A week in the pool.

It is 130 mile trip to Folkestone and Dover from where I live. Given the bad weather forecast for the weekend, I decided to stay in London. My van is not yet open and it is a long drive to spend 20 minutes in the sea. 

Unusually I spent the week in the pool.


I swim at a variety of David Lloyd clubs. I have a Vantage membership, which is expensive. But it means I can swim in any David Lloyd I please. 


This week I have managed to swim at my own club and at Kings Hill. I also occasionally swim in Dartford and when with Ali in Maidstone.


So the week was Critical Swim Speed. That is a session where based on a timed 400m and 200m you work out a time per 100m rate (in minutes and seconds) you swim a set distance in 100m sets. (or 200 or 500 etc)

Since coming back from Oz I have guessed that it would be about 1 min 59 seconds. Before I wen to Oz it was 1 minute 57. I shall be doing a re test next week. 


I then met Claire for a drills and speed work session. It is always good to swim with a swim bud. I met Claire at her club in Kings Hill. We met at 2pm and swim for a good 90 minutes. It was fun and the time flew. Drills are important for maintaining technique. I am a bit of a barge in the water. I am not a great rotator. Claire has a funny flick. The drills are designed to deconstruct the stroke technique and then practice the different bits. It works and I always feel that I am rotating much better after drilling. 


An hours time trial was also on the cards this week. My base line for this year is 2.9km in the hour. I am aiming to be able to swim an average of 3k per hour by the time I swim the channel. Given that I will have to keep this speed up for about 13 – 18 hours I have a lot of work to go. The weight training I think is also helping and I am confident that I will be able to make that pace by the time I get there. 


I was pleased with the 2.9km distance.  My last hours TT was 2.8km so I have got faster. Just goes to show that CSS training does work. Thanks to Swim Smooth for that tip. 


A speed endurance set completed the week. 


I prefer swimming outside to be honest even in the cold. Once the van opens I will be swimming more in the sea. 


Dan Earthquake laid down the gauntlet for a tide assisted Dungeness to Dover swim in April. I have put my name down for that. It will be cold and I doubt that I will be able to cope with the cold and distance but I am going to have a blooming good go!

Stuart in Sea Leopard is the charter boat we will be using (link to the right as you look) Stuart is a channel pilot who I have got to know through Dan Earthquake. He also happens to live very near my caravan and I think it would be fair to say we have become friends over the last couple or three years. 


Eric Hartley is my pilot for the swim itself. His boat is Pathfinder. He has been doing it for years and I trust his judgement and expertise. It is not too much of an exaggeration to say I will be trusting him with my life. The English Channel is the busiest shipping channel in the world. Those tankers are huge. Coping with the cold, the tankers, the current and the jelly fish is not for the faint hearted. (My friends find it hard to believe that I am scared to cross the road yet I will jump into the channel) Swimming the channel has been likened to a snail crossing the M25! 


It is a lot of money to hire the boats for the swim. But if you swim at the speed I do it is a better hourly rate! Not that I plan to be too much of snail. I will not be clambering after Jackie Cobell’s record of 28 hours for the longest time that is for sure.

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