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Marine Parade
Dover, CT16
United Kingdom

This website is for people wanting to train to swim the English Channel.



2017 Seminar Series overview

Each Saturday in June will include a seminar to help you prepare for your big day.  The topics should include everything that you need to know, and if there is something that you want to understand that is not covered, just ask - we're here to help!

The following topics are being covered:

  • 3rd June:  Musculoskeletal issues / Ask a Pilot
  • 10th June:  Pool training / Feeding / Kit
  • 17th June:  Mental preparation
  • 24th June:  Medical

Sign up below or scroll down to find out more about these sessions or look in the dates & altered sessions section. 



Emma France

Emma is a Master Practitioner of NLP and a trained hypnotist.  Both are very useful (and yes they were used on the beach last season!).

Emma was not a club swimmer as a child, and swimming the Channel was not a life-long dream.  She only learned to swim properly (with her face in the water) in 2000.  Emma's first adventure in the Channel was a last minute Channel relay in 2005 which the team finished in 9hrs 40mins.  Emma thought the next logical step was for a solo but that was overly optimistic and failed in her first attempt in 2007.  She dusted herself off and tried again in 2009, this time successfully in 17hrs 37mins.  Five years later and after re-learning to swim with Ray Gibbs, Emma swam the Channel again, this time knocking over 4.5 hours off her time and finished in 12hrs 58mins.  

Since that first relay in 2005 Emma has successfully completed 9 English Channel relays, 2 solos, Round Jersey and Jersey to France solos and completed most of SCAR.  Emma is currently 2 : 3 with the Channel with a total of 3 unsuccessful swims, all with different stories.  She has learned as much from failures as she has from success.

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Ray Gibbs MIOS. FIOS. 


Ray Gibbs took up swimming in his mid twenties when he began competing in Triathlons. A Channel relay in 1992 began his love of open water swimming.

Starting from scratch and frustrated by the lack of clear information on how to become
a distance swimmer, he watched the technique of the talented ex-GB swimmers at his local masters club and realised that natural swimmers engaged the water, rather than snatched at it, breathed rhythmically, rather than gasped, and streamlined their
bodies to slip through the water instead of fighting their way through it.

He also studied with the ASA in order to learn the theory behind what he was seeing. He became one of the fastest swimmers in his age group not by being fitter or stronger than the next man, but by using sound swimming technique. His relatively recent journey from ‘holiday splasher’ to fast and efficient open water swimmer gives him an empathy with his clients as they learn, first the basics and then the more advanced propulsive techniques of front crawl.

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Stuart Gleeson

Stuart Gleeson has lived in Folkestone all his life and been active in going to sea for many
years, both as a fisherman, crewman, and a pilot for Channel Swims. A keen SCUBA diver,
Stuart is passionate about water safety and is constantly updating and adding to his
qualifications. Certified as an RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster, Stuart is qualified and
proficient in First Aid, Sea Survival, Fire Fighting and holds a VHF radio licence. 

As well as Channel Crossings, Stuart provides training trips for experienced and
prospective Channel Swimmers with charter packages to suit all training needs and
requirements including swim coaching.

Stuart's escort boat is 'Sea Leopard', a Lochin 33 Sportsfisherman.


Paul Massey BA(Hons) MSc MCSP SRP

Paul is the principal physiotherapist for The Partnership, Physio and pilates centre in
Ashford, Kent and has a particular interest in sports injuries, having worked for a
number of years with Olympic sportsmen at the Games and at home with their injuries
and programmes for prevention. He works closely with governing bodies of athletics,
swimming and hockey, both at home and internationally, and has attended numerous
Olympic and Commonwealth Games, and world championships with a number of these sports.

As well as a physiotherapist, Paul is also a Pilates instructor, having trained with Body Control Pilates, and now acting as the consultant to the organisation. His Pilates experience has lead him to write a number of books on the practise, working on areas of back care, sports injuries and travel wellbeing.

Paul has received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award 2000 (team Award). He lectures worldwide on sports injuries and Pilates and acts as a consultant to national dance companies and British Airways (in-flight wellbeing programme). Paul also provides the Regional Sports Injuries Centre for the English Institute of Sport.

Sportwise – Paul has swum the English Channel in 2010, completing it and joining the Force 5 Club. Receiving out standing swim of the year for 2010, special recognition for this swim. Further swims involve Lake Zurich marathon swim, The Oceanman series, Travesia Boccina, and enjoys a 10 k Race around the European circuit. He is always up for an adventure and challenge. As well as swimming, also helps in supporting numerous Channel records, a man for all seasons and attempts.

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Cliff Golding

Cliff is 5 foot 12.  Blue eyes and fashionably long light blonde hair (it bloody is light blonde!!).  He likes reading, writing and music.  His favourite colour is blue and he is an aquatarian (eats fish but not meat.  Yes he knows they are called pescetarians but he
prefers aquatarian). He can juggle and his swimming technique is described as

In the autumn of 1991 Cliff decided he wanted to swim the Channel.  This was an odd
decision as he was a skinny marathon runner with no previous experience as a swimmer save for a bronze certificate.  Six attempts and five years later he finally succeeded.  He did it again in 2003 and, in the six years until that second swim, he swam around Jersey three times, Lake Zurich three times and Windermere twice.  He is running marathons and ultras again but has dusted off the speedos and is back in the pool.

His most memorable swimming moment is walking out onto Wissant Beach 13 hours and 17 minutes after he had walked into the sea off Shakespeare Beach in Dover to finally become a Channel swimmer.  It remains his most memorable, empowering moment in open water swimming.

Cliff can be found as MC at the annual CS&PF dinner.

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Dr Nick MurchMB.BCh, PG Cert Med Ed, FHEA, MRCP


Nick is a Consultant in Acute Medicine and Medical Education including Simulation at The Royal Free Hospital in London, gaining his first consultant post in 2010. Having initially trained at UWCM, Cardiff, he completed junior medical jobs in South Wales before travelling up the M4 for the North Thames Acute Medicine Training Programme.

Nick is a keen swimmer. His background is one of pool swimming and beach lifeguarding as a teenager; this was followed by 15 years playing water polo up to an International standard. More recently he has taken up more open water swimming, building on his tendency
to natural bioprene, to enable a Windermere one way swim (10 miles) in 2015 and an English channel crossing (21 miles) and Lake Geneva solo (42 miles) in 2016.

He has an interest in helping others with their goals and helped crew for a channel relay in 2016, with more support planned in 2017. Nick has an interest in the science behind open water swimming; trying to demystify some of the old wives’ tales. He has twice helped run the High Dependency Unit at the Finish of the London Marathon and also provided medical support to the World Tae Kwon Do championships. He is a proud member of #teamselkie and well known to be built for comfort and not for speed.

Neil Streeter

Son of the Channel General, Freda Streeter, brother of Queen of The Channel, Alison Streeter MBE, Neil has been escorting Channel Swimmers for over 13 years.  An open water swimmer himself from the age of 12, with ‘Oceans’ of certificates from his junior days, Neil has been around boats and swimmers for most of his life.  Neil pilots for swimmers under the CS&PF.

His escort boat is 'Suva', a 37ft Steel Trawler Yacht motor cr


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3rd JUne:  Musculoskeletal issues / ask a pilot

Musculoskeletal issues

Speaker:  Paul Massey

Firstly how to prevent issues.  Should you experience musculoskeletal injuries, what's the best approach to treating and restoring full function again? 

As a channel swimmer and physiotherapist with extensive sport related experience, Paul will share some of his top tips.


Advice from a pilot

Speakers:  Neil Streeter & Stuart Gleeson

This session will be more of an informal chat, no stand up presentation.  These are the sorts of things we'll cover, feel free to come armed with all your questions.

Choosing your crew

- How many do you need?

- What experience do they need?

- What is the role of the crew?

- How to work with the pilot and their crew?


Boat Facilities

Learn about what you can expect to find on board


Kit for the day

Less is more!  Learn what you really need to bring and what you should leave at home.  More about this next week.....


Weather, tides, start times, etc....

Your chance to find out what the arrangements for the day will be.  Use the opportunity to ask all those questions you're dying to ask.  Let's demystify the arrangements.

10th JUNE:  Pool training / Feeding / KIT

Pool Training

Speaker:  Ray Gibbs

One of the questions I get asked all the time is how much training should I do during the week, or how should I approach training before the season starts (for those with goals a littel further ahead)

How should you approach your winter training?  

Whilst there is no 'one size fits all' approach, this will give you some ideas on the approach that may be appropriate for you.

What should you aim to do during the week as we build up the time in the sea at the weekend?

Ray has trained many channel swimmers (including me) and many triathletes.  He has also studied the techniques of some of today's top swimmers.



Speaker:  Emma France


- CNP & UCAN - which one is for you?

- Approach for solids

- How & when to mix feeds

- Flavouring

- Electrolytes


Packing your Kit

Last week discussed the basics of what to bring and what to leave behind.  This will show you an example of the kit to bring and why.


Retail Therapy

Your opportunity to buy feeds, feeding reel and lights 

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17th June:  Mental Preparation

Mental Preparation

Speaker:  Cliff Golding

Cliff Golding delivers inspirational and aspirational talks to corporate clients and educational establishments.  Cliff's inspirational talk is based on his 20 years experience in open water swimming and, in particular, his personal journey in becoming an English Channel swimmer.  He has completed marathons, ultra marathons and trail races, cycled from John O'Groats to Lands' End and climbed Kilmanajaro.

Cliff will be talking about the fear of failure and about the mental preparation required to achieve achallenge as daunting as a solo Channel swim.  You can expect to hear snippets from real swims, real annecdotes and a personal refelction on his journey.


Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)

Speaker:  Emma France

Emma will give a brief explanation of what NLP is and how you can use it to get into a high performance mindset.

Emma will also explain why you will have received a domino when you registered!

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24th June:  MeDICAL

Speaker:  Nick Murch

This session will be of most use to soloists and their crew.  

Channel swimming is an extreme sport, things can go wrong.  This will help you learn the difference between those things that you can adapt your approach for on the day and continue the swim, and those signs that indicate that the swim should be terminated for the swimmer's safety.

Some things that you may want to learn more about:

- when does cold become hypothermia?

- is sickness an issue?

- what is SIPE and how can you see the signs?

- Pain relief - should you take it before pain to prevent it or only if/when you are in pain?

- Jellyfish stings - are these dangerous?

- What if you can't pee - is that an issue?

- Salt mouth - what's that all about?

I'm sure you have a million other questions!