday = 3.5 miles
Friday = 2.5 miles (in Histon lake with all the tri athletes.)
Saturday = 6 miles
Sunday = 2 miles
The fact it took me a week in total puts in perspective how long it will take.