For as long as I can remember, even before I learned how to swim at age 13, I have dreamt of swimming The English Channel.
The English Channel is slightly less than 21 miles straight across, but as far as I know, no one has ever been able to swim straight across. It is not atypical to cover 30 miles during a swim.
During the swimming season, the water temperature bobs around 57 to 63 degrees F. And, no, you are not allowed to use a wetsuit. You can use a swim suit, cap, goggles and ear plugs. (No MP3 players or anything else that would help you keep pace either.)
It is now 40 years since I learned how to get across a 25 yard pool and I am trying to join the Half Century Club: the 57 people, who were over the age of 50 when they successfully swam across The Channel. In total, there are only about 1,700 people and about 300 Americans who have successfully swum The Channel.
How long will it take? The answer really depends on the day and on me. I know two swimmers, who are both better swimmers than I am at any distance, that took more than 14 hours - so I am trying to be mentally prepared for 16 hours. But the slowest person over the age of 50 took more than 28 hours - I am asking the team to be patient with me for 20 hours. If it is a great (calm) day, I hope to go faster than 16 hours. If it is a rough day, I hope to be tough enough to hang on.
I made an attempt September 2012. Still not sure what prevented completion of the swim, but I have some “unfinished business” with the Channel. To see the course I swam click here. To read more about it on my blog click here.
When do I swim? I don't know. The way it works is you book a 'slot' with a particular captain on a particular tide. My team and I have the first swimmable slot (day) with Andy King on the tide that starts August 14th.
If you would like to follow the swim click here, the GPS Tracker will update our progress during the swim.
Please wish us luck!
So, after successfully getting across the English Channel a couple of people asked for advice.
I answered in emails and thought they are my most complete recording of my training philosophy. I think it takes three things for you to be as prepared as possible to swim the English Channel and these emails cover two of them. The three things are being in shape to handle the distance, being able to thrive in moderately cold water (moderate compared to ice swimmers) for a long time and project management. Project management is a very big deal and if you don't have a coach it becomes an even bigger deal. These emails address the first two items...