This time next week our first training session of the season will be complete. Are you ready?
I had a dream last night, actually more of a nightmare! It was the first training session and most people who turned up hadn’t already subscribed online and kept saying things like ‘I thought I could do it later’ or ‘I thought we could still use forms’ or ‘can’t you make an exception for me?’. It was absolute chaos! The next scene was loads of people busily doing it on the beach on their mobiles or my one iPad, people were delayed getting into the water which was unfair on those who had done what needed to be done.
So to avoid this dream coming true I thought I’d be crystal clear…… only those who have completed their registrations online can swim. No registration, no swimming, no exceptions!
Thank you to the significant number who have already sorted this, I REALLY appreciate it.
Soloist: £70 for entire season (includes all feeds), entitled to a 15% discount on any shop purchases
Relay: £30 for entire season, entitles to a 10% discount on any shop purchases
Just for fun: £15 for entire season
Aspire: £5 for specific training sessions only
Drop in with feeds: £7
Drop in without feeds: £4
Picking up your membership card
Your membership card will be available for collection from the beach……
For those of you who have swum with us before and are subscribing for the season, you will have had a request for payment. Once this has been paid you will be able to collect your personalised membership card.
If you are new to Dover Channel Training, you will be sent a payment request after your trial swim. This trial is a two way thing, I need to be able to assess that you are safe and competent to train with us, and you should assess whether we are the group for you. Once this payment request has been sent and you have paid, you will be able to collect your membership card.
If you are a drop in swimmer and have completed the registration form, you will be able to pick up your membership card after your trial swim (if you are new to Dover Channel Training)
There is a special membership category for ‘Aspire’. This is heavily discounted to represent the fact that there are only a few formal training sessions. You are welcome to ‘upgrade’ to one of the standard groups (e.g. relay or solo) at any point and will be sent a payment request for the balance. Only those people who are on the list from Aspire will be able to join this group. Your ‘Aspire’ membership card will be available for collection on your first training weekend (assuming you have completed the online registration form and paid the membership fee).
As your membership card is personalised, it does take some time to prepare and print. I will aim to print all membership cards for collection at the weekend where the above criteria are met by the Wednesday before training, i.e. if you send a request on your journey down to Dover on a Saturday, you won’t be able to pick up your card until the following weekend!
We train Saturdays and Sundays. The timings below are when your toes hit the water. Please arrive early enough to sign-in, get ready, apply suncream and grease and attend the safety briefing. We reserve the right (and have done so in the past) to refuse entry to those who are late. You may wonder why. We run the beach with volunteers and our main priority is your safety. It is important that the volunteers focus is on swimmers in the water and we need to know how many swimmers there are in the water at all times and when people are due out of the water. This becomes very difficult if people drift in late and take our attention away from where it belongs.
New swimmers first session only: 9am
Existing swimmers (and new swimmers after their initial assessment): 10am
All swimmers 9am
This year we are trialling allowing ‘Just for fun’ swimmers to join us at a time of their choice provided that they agree to read the safety briefing before entering the water. We also ask that they are patient when it comes to signing in if the beach crew are busy supporting swimmers already in the water (e.g. feeding or preparing feeds). We reserve the right to remove this arrangement if it proves to be too distracting.
The only other exception is where we have to change the start time (or location) due to events taking place in the harbour. Please keep an eye on the mailing list, facebook and/or the website for details of impacted sessions. If you are not already on the mailing list you can sign-up on the homepage of the website.
What to bring
Here’s a list of things that you should consider bringing with you:
Money for parking - or you can pay via Ringo. Please note that there is a limited amount of free parking on a Sunday behind the green. Alternatively you may wish to consider purchasing a 6 month seafront parking permit online
2 swimming costumes – in the early weeks everyone will be doing 2 swims, relay swimmers will always do 2 swims. It’s important when exiting cold water that you remove your wet costume so you’ll need a dry one to put on in its place
A swimming hat. Please note that the CS&PF and CSA only permit one hat on a swim – so you should only train with one hat. If you are training for a solo (or equivalent) you will need to wear a red hat. If you are training for a relay, you will need to wear a yellow hat. Just for fun swimmers should wear a purple hat. NB Aspire relay swimmers have a separate arrangement for their formal training days (green). You can wear any red, yellow or purple hat that you like. If you want to buy a Dover Channel Training one, I will be delighted to sell you one.
Goggles. It might also be worth considering bringing a spare pair too, just in case
Earplugs – this is a personal choice. I personally find that earplugs make a huge difference to how I handle the cold. Sometimes cold water in your ears can make you a little disoriented.
Suncream – essential. Even with limited sun, being in the water for an extended period can lead to really quite nasty sunburn if not protected. Even with suncream you’ll see some amusing hat and goggle lines. Be sun smart.
A warm hat – essential! It makes a huge difference. DO NOT TAKE OFF YOUR SWIMMING HAT UNTIL YOU HAVE A WARM HAT TO PUT ON IN ITS PLACE. Dover channel training hats are available to buy on the beach.
A towel that you can change under on the beach or something like a dry robe.
Lots of warm layers – you will need to wrap up warm after each swim, particularly in the early weeks. T-shirts or base layers, hoodies, socks, coats etc. Dover Channel Training clothing is available on the beach should you wish to buy.
Gloves – these can be beneficial in the early weeks especially
A bag big enough to put all your stuff in. Ideally this should be waterproof, if it isn’t, please bring a bin bag to put it in. Rain is a common feature of our training. Your membership card should be displayed on the outside so that we can quickly identify who each bag belongs to in case of an emergency.
A waterproof watch – we need you to be prompt getting in and out of the water and coming in for feeds (soloists)
Crocs (or equivalent). Unless you are one of the few people who can walk on pebbles, something that can be worn in the water will save your delicate feet. The beach crew will often throw your shoes to you whilst you are still in the water to make exiting easier. Flip flops can be hard to negotiate with cold toes. Crocs are ideal.
A warm drink or money to pop to one of the many coffee shops in Dover. It’ll all help you warm up.
A sense of humour
We will provide:
Feeds for soloists (for during your swim)
Please leave any valuables behind, there have been thefts in the past. There will be a a portable safe on the beach for things that you need to have with you. Please be discrete when sharing the combination.
Each weekend we have a theme, it’s a bit of fun and, a bit like the channel, it will help you expect the unexpected! We’ll often share the theme in advance, so feel free to join in. The first day of training is 4th May (or May the forth - Star Wars Day) so it seemed appropriate to have a Star Wars theme for our first weekend.
We can only work thanks to our fabulous volunteers. If you have volunteered - thank you. It’s a great way to give back to those who have helped you. It’s also a great way to learn more about the sport and see things from an entirely different angle. If you would consider helping, please add your name to the volunteer rota by following the link below.
Jill Tipping has agreed to be the coordination point, so please liaise with her if you have any questions or need support.
Please see the document attached for a generic safety briefing for Dover. Let me know if you have any questions.
Throughout the Dover Channel Training season, Sophie Williamson will be providing ‘beach-side’ Sports Therapy support including the following services:
Injury treatment & rehab.
Injury prevention screening.
Strength & Conditioning programming.
Full details on services & prices will be available from Emma or Sophie at the beach.
Alternatively you can contact Sophie on
Throughout May & June, Sophie’s availability will be as follows:
Saturday 4th May - at the beach all day.
Saturday 11th May - available for afternoon sessions (pre-booked appointments only).
Saturday 18th May - at the beach all day.
Saturday 25th May - unavailable.
Saturday 1st June - Available for afternoon appointments.
Saturday 8th June - at the beach all day.
Saturday 15th June - Afternoon appointments.
Saturday 22nd June - at the beach all day.
Saturday 29th June - Afternoon appointments.
I’m looking forward to seeing lots of you next weekend. If someone could remember to pack lovely weather it would be greatly appreciated by all, I’m sure!