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Dover Training Week 8 - Another BIG weekend!


Dover Training Week 8 - Another BIG weekend!

Emma France

Once in a while a weekend feels particularly magical. For me it is always enjoyable to support you. This weekend it was a privilege to witness quite a number of phenomenal personal achievements.


A BIG weekend

Toy Story 2 came out this weekend (I thoroughly enjoyed the bits I didn’t fall asleep through!) so what better theme to have than Tom Hanks films. There are so many to choose from. I chose Apollo 13, Paul James chose Forrest Gump, Paul Cross and a few others chose Castaway and the mini Murches went with Toy Story. Hayley, I thought the Forrest Gump inspired box of chocolates were genius!


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

  • Next weekend (29th & 30th June) - as I may be disappearing early for a swimming gala on the Saturday I think we should theme the whole weekend around swimming galas - question is will you be a competitor or an official?

  • 6th & 7th July: it has to be Gay Pride weekend. Let’s celebrate our wonderfully diverse group. Love is love.

  • 13th & 14th July: I’m keeping this one firmly under wraps and I may be drafting in some support!



Daylight on Saturday

Swimmers:  47
Water temperature: 15.9C
Air temperature:  19C
Conditions: Calm then increasingly choppy. Sunny

Swimmers:  59
Water temperature:  15.3C
Air temperature: 19.5C
Conditions:  Calm then increasingly choppy. Partly cloudy.

So far we have registered:

  • 82 Solo swimmers

  • 42 Relay swimmers

  • 34 Just for Fun swimmers

  • 66 Aspire swimmers

  • 72 Drop-in swimmers

There are 34 swimmers who have applied and will be approved subject to a successful assessment swim.

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


Expect the unexpected

Aliens invade

Just as Forrest Gump said “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get” - this weekend was “Dover is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get until Emma tells you”. Boy did I surprise some of you this weekend! I’m sure most of you who got 7 & 6s were expecting those, but I still managed to catch a few of you out - yet you still stepped up and did it.

As for those of you who kept going longer than you were asked and I was expecting - I’m not sure who was most surprised - you or me. Either way, epic stuff! Well done.

The weather also joined in with a real combination of calm and bumpy conditions and water cooler today than yesterday. It’s all fantastic training and you never can really tell what the channel will throw at you.


Stand out swims

Rachel enjoying the beach bar

With the water temperature taking a leap forward during the week, the pressure was on for those who were hoping to get qualifying swims in before it’s too late. The pressure of this one swim can be immense at times and quite a few of you quite simply nailed it.

If you are one of the people who had been struggling to achieve this necessary benchmark and achieved it this weekend, you may well find that now that this invisible barrier has been broken that what once seemed impossible is now so much easier and maybe even now part of your new ‘normal’.

One of the many benefits of training with other people aspiring to do what you want to do is that ‘normal’ gets redefined subtly along the way. This year in particular the power of the group is evident, I suspect the wheels of industry will turn a little slower on days when one of our own are swimming.

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

  • Steve Henigan for your 10 & 3 weekend

  • Ady Brown for your 10 & 6 weekend

  • Steve Stievenart for your two hour swims and for looking as fresh as a daisy when you got out!

  • Jevon O’Neill, Hugh Bennett, Lauren Whiting, Guy Harris, Elaine Henderson, Luke Edmonds, Ed Horne, Michael Jennings, Tom Knight & Drew George for your 7 & 6 weekend

  • Mat Elliott, Adam Stokes & Vicki Carter for your 8 hour swims

  • Kia Tay for completing your hard won 2 hour qualifier

  • Michael Mann, Donna Nicholas, Anel Sytdykova, Mark Kennedy, Paul Cross and Simon Redlich for your 6 hour qualifying swims.

  • Kirll Miryanov for turning a battle of a 2 hour swim last week to an easy 4 hour swim this week

  • Elaine Henderson for making big swims look so normal

  • Connie Gewert for completing her first hour swim

  • To every swimmer who did more than they were asked this weekend!

There were, again, lots of examples of how you helped each other this weekend. Some of you with words of support, some with buddy swimming with someone who needed extra support and some through helping at feeds. This year really is an incredible year for team work. Well done everyone.

Some of the swimmers listed above completed these swims with apparent ease. Others had very visible challenges along the way. Thank you for the trust you put in us when you allow us to help you stay in the water to achieve your targets.


Volunteers - thank you


Thank you to all the people who volunteered this weekend.

Thank you to:

  • Saturday: Jon Southey. With support from Paul James, Rachel Hill, Catherine Stefanutti, Connie Gewert, Nick Murch, Hayley Brant, Richard Brant, Tony Marshall, Louise Marshall, Kevin Mullarkey and everyone else who got involved and helped.

  • Sunday: Jon Southey, Ann Bodimeade and Oonagh Gormley. With support from Paul James, Tony Marshall, Connie Gewert, Nick Murch, Frederique Vandrepote, Hayley Brant, Richard Brant, Charlie Frith, Tony Marshall, Louise Marshall, Ally Howard and everyone else who got involved and helped.

Thanks also the mini Murches and mini Henigan for their help with mixing and handing out feeds.

If you can spare a day, please sign-up here. I’m particularly keen to hear from anyone who can cover the afternoon next weekend so that Paul & I can go to a swimming gala.




Feeding frenzy!

Feeding frenzy!

You may have noticed a few different flavours at feed time this week. I used a variety of flavours to add to the CNP from Peach & Barley, to Apple & Blackcurrant and sometimes a mix of the two! At one feed on each day there was also an electrolyte feed. As I mentioned last weekend, it’s a good idea to have some every 4-6 hours on your swim. The brand that we used this weekend was HiFive Zero.


Big day congratulations

It was wonderful to be able to welcome the first successful solo of the year onto the beach. Congratulations to Pierre Lord onto the beach on Sunday after his 12hr 45min solo on Saturday. He really didn’t look like he'd done anything. Incredible! Congratulations!


Looking ahead

Future disrupted sessions:

Saturday 13th July provisional (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.

Saturday 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!

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.


Emma’s corner

40% rule

Navy seals apparently are trained on the 40% rule which in a nutshell says that we are all capable are far more than we think. In fact, at the point when you think you’re done and I mean really done, that you’re actually only 40% done.

It’s worth remembering that should you have a bad day. It’s also great to experience those kinds of barriers in training so that you’re better equipped to recognise them and get through them on the big day.

This weekend there were clearly some moments when this extra 60% was called upon for some of you. Simon, you impressed me when you carried on despite groin pain from 2 hours and Kia for doing what you felt you could not. Mat and Adam, you both also carried on when logic would have said to stop.

It’s worth noticing your own patterns. When do you find it particularly difficult? First couple of hours? Hours 3-4? Last section? If you recognise that you have a pattern, then you’re half way there to beating it. For some it could be the head that struggles with the first part of the swim. Some also struggle when their glycogen stores are depleted and they switch energy sources to fat burning. Nine times out of ten this phase will pass and you can get through it.

We will always help you out if is no longer safe for you to continue. When it is safe to continue and it’s sensible to cary on we will encourage you to stay in. Getting through a phase like that is such an incredible learning experience.

This YouTube video explains more about the 40% rule.


Online applications & membership cards

New style membership cards

New style membership cards

I have a lot of membership cards waiting for collection. If you haven’t yet picked up yours, please see me next time you’re on the beach. Please can you attach your membership cards to the outside of your swim bags. This is part of our safety procedures should we need to identify bags in the even of an emergency, it’s also helpful if we know which is your bag if you need to change goggles or get any medication etc that you might need.

If you haven’t joined us yet and still plan to, the online declaration can be found here.

No declaration, no swim, no exception.


Alison Streeter used to always say that swimming the channel is 80% mental, and 20% everything else. I like Julian’s twist on this ‘it’s 80% mental and 20% in your head’! Your Dover Channel Training subscription covers all your physical training with us in Dover, including all your feeds and the support of the volunteers. The act of training also supports part of the hidden 80% by giving you unique experiences and the opportunity to do things that you may not have previously considered possible.

You may have questions, in fact I suspect you will have plenty at times. There are a number of ways to get additional support. Most swimmers with experience will be happy to chat with you and answer your questions from their perspective. A number of experienced swimmers have also signed up to be mentors via our facebook group mentorship programme. That is also free to use.

If you want more formal support than can be offered in a brief conversation on the beach or via the mentorship programme, please get in touch with me so that we can discuss if I can provide additional assistance outside of what is offered through Dover Channel Training. You can find out a bit more at Emma2France. As well as the qualifications and experience that you’d expect I’d have, I’m also a Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and a Hypnotist. If you have unhelpful self-talk, beliefs that are not real and are limiting your progress or a desire to have more support, please get in touch. We can discuss what would be of benefit for you.



A few photos captured at the weekend.

See you next week!!


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