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Dover Training Week 19 - The Dovercoaster is open for business again


Dover Training Week 19 - The Dovercoaster is open for business again

Emma France

Our sport seems to be a real feast or famine thing. After a 7 day run of back to back swims, we’ve had a break. I’m sure the pilots are grateful for the chance to catch up on some much needed rest, but more than a couple of days as we all start to get twitchy and the Dovercoaster starts attracting riders again. If that’s you, hang in there! I remember facing the same thing in 2009. I got blown out from my tide at the end of August, I then got blown out of the next neap and my nerves were shattered. I caved and said that I’d now wait until the following year, my pilot thought otherwise! I was convinced to keep the faith and my reward was the most amazing day at the end of September.

If this is you, hang in there #TheBestIsYetToCome



This weekend the theme was Superheroes - something where you can come dressed as yourselves as this group is full of people who I consider to be superheroes. Keep on being amazing!!

Future themes

You may have noticed that Paul Cross has joined in most of our themes, so I thought it only fair that he get to choose one of the upcoming themes. Without missing a bit he said ‘Sea Creatures’! So that is the theme for next weekend.



Daylight on Saturday

Swimmers:   38
Water temperature: 17.9C
Air temperature:   15.8C
Conditions: Slight breeze with a short downpour

Swimmers:   32
Water temperature:   17.5C
Air temperature: 13.8C
Conditions:   Fairly flat, warm when sun came out.

So far we have registered:

  • 87 Solo swimmers

  • 45 Relay swimmers

  • 40 Just for Fun swimmers

  • 77 Aspire swimmers

  • 137 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 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:

  • Geoff Gardiner for his Windermere solo on 1st September

  • Ros Hardiman for her Loch Ness solo on 2nd September

  • Nichola Murch for her successful wash solo on 8th September in a time of 6 hours 39 minutes

  • me on my successful Windermere solo on 5th September

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

The swim badges have arrived!!

Who will be first to collect all 16 (of course we may extend the collection over time)? I have 9 so far. How many do you have?

These are exclusively for those of you who did the training for your event with DCT. The volunteer award is for those who signed up on the rota at least 5 times - all volunteers are amazing and it is the rota’d volunteers who ensure that can keep everything running smoothly.

The volunteer badges are free. The English Channel solo badge is free for anyone from 2019 onwards. All other badges cost £4 each.



The class of 2019 hoodies will be available for sale very soon. It’s possible that they will be ready for the BBQ but more likely for the landing sites visit. They are available in an array of colours and you can choose to personalise with your name.

The number on the back is filled with your names. Everyone who registered and has swum with us up until about a week ago is included. That’s 374 names!

Please note, this is not a list of names for successful English Channel Relays & Solos. If anyone is interested in that design, please let me know and I’ll see what can be created.


Volunteers - thank you


Saturday: Jon Southey, Paul James & Mandi Bodemeaid. With help from Keith Oiller.

Sunday: Jon Southey, Paul James, Mandi Bodemeaid. With help from Catherine Stefanutti, Keith Oiller, Margot Anderson

And everyone else who just rolled up and helped - we have now switched to the position where we have more people helping than we have swimming!!

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



Looking ahead

IMG_2059 2.jpg

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

19th October visit to the landing sites. Paul James & Paul Cross have volunteered to coordinate this day. 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. You can sign up here.

Seminars this will be planned again at some point in January or February. If you or people you know of are training for a future season, this is for you!


Emma’s corner

The benefits of training


This year I always planned to stay on the beach in order to enable Paul & Mandi to train. This is something that I have very much enjoyed doing. It has felt odd, though, not to be planning or doing a big swim of my own given that I have started one solo swim or another every year since 2014. It didn’t sit quite right if I’m honest. So buoyed up by your successes and inspired by the Sink or Swim celebrities, I decided to attempt Windermere.

My longest training swim this season was 3 hours back in June. After that there’s just been a couple of 2 hour swims. For one reason or another (work, exhaustion, apathy) I’ve not even done that much pool training. I applied logic to this and realised that if I could do a SwimQuest or SwimTrek long distance training camp where you ramp up to 6 hours in a few days, then this must be possible on last year’s training.

I was right as my swim was successful. So the first takeaway message is that if you are riding the Dovercoaster and I’ve heard swim people get concerned about an extended taper, you can relax, my taper was a year long!

As I was swimming along though, I had plenty of time to think about the benefits that I would have been enjoying if I had trained and what exactly the training would have provided. Here are the major areas that I considered:

In my opinion, these are some of the main things that training gives you:

  • Muscle memory - for those of you who have been swimming since you were tiny, this isn’t such an issue - years and years of drills and training will have ingrained your stroke. Those of us who are late onset swimmers find that we need to continually work on our technique. Old habits can creep back in. There are other ways to work on muscle memory and conditioning and I have been doing some land based conditioning, it just isn’t quite the same.

  • Fitness - an endurance event does require a level of fitness. Whilst we can do other activities to improve our overall fitness, there’s nothing quite like doing the actual activity that you’ll be doing.

  • Cold acclimatisation - as you progress through the season of training you become more at home in the temperatures that you’ll be swimming in if you are repeatedly exposed to them

  • Mental preparation - sometimes just knowing that you’ve done the training can have a huge impact on your beliefs.

So how was it for me without this?

  • Technique - as an adult onset swimmer, not training and not working on my technique relentlessly has caused me to lose some of the strengths that I had worked so hard on. My challenge has always been falling off my rotation on my left side too soon. I went to see my technique coach yesterday and whilst my technique was better than it had been last time I saw him, I do still have that tendency. So what? Well, as I still have a good catch, falling off rotation means that I’m holding a lot of water in a weak position. Not surprising that my left shoulder hurt a lot at the end of the swim

  • Speed - less than perfect technique and lack of fitness meant that the swim was slower than it would have been had I trained well

  • Cold - The water was 16.1C and the air at the start was 7C with a windchill taking it to 5C. With a lack of training I felt cold before I started and felt cold for much of the swim. It would have been a more pleasant experience if I had the cold acclimatisation.

  • Mental - I had to rely on logic for this swim - the belief that it had to be possible based on what I can do on a training camp. Normally I’d be able to relax and say ‘Trust the training’ or ‘Trust the process’

However, I did it! My takeaways:

  • The time you invest in training leaves a credit in your bank - you can do more than you perhaps think

  • Training does give you a more comfortable experience - physically and mentally

I recommend training (no surprise there!).


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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