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Marine Parade
Dover, CT16
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Training Week 15 - Dreamers welcome


Training Week 15 - Dreamers welcome

Emma France

Whilst we can’t control the weather, we can choose our attitude. There are some great attitudes on the beach.

I also admire the dreamers. I think it’s a privilege to be able to work with swimmers to turn what is initially a dream into a plan and then into a process to ultimately turn the dream into success.

Whilst not everyone will be successful each year, often this is for reasons outside of their control. What we do seem to have is a higher than average success rate. Why is this? In my opinion it is for so many reasons. We are very lucky with our training location - for anyone swimming the English channel - this is our playground. But we also have the protection of the harbour meaning that we can train when others can’t.

But I think the real magic is not about hours in the water, it is about the group itself. There is a real energy, a shared experience. We care for each others dreams. We support each other. We celebrate together, we share each others’ pains. We can even cry together, be those tears of sadness and frustration or tears of joy.

Keep being amazing and if you ever waiver in your self belief, remember that there are 350+ people signed up this year who are rooting for you and over 2,200 people in our facebook group who are also cheering you on from the sidelines. My belief in you is also available to borrow until you find your self belief again.



Our theme this weekend was ‘California dreaming’ in recognition of Nick & Nicki Murch and Melanie Holland taking on Catalina channel. With the weather as it was, it certainly didn’t feel like California. I was impressed by Paul, Suzanne and Amy for managing to join in the theme.

It did, though, give us a great reason to consider all our dreams and commit them to our lovely Dover pebbles. From time to time the dreams from last year appear as the stones move around, I wonder who will stumble across these dreams? I did love the creativity and variety.

Future themes

If you want to join in the fun, here are some upcoming themes:

  • 17th & 18th - an old favourite - you’ll just have to wait and see (no bobbing)



Daylight on Saturday

Swimmers:   14
Water temperature: 18.4C
Air temperature:   18.5C
Conditions: Force 7 with strong gusts. Partly cloudy. Ferry wall end was unswimmable, the area around the beach whilst bumpy was good for a short swim.

Swimmers:   37
Water temperature:   18.1C
Air temperature: 18.6C
Conditions:   Strong breeze with gusts. Increasingly lumpy towards the ferry wall. Cloudy with sunny spells.

So far we have registered:

  • 85 Solo swimmers

  • 45 Relay swimmers

  • 37 Just for Fun swimmers

  • 77 Aspire swimmers

  • 116 Drop-in swimmers

There are 36 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 50% 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:

  • Nicky Graham for her Windermere solo on 2nd August in a time of 6 hours 33 minutes & 30 seconds

  • Jacque Kempfer for her Jersey to France solo on 6th August in a time of 7 hours 10 minutes

  • Simon Rich for his English Channel solo on 8th August

  • Carol-lynn Swol for her English Channel solo on 8th August

  • Also a big shout out to Margot Anderson and Jackie Cobell for their Co-op advert fame - I absolutely love it!!

We also enjoyed tracking all the other swims, well done to all dream chasers!!

If I missed calling out your swim, I’m so, so sorry!! Please call out your achievement.

If you swam this week and you didn’t fulfil your dream yet, chin up. Learn what you need to learn and come and chat about a new plan. Perhaps the best is yet to come. #Daretobelieve


Stand out swims

Most of the 7 & 6 swimmers

This weekend I’d like to call our the following stand out swims:

  • The 14 swimmers who decided to come to Dover on Saturday, hopeful for a safe swim.

  • Lucy Ashdown-Parkes who has taken success from her recent relay and has now switched to the solo track - a strong start with 6 hours in challenging conditions

  • Louise Stratford for 5 hours in challenging conditions

  • All swimmers who put in long swims in the bumpy conditions - fantastic training.


Volunteers - thank you


Saturday: Jon Southey, Charlie Frith, Freya Knowles

Sunday: Jon Southey, Catherine Stefanutti, Charlie Frith, Mandi Bodemeaid, Halani Foulsham, Amy Frith & Geoff Gardener

And everyone else who just rolled up and helped on the day.

I’d also like to say a HUGE thank you to Geoff Gardener who provided some on the beach ultrasound sonography

If you can spare a day, please sign-up here.



Looking ahead

Paul’s Jersey to France swim is approaching and we won’t be in Dover on the weekend of 24th & 25th August or 31st August. If you are interested in helping out, please let me know. Thank you to those of you who have already offered.

IMG_2059 2.jpg

Saturday 28th September this will be our end of season BBQ - save the date!

October visit to the landing sites. Paul has volunteered to coordinate this day, feel free to get in touch with him if you’d like to help with this. 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.

Seminars this will be planned again at some point in the first few months of the year. If you would like to help, please get in touch. We could use help in a variety of capacities. If you or people you know of are training for a future season, this is for you!


Charity for Kids


8 years ago, at the same time that Paul Harris (2019 channel swimmer) learned to swim, he set up Charity for Kids. At that time he was at a point in his life when he was drinking excessively and knew that he needed to change his life around or face the possibility of not being around later in life to see his 3 daughters grow up. With that in mind he decided to enter his local half marathon to raise funds for a cause, but also give himself a focus and a reason to go out and train.

As Paul & his wife are lucky to have 3 beautiful & healthy girls, he wanted to be able to help those families less fortunate than they were, he also wanted to keep the funds local and put 100% of the money back to the families who needed help.

After looking around he could not find a cause that did what he wanted, so as a result he set up Charity for Kids. Charity for Kids funds specialist equipment which the NHS is unable to provide. They have also purchased a static respite caravan which is offered to families that are in need of a respite break.

All this supports sick, disabled and terminally ill children. To date they have helped over 500 children in some way or another.

If you want to find out more or would like to help - speak to Paul on the beach or take a look at their website.


Emma’s corner

Winning thinking

It’s been known for years that to really excel at sports, you can’t just focus on your physical training, you need to make sure you have a strong, positive attitude that allows you to focus and perform well under pressure. You’ve probably seen many sports matches and races where you can see which of the players looks filled with determination, focus and inner belief, and which of them looks nervous, uncertain or distracted, and more often than not you can predict who is going to win by noticing their differing attitudes. The same is true on the beach, you’ve probably seen how people look before they get in for a training session, and can predict those who are going to get through the session with ease, and those who may struggle. And you’ve probably noticed times when your own attitude affected your performance in training or in events. Perhaps there have been situations where you felt so pressured to do well that you ended up over-thinking, and losing concentration. And perhaps there have been other times when you just knew you were on form, and performing at your peak.

Zoë Wimshurst, a sports scientist at the University of Surrey, measured the brain patterns of various sports players, and found that people who are experts in their sport actually use less of their brains when playing
than beginners do. When you are first learning a sport, you have to pay a lot of conscious attention to how you’re moving your body, and you need to try to remember all kinds of instructions about what to do and what not to do, I found the same when I rebuilt my stroke, every movement became very conscious. It’s a bit like when you’re first learning to drive, and you consciously have to think about when to press the clutch and when to indicate. But after you’ve been driving regularly for a while, driving becomes an instinctive skill, where you don’t need to think about it. In the same way, when you’ve played a particular sport for quite some time, your brain streamlines the skills you’ve learned, so that you can start to experience times when you’re so immersed in what you’re doing that time seems to fly by, and you’re performing like an expert, like a professional, like a winner.

But in high pressure situations, like competitions and the big day, the desire to do your best can make you overly-conscious of yourself. You might sometimes start cluttering up your mind with conscious thoughts about what to do, or worries about failing, and suddenly you’re performing like a beginner again, like the centipede that was happily strolling along until it stopped to think about which foot to move next, and then fell flat on its face.

Nobody aces every training session and being a winner isn’t about needing to be perfect. Every great athlete and sports player has to deal with times when they don’t succeed, to review where things went wrong, and carefully plan how they can succeed better in the future. The time for analysing mistakes or thinking about how to improve is after the big day or training session has finished. Elite athletes and sports players know that before the event, you need to focus only on success – on your own past successes, and on your clear, confident inner vision of how you’re going to succeed today. By learning to focus your attention in this incredibly positive, confident and determined way, you’re developing the mindset of a true winner.

Practice this in training! It’s all about being unconsciously competent.


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.

My calendar for this season is now mostly full. If you’re thinking about support for a future season, please let me know. You can find out a bit more at Emma2France or contact me via email or phone.

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.



A few photos captured at the weekend.

See you next week!!


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