I will be swimming between 8-20 July 2016.

All my training and preparation is for this one event:

A single width of the English Channel;

no stopping and starting;

no resting for TV dinners;

no kissing or cuddling.

One width.

One continuous, uninterrupted line.

(After Merz)



There is no specific date for my swim  because  other swimmers are cued to cross before me.

If their swims are delayed due to bad weather, this affects the timing of my swim. So I have to be ready, flexible, adaptable.

Unlike a marathon run where the course route and distance  are fixed , the distance, timing and path of a Channel swim are governed by swim speed, changing weather conditions and tide.

The shortest distance from England to France is 21 miles in a straight line. When I swim however,  the distance covered will be much longer due to the force of the current which will force me off course. The line I take will be in the form of an S-shape.

There is also the matter of the changing tide. One hears of swimmers arriving within a couple of miles of the French coast and having to swim on the spot for hours because the tide has turned against them.

The question is,  how will I perform when my mind and body at their limits. How will I cope with losing my sense of gravity and place?  With pain?


I’ve been there before, all those endless nights working in my studio, running on empty. 

the point where words stop working and pictures follow

sensory deprivation


More about this to follow.


Fear and Fury -Adapting to the terrain

I was thinking today that perhaps many of the inconsistencies in my swimming technique and performance are related to the abilities of the other swimmers in the lane. If I want to swim faster I need to swim with faster swimmers. If I want to improve my stroke I need to swim with more technically proficient swimmers.

This is one of the advantages of club swimming. One is able to evaluate and correct ones technique by comparing oneself and getting feedback from other club members and, of course, the coach.

 In public swims people have different training agendas and swim at different speeds,  often in the same lane. 

Overtaking can be quite stressful because I worry about colliding with oncoming swimmers. Stress makes me tense up and affects my form. 

Rather than focus on my technique  I worry about injury. It’s not good.  I get frustrated and angry. Angry swimming is a waste of energy. It’s also unpleasant and negative.

So I need to find a way of avoiding or managing stress. I need to either find a safer swimming environment or learn to swim confidently in unpredictable and potentially perilous conditions.

Key problem: Currently when overtaking or swimming crawl in a public swim rather that keep my head in a neutral position i am forever turning to check for swimmers swimming at me, over and under me.

My erratic head movement contributes to drag , poor shoulder rotation and generally bad form.

Solution :
Experiment with changing head position to enable you to see ahead and to the side while maintaining steady, streamline body position.

Incorporate water polo heads up technique in phases of swim  to help with sighting.

Try to get more sensitive and controlled connection with water. The objective is to be able to change speed and direction while maintaining good form and minimal splash!