Monday, August 22, 2011

Le Channel here we come!

Dear Team

Hope you've had a great weekend - some sensational weather for this time of year - I even got a stupid sun tan mark on my forehead from swimming yesterday in the river!

Just a quick note to say that the remaining three of us who will be attempting the English Channel in the 5th to 10th September tidal window will be leaving this week for our final preparations and readiness in the UK. Paul Downie left yesterday and will be joined by myself and Andrew Hunt this Friday. We're all very excited and are praying for good weather.

We were calculating the other day how long we've all been training for this swim and it works out at 2.5 to 3 years, which is quite amazing really. Obviously we haven't all been focused purely on this swim for that long, but many of us started this journey with our first attempts at a Rottnest Solo swim in February 2009 and as such the idea of giving the English Channel a crack has grown from the enjoyment of training and competing at this local event. So, all you new prospective Rottnest Solo swimmers who'll be starting training with us this October for the Rottnest Swim - beware! The English Channel can be quite addictive!!

We've all done as much training as we physically possibly can and are in great shape. Just last week I covered 71km in training and am swimming faster now than I have ever done in my life, albeit a little on the porky side in an effort to keep warm! It's a different kind of fitness though - ask me to swim a fast 100m or even fast 400m and I'd be slower than I was before I started, such is the nature of developing our diesel engines as we have done. I had a cracking swim yesterday and covered just under 18km at an average pace (including stops) of 13'30" per km, or 1'21" per 100m. This gives me the confidence that I am as prepared as I could hope to be, however, as we've seen from both Wayne's extraordinary double attempt at the Channel and also more recently, local legend and regular top-5 Rottnest Solo finisher, Ben Hewitt, who got to within 1 mile of the coast of France, the Channel is an unforgiving place and you just cannot tell how long it's going to take you or indeed if you'll actually get there. Even Geoff, Lisa and Ceinwen were separated by nearly 5 hours and yet these guys regularly finish with 15 minutes of each other across to Rottnest each year. You just don't know and have to do your best on the day, given the conditions you are presented with.

We'll keep you posted on of our exploits as we go. In theory, all three of us should be swimming on the same day, which should make for some interesting viewing online your end!

I will be at the following sessions this week before handing over to our wonderful coaching staff on Friday:

  • Monday 7am and 9.30am
  • Tuesday 5.30am and 6.30am
  • Wednesday 5.30am and 9.30am great to see you all in some capacity before I head off.

I'd just like to thank you all sincerely for all your effort, support and interest in our little "big" challenge especially over the last 6 months. It's been a truly great experience training with 6 other likeminded individuals and we've had some wonderful support also from our respective support crews and paddlers for our long weekend swims. Without you guys we simply could not have made this work. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Allez Swim Smooth!!!


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