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:
Longer swims needed
I really need to start doing some longer swims. So that my body is used to swiming for long periods. I am going to dover this weekend and I am going to do 10 miles in one day. So this will be a great start.
10 miles, 2 twixes and 4 jammy dodgers
I went to Dover for the weekend I swam 3 miles on Saturday, then got up early and swam 10 miles in 5 and a half hours.
This is by far my longest swim in time and distance. The last 3 miles were relatively hard. But the other 7 were fine.
It is also the first time I have eaten while swimming and tried Twixes and Jammy dodgers. They were both fine and all that was available. I’d prefer Bananas and oat cakes.
Lake windomere swim
Today I swam lake Windermere. IT took 8 hours and 11 minutes.
Swimming the length of lake Windermere is a really long swim and good achievement so I am really pleased.
It was a really long hard swim. Firstly my goggles broke as I was about to get in, but luckily my friend had a spare pair. Unfortunately they fogged up the entire time so I had really low visibility.
The lake is very long, and I swam at least 12 miles. The weather was also not in my favor and the wind was in my face which really slowed me down and caused some big (ish) waves which I had to swim through.
My shoulder which has been bugging me since my 10 mile swim ached from the first hour onwards which slowed me down. I am pretty sure I have impingement syndrome which is rubbing of the bicep tendon due to over reaching in my stroke.
The swim went on and on though. Just before half way it was getting really hard, but the people on the boat helped me on by telling me it was only 4 miles to go when it was probably around 7 miles!
The last 3 miles were the hardest because I could see the end but it didn’t seem to get any closer.
It is painful now I have finished and I carried on so I am happy that I am ready for the channel. I felt fine at the end (apart from my shoulder)
Lessons from Windermere
I learnt a lot of good things from swimming lake Windermere. I can now confidently swim for over 8 hours and feel ok
I must take spare equipment goggles etc..
I must go a little faster than I did in Windermere. Apparently my legs were low in the water so i will have a lesson with Edward Williams to sort this
I must try not to over reach to look after my shoulder.
Every 30 minutes for water
Every hour for snacks
Every 2 hours for a vitamin mineral and energy drink
Also they need to be quick – 2 mins Max Treading water was hard
Because of my shoulder this is the last long swim I will do before swimming the channel in under a month. But I am confident my shoulder will be fine.
Yesterday I went for a practise swim in the Cam and a swan was over 50 meters away with 7 signets. It came to see me and then chased after me, it got really close to hiting me so I had dive out of the river.
Bad weather in the channel
Last week all the channel swim atempts had to be cancelled due to bad weather. This is really worrying me at the moment. As it would be such a let down not even to get a chance to swim.
I had my last swimming lesson with Ed Williams today, he gave me some great tips to work on for my swim. I am really confident I can do it so fingers crossed about the swim.
Preparing in Dover
I am spending a week in Canterbury preparing for my swim. In this last week I am swimming just 2miles/day. I am also getting all my equipment and food together. I am getting at least 2 of everything in case I loose or break anything. The mental battle will be the hardest when swimming, I need to have postive thoughts and keep my mind busy. To keep my mind busy I will be singing (in my head), counting strokes is really effective, making lists of my top ten films ect…, I may also go over a whole films in my head.
Good weather in sight
After a week of waiting the weather is finally looking good this weekend. However this means the tide will be a bit stronger and so I will have to swim further.
I am really pleased, it is such a relief. However it looks like we will set off at 2am on Sunday morning! which is an ealy start. This will be good though because after 4 hours the sun will come up and it will feel like a fresh start.
The wait for the swim was incredibly frustrating. We waited 10 days and ended up going 2 days after my tide window. So it was no longer a spring tide which is much weaker.
The weather looked ok but I was told it would be a bit rough.
We left at 1:30pm I swam from the boat to the beach by the white cliffs which was great. I felt good and was incredibly excited and relieved to be able to attempt it.
Unfortunately because of the wind I had the boats diesel fumes in my face from my first breath which was unpleasant.
I felt fine for the first 2 hours however the captain kept telling me to speed up because I was caught in a strong tide although he didn’t why or for how long which would have been really helpful. The waves were also getting really bad at this point and the motion of the boat was making me feel sick, After 3 hours I felt ill because of the fumes and the waves and didn’t want to eat or drink. I carried on but was then sick. Unfortunately at this point I had to stop mainly because the tide was too strong for me to pause and recover. It was intensely frustrating to stop but the right decision. Whilst I didn’t cross the channel I know that on a calm day I would have, and I learned a lot and have become a confident strong and effortless swimmer.
I also raised around 1,800 for the teenage cancer trust which has made me feel a lot better knowing I have helped a great cause.