Is it just me or is 2019 going really fast? It’s just 6 weeks until the start of training. This blog contains some information to get you started (I’m sure there’ll be more in the next few weeks.
We’ve gone online
I’m sure you can imagine how much admin is involved with running a group of this size and I have taken the decision to streamline some of the effort involved and have invested in an online application to manage our membership. All membership will now be handled online. Thank you to those of you who have already signed up, it really does help. If you haven’t done so yet you can access the system through this link.
This is a time saver for you too. Once this is done you will be able to maintain your own information and it will be simpler to register again next year as your information will already be there.
Please use this system even if you only intend to drop in for the odd session. I require everyone training with us to have completed the declaration included.
I would strongly encourage you to complete this process in the comfort of your own home. If there’s a queue on a wet and windy day for the beach iPad it really won’t be as pleasant. You can still pay cash if you want to, it’s the online application that’s important.
If you do declare a relevant medical issue, please can you ensure I or one of the volunteers are aware (it can take some time to connect all the names with all the faces). Also ensure we have ready access to any medication that you may need us to pass to you.
If this is your first year with us you will be able to complete the form but won’t be asked for payment until after your first swim with us. We have introduced a short assessment swim as part of our safety procedures. It’s pretty straight forward (assuming you can actually swim!). Once that’s been done your request to join will be approved and you’ll receive a request for payment.
This year you will receive a credit card style membership card. Please can you attached this to the outside of your bag (we’ll provide the tag). This enables us to quickly identify who each bag belongs to should we need to work it all out in an emergency. Hopefully, this will never happen. It does also mean you won’t be able to lose your card so easily!
Your membership number comprises of two parts:
4 digits representing the first year you trained at Dover (in some cases I guessed this, so let me know if I got it wrong and I’ll issue you with a new card)
1-3 digits representing your membership number.
It’s the short number that you’ll need to quote when you sign-in.
If you’re swimming as a drop in swimmer you will receive a card but it won’t have a membership number. Please quote your full name instead when you sign in.
This is again part of our safety procedures so that we can always connect all swimmers with the correct emergency contact details should there be an incident.
Your membership card indicates that you have paid, so you won’t be issued with one until that is true. I will also only print them once a week, so if you sign-up on your way to Dover on a Saturday morning you’ll be waiting a week before you receive your card!
There’s a slight change here for those who have swum before. Please note the following changes:
Start times in May
Start times for ‘Just for Fun’ swimmers
New swimmers: the start time for your first session with us will be 9am. This will include a short assessment swim so that we know that you can swim safely in the harbour. Once this has been done you can join the normal start time with other swimmers.
Existing swimmers: for May only you can have a little lie in and start at 10am. If you want to come along early and welcome new swimmers you will be very welcome. It would be helpful if you wait for your swim until 10am unless requested otherwise.
In all cases start times are time you get into the water. Please arrive early to allow sufficient time to get ready and attend the safety briefing.
All swimmers start at 9am
Just for Fun
I am going to trial a new option for you this year. Historically, we have required all swimmers to start at the same time so that we know that everyone has attended the briefing. Quite frankly that remains the easiest method. However, for the ‘Just for Fun’ category only I am wiling to allow swimmers to join later provided you agree to read the briefing notes that I will have written in the signing in book.
You will still need to record the time you start and the time you expect to be in the water. It is essential that we know who is due out of the water at any time.
You will need to make your own assessment as to how long you think we’ll be on the beach. The volunteers won’t be staying longer than required (i.e. once the solo and relay swimmers are finished) to enable you to get a little extra beauty sleep!
You must still sign in and out. Please be aware of other activities that the volunteers are engaged in if you do choose to come later. You may need to wait a few minutes if we’re in the middle of feeds etc.
This is a trial, if we experience unforeseen issues I do reserve the right to revert back to previous practice.
We have been blessed with some incredible volunteers across the years that I have been involved in the sport. In fact it only works because we have volunteers. If you have never experienced it from the other side I would encourage you to volunteer for a day, you will learn something new!
Our training only works if we have enough people to cover all the roles that need to be played. So please do think about how and when you can help. We’ll train you, it’s pretty straight forward.
Jill is coordinating our volunteer rota this year. If you would like to put your name down, please follow this link.
I am delighted to announce that I have agreed to become an ambassador for Level Water. Level water is a fantastic charity that is committed to getting disabled children swimming and provides each child with one-to-one lessons until they are ABLE to join group swimming lessons and continue swimming forever.
If you are training for a big swim and haven’t yet decided which charity to support, this would be an excellent choice. Your swimming could be giving the next generation the lessons they need to following your footsteps, imagine that!
You’ll see the Level Water logo on your membership cards
I’m sure you’ll hear more from me in the coming weeks. Please do get in touch though if you have any questions.