Relay Channel Swim Training Tips
On the day: You will need to be capable of swimming at least 2 x 1hr swims in the
sea at a good pace. The sea is likely to be about 15 degrees in Aug 09. Sea
swimming is great fun, but you must train and be "swim-fit". In cold water you will get
hypothermia if you do not swim strongly, however, if you train hard and keep your
stroke rate up, you will generate enough energy to keep yourself warm.
Between now and the event: You must aim to build up to swimming strongly for 1hr
15 mins in the pool (covering more than 100 lengths in a session).
From mid-May: Swimmers must start swimming at least once a week outside in a
safe freshwater or sea water venue. There are reservoirs and lakes with safety boat
cover, used by triathletes, throughout the country. Type "open-water swimming" into
a search engine in order to find suitable training locations in your area. Do not train
on your own in open-water.
Training Days: Official Channel Swim & Pilot Federation Training days start in May
and take place every weekend in Dover harbour. We will nominate specific dates for
the Diabetes UK teams to meet up and train together.
Sea Sickness and team work: The Dover weekends will give you an indication of
whether you are susceptible to seasickness. In the relay event, in a team of 6, you
swim for 1 hr and then recover in the boat for 5hrs. It can get choppy out on the
water, particularly through the shipping lanes and almost everyone will experience
sea/motion sickness. This is where preparation and teamwork kick in. Working as a
team, keeping people talking and looking at the horizon will help. Going into your
shell and cutting yourself off from the team will generally make you feel worse. You
should work on your breathing in training in order to minimise the risk of taking on
seawater as swallowing seawater will make you sick. It is also recommended that
you take seasickness pills in your preparation to make sure your body is OK with a
Be prepared: You have a "Duty of Care" to yourself and your team to be as best
prepared as possible and understand the task you are taking on. The above gives
some idea of what you will need to do in order to be prepared. Further advice can be
found at www.channelswim.net. It is a good idea to become a member of the
Swimmers Chat Site that is linked to this site as you can then ask questions, add
your comments, and get a lot of help and advice from other swimmers and trainers.
Diabetes and swimming: Cold water swimming will affect your body differently to
your everyday activities. It will be important to monitor the effects in training and
adapt accordingly. It could well be worth talking to your diabetes team about your
plans. Rob Healey has Type 1 diabetes and has taken part in this race before, as
well as making a solo attempt. We have been consulting him closely and he will be
there both on the day and at training events. Our boat pilot has experience in dealing
with diabetes and we hope to have a nurse present on the day. Go to
www.channeleagle.co.uk/html/diabetes___me for an account of how Rob Healey
managed his diabetes while undertaking a solo attempt.
A message from Rob Healey: “Last year I took part in both a relay and a solo
attempt. The whole experience was fantastic, but it is tough, mentally and physically
– I really look forward to meeting all of you who are prepared to take on this exciting
and testing challenge.”