Training for the Channel is best done in the Channel. Obviously, not everyone lives close by so most swimmers use their local pool and open water locations such as lakes, ponds, rivers etc to gain acclimatisation prior to their relay or solo event. No two days in the Channel are ever the same, the challenge that draws people to want to do it is also the reason why many fail: the combination of wind, tide, weather, shipping, pollution, jellyfish and other similar hazards are factors that can end a strong swimmers best effort. Luck is needed and also diligent preparation, as exhaustion, hypothermia, sea sickness and muscle/soft tissue injuries end the attempts of many who did not encounter the problems listed above.
Coldwater Culture plays the game of if's: When in town, if the weather is favourable and Sea Leopard is not otherwise booked by another party - they go for a swim.
We met at 8am on the Saturday morning, a few of the swimmers had been out before, a few were new. The new ones were a little apprehensive, but despite being overcast (which can happen in summer) the water temperature was around 15oC, so not much different to the start of the season averages. Even in warmer months, large ships can churn up the water from below so a variation in temperature is not unusual. The idea of these training trips is to practice following the boat, get used to swimming in sea that is not protected by harbour walls or the land and to see how the motion of the boat affects those on board waiting to swim - no point booking a slot or committing to a swim if the experience is totally dire. Happily there was only one person who felt sea sick today, and they hadn't tried preventative pills prior to the trip, so with a good swim done a return will be made to try again.
|Leaving Dover Marina- Dan Earthquake, Victoria Hill, Nicky Graham, Anji Page, John Barry & Julie Ryan|
|Victoria Hill with the famous White Cliffs in the Background|
|Nicky Graham with Varne Ridge and the Warren in the background|
It was a good humoured trip, Julie Ryan who had been in the Winter Swimming Council Relay team that were successful back in June accompanied usand gave advice to some of the new swimmers.
Please contact me if you would like to book Sea Leopard for a training trip.
- Stuart Gleeson