So blog followers, with any luck you won’t have to read about the build up to my Channel swim much longer because next time I write it could be over. I say ‘could be’ because there are various variables that spectators of this sport should know. My swimming slot (known in the trade as my ‘tide’) officially opens this coming Friday (the 21st August). It lasts a week but exactly what day I go depends upon a number of factors and mainly the weather. If conditions are bad it’s possible that I won’t go next week at all. I’ll keep you posted if and when the big day comes and how you can follow my progress.
And here are some other Channel swimming facts it might be useful to know.
I won’t be wearing a wetsuit or getting out for a rest. If you want to be a certified Channel swimmer you need to follow the rules which replicate what Captain Matthew Webb faced when he became the first man to swim it in 1875 (and by the way a film has just been released about his life so if you’re interested in the history do go and see it).
Webb swam it in twenty two hours and since then the quickest swim has been just over seven hours and the longest nearly twenty nine. The average time is about fifteen. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me but as I only have one speed and that speed is slow it could be up to twenty hours.
Tankers, tides and jellyfish are three of the main hazards of any crossing. The Channel is the busiest shipping lane in the world. The tides take you all over the place so there’s no swimming in a straight line and they can add many hours to your time. And apparently jellyfish are particularly big this year. A swimming friend of mine who has just completed a six-person relay said she went through a cathedral of them. I love the description but I’m praying it’s not a cathedral, I’ll need to go in.
I have my own support boat and an amazing team of people who will be with me on the day. They’ll feed me regularly with warm liquid carbohydrate and the odd jelly baby or piece of milky way (!). I’ve promised them I’m not going to complain or ask how long I’ve got to go. We shall see.
And finally, I’m swimming for two causes close to my heart – for families who do not have the children they long for and children who do not have the families they deserve. I’m so touched by all the support and encouragement I’ve received. I’ve already raised nearly £8,000 for my two chosen charities which feels like an incredible amount for a sponsored swim.
But then this is no straightforward sponsored swim. This is the English Channel. The Everest of open water crossings. And given that two years ago I could only manage a few lengths of crawl in the pool, I’ve come a long way. Although right now I know more than anyone that there’s still the longest way to go.
Click here for my JustGiving page for Infertility Network UK.
Click here for my JustGiving page for the Lyric Hammersmith.