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Dover Training Week 21 - An historic swim resets our boundaries


Dover Training Week 21 - An historic swim resets our boundaries

Emma France

In the UK at least, channel swimming rarely gets any media coverage anymore until this week. Sarah Thomas’ epic 4 way channel solo not only has us all tracking, nail biting and enjoying the live feeds at the finish, it also captured the interest of the whole world. The one epic solo swim has shifted the boundaries of what is possible. The sport will never be the same as it was before again.

Sarah started this with a high level of credibility following other epic swims that she had already completed and you’d be forgiven for thinking that at least the first three crossings were easy based on the rapid progress and perfect track (fantastic piloting and swimming). Then I read the amazing write-up - she is human, it wasn’t all easy and plain sailing. I loved the write up, I’ve no idea how she managed something so eloquently written so quickly. I think it contained something that we could all relate to at our own personal point in our journeys.

At the other end of the spectrum and airing on the same day that Sarah stepped into the record books, the final episode of Sink or Swim aired. A group of celebrities who could not previously swim showed what can be achieved with excellent coaching over a 12 week period. They made a very credible attempt at at channel relay (albeit in wetsuits) and were only stopped by the weather.

So, no matter where you are on your own personal journey, this week was for you. I hope you have been as inspired as me.



Sarah Thomas.jpg


This weekend’s theme was a fairly open one - choose your favourite from the past 20 weeks. We went with Baywatch.

Next weekend is our final weekend of training (how has that come around so quickly?!), so your challenge is to come up with something related to the letters D, C or T. I will have some spare options with me should you have trouble thinking of something (be afraid!).



Daylight on Saturday

Swimmers:   14
Water temperature: 17.1C
Conditions: Breezy & sunny

Swimmers:  20
Water temperature: 17.1C
Conditions:   Mostly sunny. Flat to start with, slightly choppy towards the end.

So far we have registered:

  • 87 Solo swimmers

  • 44 Relay swimmers

  • 38 Just for Fun swimmers

  • 77 Aspire swimmers

  • 146 Drop-in swimmers

There are 34 swimmers who have applied and will be approved subject to a successful assessment swim (you really are running out of time for this season!!). The online declaration can be found here.


Channel swimmer on the beach

Congratulations to the following swimmers on their swims this week (up until Sunday 15th September):

  • Steve Stievenart for his successful Round Jersey solo on 16th September in a time of 11 hours 11 minutes

  • Natalia Chuich for her successful English Channel solo on 16th September in a time of 13 hours 55 minutes

  • Charlie Allman-Brown for his successful English Channel solo on 16th September in a time of 17 hours 6 minutes

Whilst not someone who is registered with DCT, we had the opportunity to say hello to Sarah before her big swim and some of you were there when she finished or signed the wall. Her incredible 4 way swim had the following crossing times:

  • Crossing 1 (England to France): 11 hour 26 minutes 50 seconds

  • Crossing 2 (France to England): 12 hours 40 minutes 14 seconds

  • Crossing 3 (England to France): 12 hours 58 minutes 16 seconds

  • Crossing 4 (France to England): 17 hours 4 minutes 40 seconds

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



The Class of 2019 hoodies are now on sale and can be found here. For those of you going to the landing sites visit I’ll aim to have them for then. For everyone else, I’ll arrange for them to be posted.

The store closes on 24th September at 00:59.



We had hoped that you would like the swim badges and it seems that you have - they have been flying out!! I’ll bring them with me to the BBQ weekend if you still want to get your hands on yours. If you can’t make it I can mail them to you. Just send me a request for what you’re after. Remember these are exclusively for people who have trained with DCT since its inception in 1982.

I’ll also have the rest of the shop with me next weekend if you have been meaning to get something and never quite got around to it.



Some of the group have been working away in the background to create a 2020 calendar in the style of ‘that’ Women’s Institute Calendar Girls calendar. Further details will be out soon, so if you’re interested, please watch out for further information. All profits will go to the organising group’s nominated charities.


Volunteers - thank you


Saturday: Jon Southey & Mandi Bodemeaid.

Sunday: Jon Southey, Mandi Bodemeaid, Keith Oiller and Paul James.

Throughout the season you have all been amazing. Training only works when we work as a team. Sometimes your team role is as a swimmer, sometimes it’s on the beach and helping though still training. There are many ways to help - if you want to help out for the last weekend or perhaps next year, you will be very welcome.



Looking ahead

IMG_2059 2.jpg

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

Sunday 29th September our final day of training for 2019.

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

What next

As the season starts to wind down and we approach our final weekend of training. Those of us who have completed our planned events may find ourselves looking to the future.

Each year a significant proportion of swimmers will reflect on what was an amazing year and move onto other challenges in their life and fondly remember their channel swimming year.

For others of us, we are now already wondering what other swims we could do - there’s a lot of water on this planet so it’s not just about the channel. Whether you’re moving on and away from the sport, have unfinished business in the channel or planning a new adventure, you were part of the Class of 2019 and that is a fantastic group. I hope you enjoyed it.

If you want to chat through ideas, why not share your thoughts in the facebook group? There’s a lot of experience there to share. Whilst most of my swims have been in the English Channel, I have done a few other adventures too. Between the 2,400 of us in the facebook group I suspect you’ll find an expert in the swim you’re considering.

I’m also hoping to add a new stream to our 2020 seminars - one aimed at people coming back to try new adventures. Watch out for further information.


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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