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Marine Parade
Dover, CT16
United Kingdom

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


Training Week 17 - The Great Escape

Emma France

Wow - what an incredible week. The pilots must be exhausted and exhilarated (in equal measures) from the performances that you have brought to your swims day after day. Quite simply the process works. You’ve done the training and you did what you did in training on the big day and you’ve reaped the benefits. I couldn’t be more proud of your successes. Well done, well done, well done!!

Of course, there are no guarantees in this sport. It is tough. It can be easy to watch others succeed and think that all you need to do is turn up and the success will be yours, it’s never that easy. Your successes are hard won and well deserved.

If this was not your week for success, think through your swim for the things that could be adapted - find the difference that could make the difference. If you also look closely and look back at where you came from - you will almost certainly see just how far you have come on this journey. When we start we think that the point we’re aiming to swim to is the all important factor, with hindsight, you’ll realise that there is magic in the journey itself too.



This weekend’s theme was Jersey - quite simply because I’m away in Jersey with Paul for his swim. I didn’t see any Jersey cows on the beach, but I bet there were some ice creams consumed after training and if you look closely at the ice cream van you’ll notice that the whippy ice cream is made from Jersey milk. This was, in fact, one of the easiest themes to join in with!

Future themes

  • 31st August & 1st September: Cats & mice - while the cat’s away the mice will play (which of course you won’t, will you?)

  • 7th & 8th September: given just how many stand out swims we have over the past few weeks I think it’s only right that we have a superhero week!



Daylight on Saturday

Swimmers:   32
Water temperature: 18.5C
Air temperature:   26C
Conditions: Nice!

Swimmers:   29
Water temperature:   18.5C
Air temperature: 25C
Conditions:   Nice!

So far we have registered:

  • 87 Solo swimmers

  • 45 Relay swimmers

  • 40 Just for Fun swimmers

  • 77 Aspire swimmers

  • 128 Drop-in swimmers

There are 32 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 75% 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:

  • Aspire Lions for their successful relay on 21st August in a time of 14 hours 59 minutes

  • Anel Sytdykova for her successful solo on 21st August in a time of 15 hours 15 minutes

  • Stef Gomez Counahan for her successful solo on 21st August in a time of 13 hours 34 minutes

  • Diana Corbin for her successful solo in a time of 16 hours 32 minutes

  • Melanie Holland for her Alcatraz escape swim with Pacific Open Water Swim Co.

  • Miles Worling for his successful solo on 22nd August in a time of 13 hours 31 minutes

  • Flippin mad relay team (Jane Fletcher, Crystal Dolphin, Julia Dawe & Amanda Sharples) for their successful relay on 22nd August in 14 hours 23 minutes

  • Ady Brown for his successful solo on 22nd August in a time of 15 hours 37 minutes

  • Channel Babes (Zoe Green, Elaine Hurrell, Tracy Nicholls, George Weber & Richard Jones) for their successful relay on 22nd August in a time of 14 hours 26 minutes

  • Kevin Mullarkey for his successful Jersey to France swim on 22nd August in a time of 10 hours 38 minutes

  • Gaurvi Singhi for her successful channel solo on 23rd August in a time of 13 hours 28 minutes

  • Emre Deliveli for his successful channel solo on 23rd August in a time of 15 hours 41 minutes

  • Daniel Coughlan for his successful channel solo (wetsuit) as part of an Arch to Arc event on 23rd August in a time of 15 hours 22 minutes

  • Amy Mellor for her successful channel solo on 24th August in a time of 14 hours 19 minutes

  • NessQuest (Colin France, Andy Wolf, Juliet Finnis, Michael Mann, Kathleen Long, Catherine Hamilton-Plant) for their successful Loch Ness relay on 24th August in a time of 15 hours 2 minutes

  • The Dream Team (Fiona Mildner, Anna Ploszajski, Mark Sheridan, Graeme Schlachter & Corinna Bridges) for their successful Loch Lomond relay on 24th August in a time of 11 hours 29 minutes

  • Paul James for his successful Jersey to France solo on 25th August in a time of 11 hours 7 minutes

  • Mat Elliott for his successful channel solo on 25th August in a time of 11 hours 48 minutes

  • Chris Knowles for his successful channel solo on 25th August in a time of 16 hours exactly

  • Jevon O’Neill for his successful channel solo on 25th August in a time of 13 hours 10 minutes

  • Wes Norton for his successful channel solo on 25th August in a time of 12 hours 13 minutes

  • Out of our comfort zone relay (Raha Akhavan, Deniz Kayadelen, Yasemin Pagana & Emre Deliveli (fresh from his channel solo)) for their successful channel relay on 25th August in a time of 11 hours 40 minutes

  • Tom Knight for his successful channel solo on 25th August in a time of 10 hours 16 minutes

  • Sallie Cheung for her successful Windermere solo on 25th August

  • Catherine Hamilton-Plant for her successful Windermere solo on 25th August

There have been even more successes today, Monday 26th August and I’ll shout these out next week!

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


Swim badges


Some of you may have seen that soloists so far have been given a medal. It’s nice to recognise the achievement, but I wasn’t entirely happy with it. I did look at custom medals, but then Kevin came up with the great idea of customised swim badges, just like the ones you got as kids! So, hopefully within the next week or so a new supply of swim badges will arrive!!


It’s almost impossible to collect the whole set. There are over 10 to collect and include training awards, qualifying swims, solo events (various ones around the world but not all of them), relay events and a special volunteer award.

They will be approx £4 each and I challenge you to collect the whole set! The volunteer one is free and recognises those who are consistent volunteers. The English Channel solo award is also on me for 2019 onwards swimmers.

These are exclusively available to those of you who have trained with Dover Channel Training (including drop in swimmers). I am happy to backdate if you want, provided you were training with DCT when the swim was completed.

Get collecting!!


Stand out swims

Most of the 7 & 6 swimmers

Lovely to see lots of new faces signing in this weekend as well as our regulars still waiting. With so many stand out swims happening in the channel (other swims are available!), it’s important to also recognise some personal achievements in the harbour as well.

  • Sue Pepper for a massive jump in time in the water

  • David Williams & Phil Cooper for going above and beyond what was asked

  • Paul Cross & Abigail Fairman for 6 & 6 weekend

  • Mark Dunleavy for a 7 & 6 weekend


Volunteers - thank you


Saturday: Jon Southey, Mandi Bodemeaid, Hayley Brant, Rich Brant, Charlie Frith

Sunday: Jon Southey, Mandi Bodemeaid, Hayley Brant, Rich Brant, Team Henigan

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

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



Looking ahead

Just a reminder that Paul & I won’t be around next weekend or the Saturday of the weekend after. Thank you to all the offers of help, I really appreciate it. #Classof2019

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 James & Paul Cross have volunteered to coordinate this day, feel free to get in touch with him if you’d like to help. 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!


Emma’s corner


How should you feel after your big swim? Well of course you will most likely feel very different if it was successful compared to unsuccessful. There can definitely be mixed emotions with unsuccessful swims, quite understandably. For now, I’d like to focus on the successful swims.

I’d love to hear how YOU felt after your swim - please leave comments. Do any of these words resonate with you?

  • Elated

  • Confused

  • Low

  • Relief

  • Excitement

  • Disappointment

  • Surprised

  • Cloud 9

  • Sudden awareness

  • Like it didn’t happen

  • Guilt

  • Nothing

From your perspective you may find some of those words weird and just not see how they could even be possible. I’ve personally had many different feelings after my successful swims. There is no right or wrong way to feel. You may even notice your feelings changes over the hours, days and weeks as you process what happened. Your physical state at the end may also impact how you feel for a while.

You may have dreamt about the moment of success for weeks, months or years. It may be exactly as you envisaged it, it may be completely different. If I think back to my first successful channel solo, and a little before that even, I was part of a channel relay earlier in the same season. I was the one fortunate enough to land it. As I walked up the sandy beach I found it very emotional as I was picturing what it would be like if that was a solo. My goggles most definitely filled up from the inside! Fast forward a couple of months and I’d been blown out for a month and my head had gone completely. I decided not to swim and instead to wait until the next year. My pilot thought otherwise and ‘encouraged’ me to swim. I absolutely loved the first 12 hours, the next 5 were not such fun. By the end I had a massive sense of humour failure but did successfully finish. I landed by big boulders with deep water in front of them, simply getting out was very difficult - but I managed it. However, I couldn’t even be bothered to turn around in the dark and raise my arms. So I did a half-hearted wave under my arm, just twisting at the waist. Afterwards I felt nothing, maybe a bit of relief. I didn’t even feel like I’d swum the channel. I felt flat. There was no elation.

That’s not right or wrong, it just is.

Fast forward 5 years and my next solo was amazing - I was on cloud 9 and it felt amazing. I didn’t come off of that cloud until approximately the time I swam into a rock going round Jersey 7 days later (but that’s another story!).

So whatever you feel is right. It’s right for you. You may want to just process it quietly in your own head. You may want to talk through how you feel. Do what’s right for you.

If you are talking to a successful swimmer you will almost certainly project onto them how you think they should feel. In reality what you are doing is guessing how you think you will feel (a bit like the end of my relay). Don’t be surprised if they feel differently to the way you think they should. I remember chatting to a good swimming friend after my first successful solo and quite honestly told him that I didn’t feel much, I didn’t even feel like I’d done it. He’d been my observer on my first unsuccessful attempt and had previously had unsuccessful attempts of his own. He couldn’t understand how I could feel like that, and told me I shouldn’t say it. I was just being honest.

So, my advice to you, let it all sink it. However it feels is the way it is supposed to feel - for you. The way you feel about it may change over time. If you want to talk it through, we’re here and we love a good channel swim story so feel free to talk to us. If you want to close the chapter, that is fine. If you want to plan a new adventure, that’s fine too.

Takeaway message, there’s no right or wrong here, just right for you.


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 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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