With such a wonderfully diverse group it was brilliant to be able to celebrate pride week - t-shirts, flags, stickers, face paint, rainbow sweets you name it. Love is love. I love this group.
It was wonderful to see the Aspire swimmers back with us again including some new faces training for the first time in preparation for a solent swim.
It was also lovely to see quite a few pilots visit the beach during the weekend, that’s always a treat.
A question that I got asked a few times this weekend was for suggestions for extra crew members for swims. My advice is to put something on the facebook group as I’m sure that you will all be there to support each other. If you can help someone out, I’m sure it would be greatly appreciated. It’s an amazing experience.
Love is all around us
One of the many things that makes the Class of 2019 so very special is the support that you show each other. More than some other years, you hang around to cheer each other on. You help out at feeds. You support people who once were strangers and now are friends.
When the good weather comes and swimmers are making their bid for France, whilst we can’t all fit on the boats, we can all cheer each other on. On those days you’ll see someone put a post on the group to try and work out who is swimming on each boat. Often it’s Nick or Charlie that get in first - if there’s no post and there are boats - feel free to be the one to start the excitement. Sometimes we know who is on the boat, and sometimes we don’t. Throughout the day information often emerges and the posts get updated. Sometimes the swimmer remains a secret.
Some swimmers are so excited and love sharing that excitement in advance and we know who we’re rooting for. Some prefer to slip off quietly without any outside pressure and keep us guessing. I can relate to both of those extremes. I’ve done swims where I’ve shared all the details, I’ve done swims where I’ve kept it close to my chest and only shared that I even got wet after the event and ones where there was no secret but I didn’t share in advance to avoid being distracted by messages as I got myself ready. There’s no right or wrong, there is a right or wrong for you on your swim. We will respect your decision whichever way you choose.
There was quite a buzz on the beach this weekend with many people having spoken to their pilot about potential swims in the coming week. For some of you this is the result of patience from the last tide, some this was always going to be your time and others have the excitement of being brought forward from later in the season. Regardless it is super exciting and I can’t wait to track your big day. Take the moment on the day to appreciate the joy of what you do - you have worked hard for this day.
Both the CSA and CS&PF website have tracking capabilities. I tend to use the CS&PF website as you can see all of the boats. I like to set the screen up at the beginning of the swims and just leave it running. That way you see little trails appear throughout the day. I can always have another window if I want to see more details on one particular boat.
After your swim, please, please, please come back and visit us so that we can celebrate with you and you can tell us all about your swim.
Please also send me a couple of photos so that I can include them in the video that I make for the CS&PF dinner. I’m interested in solos and relays, successful or not. High resolution only, non edited video clips or photos in landscape orientation. Please share via email (not WhatsApp or Messenger).
There is also a wall of fame page on the Dover website, so feel free to write the details of your swim on a whiteboard or large piece of paper and take a photo of yourself holding it, or find some other way to edit details of your swim onto a photo that means a lot to you.
If you want to join in the fun, here are some upcoming themes:
13th & 14th July: I’m keeping this one firmly under wraps and I may be drafting in some support!
27th & 28th July: Love & friendship week - we really should celebrate what an incredible group we are. Friendships formed on this beach can and do last a lifetime.
Water temperature: 15.8C
Air temperature: 20.4C
Conditions: Calm & sunny
Water temperature: 15.9C
Air temperature: 17.7C
Conditions: Light rain to start, slight chop to the water. Sun later on.
As you can see, and quite unexpectedly, the water temperature actually went down in the spot where we measured when compared to last week. The water temperature across the swim zone varied a lot with many patches of warmer and cooler water.
So far we have registered:
84 Solo swimmers
43 Relay swimmers
35 Just for Fun swimmers
77 Aspire swimmers
88 Drop-in swimmers
There are 30 swimmers who have applied and will be approved subject to a successful assessment swim.
Please note that if you would like to sign-up for solo, relay or just for fun subscriptions, I am now offering a 25% discount on the full fee. Whilst this doesn't show on the website or membership system, it will be applied at the point that payment is requested.
If you have elected to be a drop-in swimmer, please can you ensure that you pay before you swim. The fee is £7 with feeds, £4 for relay training or solo without feeding and £3 for a short recreational swim. Cash or card is accepted.
If you have already paid and haven’t yet collected your card, please collect from the beach crew on your next visit and attach it to the outside of your swim bag. For those who do assessment swims, you’ll be able to collect your card, once paid, the following weekend.
If you haven’t joined us yet and still plan to, the online declaration can be found here.
No declaration, no swim, no exception.
Channel swimmer on the beach
Congratulations to the following swimmers on their swims this week:
Arnaud Chassery for his second solo on 2nd July in a time of 14 hours 21 minutes on Masterpiece. Arnaud started the return leg of a two-way attempt and unfortunately the conditions were not in his favour and his swim was then aborted.
Calum Muress for his solo Arch to Arc event which included a wetsuit channel swim in a time of 16 hours 26 minutes.
Jason Betley for his Round Jersey solo on backstroke! His time was 12 hours 0 minutes and 35 seconds.
Ruth Fontaine, Annie Mulroy, and the rest of the Alexa’s Aquanuts team for their channel relay swim in aid of The Alexa Trust on Saturday 6th July in a time of 13 hours 29 minutes.
Jeanette Foley and Clare Williams on their successful relay on Anastasia in a time of 16 hours 6 mins.
Anel and her team on their successful Arch to Arc relay
Ady Brown, Kevin Mullarkey, Nick Murch and Ray Gibbs for their successful Lake Annecy swims on Tuesday and Wednesday.
It was also lovely to see Marcy MacDonald appear on the beach the day after her 17th successful English Channel solo.
Stand out swims
With so many big swims last weekend, many of you were enjoying a well earned recovery weekend. I know that sometimes it feels like you should be continually knocking out the big swims and that’s just not true. A cyclical pattern of building up and then recovering will actually help you build strength far more than just knocking out the big swims. Enjoy the rest - you most definitely earn it.
This weekend I’d like to call our the following stand out swims:
Julian Critchlow for your back to back 10s weekend.
Steve Stievenart for your 10 & 7 weekend
Mat Elliott for your 3 & 10 weekend
New Hugh (Bennett) for your 10 hour swim on Saturday.
Tom Knight & Daniel Coughlan for your 8 hour swims on Saturday
Louise Marshall, Amy Mellor & Hunter Charlton for your 7 & 6 weekend
Welcome back to Ray Smith, this time towing ‘Kylie’, a big kayak, around the harbour.
It was also lovely to see some new faces again this weekend. Welcome! I hope you enjoyed yourselves. We certainly enjoyed meeting you.
Don’t be shy - feel free to join the chat with any of the groups you find socialising on the beach - they’re all friendly. If you’ve been here for a while and spot a new face - say hello or offer to buddy swim. Somehow I know you as you are one of the friendliest and most welcoming groups that I know.
Volunteers - thank you
Thank you to all the people who volunteered this weekend.
Thank you to:
Saturday: Jon Southey, Lauren Whiting & Mandi Bodemeaid. With support from Michael Jennings, Charlie Allman-Brown, Elaine Henderson, Richard Brant & Tony Marshall
Sunday: Jon Southey, Lauren Whiting & Catherine Stefanutti & Frederique Vandrepote. With support from Hayley Brant, Richard Brant, Tony Marshall, Nick Murch & Charlie Frith.
And everyone else who got involved and helped.
If you can spare a day, please sign-up here.
You wouldn’t need to be the most observant of people to notice the Dover Channel Training bobble hats and swim caps. There are also other goodies on sale too if you fancy a little retail therapy on the beach. Feel free to take a look at what we have on the beach or online. We have:
A multitude of colours of swimming caps, each with a different saying on. Whilst you know the colour of the cap you need to wear for training, your choices are almost limitless for the big day or when you’re swimming elsewhere.
Long sleeved t-shirts
Exclusive Dover bobble hats
Foggies (anti-fog goggle wipes)
I’m also hoping exclusive and fun swimming badges will be added to the mix by the end of the season.
If you have paid for a full season of training you are entitled to a 15% discount for soloists or a 10% discount for relay swimmers.
Future disrupted sessions:
Saturday 13th July (rescheduled Dover Rowing regatta). On this date I am likely to move training to a different location which will be either Hythe or Ramsgate (depending on the weather forecast). I think it will be good experience to swim in a location where we don’t have the protection of the harbour.
Sunday 4th August (Dover Town Regatta). The swim zone will be suspended. We are likely to do another 3am start, and this will be confirmed nearer the time. On this date there will be no parking available along the seafront.
Saturday 28th September this will be our end of season BBQ - save the date!
October visit to the landing sites. I’m looking for a volunteer to coordinate this day - please let me know if that could be you. It’s a fun day where we visit a number of the sites where people land their swims and then enjoy a lunch in France. It’s a brilliant way to round off the season.
There will be additional safety measures in place for all swims that involve an element in the dark, so attending the briefing is mandatory for all swimmers. You will be required to wear at least one light (battery operated adventure lights, not chemical ones). If you need them, I sell them on the beach, but please buy them before the swim, selling stuff in the dark on the beach at 2.30am isn’t my idea of fun.
Dealing with pain
It’s not unusual to have the odd niggle here and there during the heavier part of training. If you’ve never done this before it can be difficult to tell the difference between muscle aches and injury.
Muscle aches are understandable and you will recover well. Injuries are something that we all want to avoid and if it happens, get yourself some professional advice and then follow it.
Training and the big day should be approached differently in my opinion. In training we will push you to the point that you may have achey muscles. I would never push you to injury as you are preparing yourself for the big day. The big day is the big day, it’s what all the preparation is for. It’s also just one day. You may have no aches and no pains (I’ve had swims like this), you may have aches that roam around your body and don’t settle anywhere in particular you may have pains from an injury. On this one day you are no longer saving yourself for the big day, it is the big day so push on through. Painkillers are there if you need them.
If you find that you have pain now, perhaps an injury, perhaps you’re not sure, try this technique to change how pain is for you and find it disappears now. Feel free to be sceptical, feel free also to try it. It has and does work. You could also use this simple technique on the day if you would like.
If you have been experiencing discomfort, I’d like you to give that sensation a colour, maybe red or some other colour. Now give the discomfort a shape in your mind. Now a texture or feel - perhaps it’s sharp or has a rough texture, or whatever.
Now begin to direct your attention to your toes and notice how they can relax. Really send your attention down into them and just be aware as you relax deeper how that relaxation can begin to lap at those toes and those feet and begin to drift up gently easing and relieving and calming the very physical reality of your body.
And as that calm and peace continues to drift up and along and through your body, I’d just like you to begin to notice how the colour in that part of your body that had discomfort can begin to alter. Maybe it’s changing to a lighter shade or much gentler shade. Notice that changing now.
And the shape that you noticed is also changing as you notice the muscles of your body continuing to relax and smooth. You’ll also notice the texture can start to soften and change with the whole thing starting bit by bit at first and then smoother and quicker and more flowing to release and smooth away, maybe even slide entirely from the body, like watching that discomfort leaving your body entirely and sliding off and away, leaving you at ease and peace.
Imagine what it’s going to be like when discomfort begins to finish before it even gets properly started.
It has been my absolute pleasure to work with some of you outside of weekend training. For some of you that has been around crafting a training plan when your schedule makes it difficult to make the most of what is on offer in Dover.
For others it’s hypnosis that is what you want. Finally, where there are multiple and complex issues to work through which may or may not relate to your swim, a breakthrough session is the difference that will make a difference.
I’m here to support you in the way that you need.
If you’re curious and would like to discuss further, feel free to schedule a free initial 30 minute consultation. I am available on Fridays from my base in Surrey. Some evenings from Surrey or Cambridge (depends where my other job has me on that night) and sometimes on a Saturday late afternoon in Dover. Most of what I can offer can be supported face to face or via Zoom (video conferencing).
My calendar is filling up fast, so if this is something that you’re interested in, you can find out a bit more at Emma2France or contact me via email or phone.
A few photos captured at the weekend.
See you next week!!