As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/

Swimming the English Channel

Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Registered User regular
edited August 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm interested in doing it in a years time (after I'm assuming plenty of training :) ), anyone know how I'm best going about it, what information there is, how best I am to train. I'd like to do it for charity (not for the pure hell of it).

Currently I'm a very strong swimmer and in pretty good physical condition. I swim 2 or 3 times a week but only a distance of a mile or so (and the channel is 22!) but that's largely due to time constraints on my exercise. I doubt I'd have too much of a problem swimming the distance in a pool.

How would I be best to practice? There's not many pools that'd be chuffed with me staying in for 12 hours or more! Is there anything else I should know?

Steam: Sir_Grinch
PSN: SirGrinchX
Oculus Rift: Sir_Grinch
Mr_Grinch on

Posts

  • RaneadosRaneados police apologist you shouldn't have been there, obviouslyRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    it's cold

    as balls

    so cold


    and DEFINITELY bring someone with you in a boat or something, don't die in a stupid way

    Raneados on
  • FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Swimming in the sea would be a good start - its quite different. The salt makes you float a little better, but the waves can really break your stride.

    Fallingman on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Paul_IQ164Paul_IQ164 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Looks like these people might know a thing or two:

    http://www.channelswimmingassociation.com/

    Paul_IQ164 on
    But obviously to make that into a viable anecdote you have to tart it up a bit.
    Tetris: 337214-901184
    Puzzle League: 073119-160185
  • BlochWaveBlochWave Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Nobody's ever REALLY had the stamina to do it, you're gonna have to rest on your back occasionally and let followers in a boat(and you will need that)feed you through a straw and stuff.

    For comparison a marathon is 26 miles. You can imagine how hard a marathon is(it usually takes a runner that can already comfortably run 5 miles with the occasional 8-10 mile run 4-6 months to train for a marathon)and I'm sure you can imagine how much harder it is to swim a mile in rough waters than it is to run one

    BlochWave on
  • Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Yeah, it's something I've wanted to do for a while though and I am a damn strong swimmer. After reading up i'm aware I'd have to get some practice open water swims etc in. It seems you need to raise £2000 initially as that pays for the boat which follows you along.

    Cheers for the link, I was hoping someone might have done it :)

    I'd just like to have something to aim for in, say, a years time, or even two if it takes me longer to train up. Maybe a long term goal, but I exercise and swim enough at the moment. it'd be nice to have an ambition :)

    (Incidentally running I'm not quite as able at as swimming I doubt, but I can manage an 8 mile run on the treadmill easy enough)

    Mr_Grinch on
    Steam: Sir_Grinch
    PSN: SirGrinchX
    Oculus Rift: Sir_Grinch
  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Be aware that you have to prepare extremely far ahead - quite aside from the physical and mental condition, you need to choose a time and route that won't get you ploughed by a ferry, and you have to be registered with some sort of organisation before you can legally attempt it, I think. My brother-in-laws swam it the other year after training for bloody ages and they did it in relay.

    Willeth on
    @vgreminders - Don't miss out on timed events in gaming!
    @gamefacts - Totally and utterly true gaming facts on the regular!
  • -tha-maniac--tha-maniac- Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I used to have a lot of trouble swimming through waves,
    but then I started practicing at a local wave pool (mine only has waves during public swim though)
    Might be a good idea if your the same way

    -tha-maniac- on
  • Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Willeth wrote: »
    Be aware that you have to prepare extremely far ahead - quite aside from the physical and mental condition, you need to choose a time and route that won't get you ploughed by a ferry, and you have to be registered with some sort of organisation before you can legally attempt it, I think. My brother-in-laws swam it the other year after training for bloody ages and they did it in relay.

    Yeah, it's not something I'm planning on doing tomorrow. If I'm going to go ahead, I'll organise it properly, look when I'll realistically be capable of doing it and sign up with one of these organisations. Someone from my work is bringing me information on it as a friend of there's recently did it. Apparently it's only warm enough to do it about 4 or 5 weeks a year.

    Mr_Grinch on
    Steam: Sir_Grinch
    PSN: SirGrinchX
    Oculus Rift: Sir_Grinch
  • The_ScarabThe_Scarab Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Raneados wrote: »
    it's cold

    as balls

    so cold


    and DEFINITELY bring someone with you in a boat or something, don't die in a stupid way

    You have to have someone with you in a boat. Its the law. Also, you have to have done some swimming endurance test beforehand, like 1000 lengths of a pool or something, or I think its 12 hours non stop swimming.

    You should definetly look into where you get this done, because if you dont you will get about 10 minutes out to sea and the coastguard will arrest you.


    Im not joking.

    The_Scarab on
  • Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Yeah, I know :) I'm not about to leap in to the channel and just see how far I can get on my own. I intend to try and find an organisation that helps...well...organise these type of events for charity. Then attempt it in about a year if I feel I'm ready, otherwise two years.

    Also, apparently there are weight restrictions (you have to have enough...blubber to keep you warm) so I don't know if currently I'd meet them (I'm 5 foot 5 and just under 10 stone)

    Mr_Grinch on
    Steam: Sir_Grinch
    PSN: SirGrinchX
    Oculus Rift: Sir_Grinch
  • FawkesFawkes __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2007
    Planning to do this as well, when I can get the time (and a place) to train, and some sponsorship / support etc via the Army.

    Basic information is from the Channel Swimming Association at the link above, they essentially run the swims; though I'm sure people might have done it without going through them, they are now pretty ubiquitous and those are the officially recognised ones.

    As you seem to have read, they almost exclusively run them in late August / September, when it is both warm enough and the currents are safest. I have heard of people doing it in May, but that must be an intentional cold-water version, as the channel is very cold at that time. Temperature-wise, doing it in August/September isn't actually that bad. I've seen swim temperatures ranging from 17-22'C in that period (obviously it depends a lot on luck), but bear in mind that once you have done cold-water for a while, 17-22'C is near tropical.

    Training. Before I get into it, you need to read up a lot more & get a lot more experience I suspect. 8 miles on a treadmill is nowhere near comparable to 8 miles in the water. How fast are you doing your mile in the pool?

    First thing to do is start swimming outdoors, now. Preferably in the sea, but this isn't practical for most people. Otherwise, find a small non-polluted river if you can (not canals!), or cleanish lake / pond. You need to do this both for the outdoor practice (& swimming in saltwater / waves if possible) and also for acclimatisation to cold water swimming. At this time of year, even though it's fucking arctic over most of the UK, outdoor water will generally be as warm as it gets. Keep swimming outdoors at least a couple of times a week throughout the winter, or as long as you can keep it up (use a wetsuit if it gets too much). I do this in the Hampstead ponds in London, and the temperature goes from highs of 24/25 in summer, to 3/4 in winter. Most of October-November and Feburary - April will hover around 8/9 degrees, which is painful, but tolerable in skin.

    Second thing is fitness. Just being a strong swimmer is not enough. You should also be going reasonably fast while in your comfort zone. I seem to remember someone telling me that most people doing these endurance swims can do 2 miles an hour in calm water without taxing themselves. After you can do that, start building up the length of swims you do. Don't increase the standard length you do (ie keep trying to improve your time over 2 miles, or distance over an hour), but throw in longer swims once or twice a week. Increase the distance of those swims (you may not be able to do all this in outdoors, especially if it is over the winter). Finally, as you come to the summer before you attempt the swim, start throwing in long outdoors swims, ie 10+ mile swims on a weekend or such. Preferably do this in water the same temperature or a little colder than the predicted channel temperature, and definitely do some of them in the sea.

    Third thing is nutrition etc, as you mentioned. Don't really know much about this, except that the CSA have some good links for what to do on their site, last time I looked.

    Finally, don't worry about your time etc, at least the first attempt. The distance people swim varies greatly depending on tides and such (some people swim 19 miles, some swim 25+), so obviously it's not the same as competing on a set-route race. How fast you do it in will partly depend on your fitness, and mostly on luck with tides, temperature, weather and so on.
    Nobody's ever REALLY had the stamina to do it, you're gonna have to rest on your back occasionally and let followers in a boat(and you will need that)feed you through a straw and stuff.

    Er, no. Most people take on fluids etc. But if you want stamina, there are people who do double swims (get up to the beach in Calais, touch sand, swim out again without getting onto land). One person even did three in a row. Just because you might pause to cross the road when walking to work, you're still walking the distance to work, right?

    Fawkes on
  • FawkesFawkes __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2007
    PS All the above aside, you know, go for it! More people have climbed Everest than have swum the Channel, it's quite a club to belong to.

    Fawkes on
  • Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Cheers for the advice, that's the kinda post I'm after :)

    I'm going to have to have a look around to see where I can get some open water swimming done, but being in York there are a ton of rivers about, I may approach the council and see how they feel about me going for a dip!

    The sea is also a possibility, my home town is on the coast, I used to (some years ago now, probably 7 years back!) go for a good swim up and down a beach called Ron Head (just off Barrow in Furness) but gradually it became more and more polluted (nuclear power plant nearby likely doesn't help much). I could see how things are there for swimming nowadays as I'm back reaonably frequent.

    Yeah, the treadmill comparison was just for the guy above who was on about a marathon. Swimming, a mile takes me about 25minutes, 2 miles takes me roughly double that so just over 50minutes depending on if I'm in the 50m pool or the 25m pool (25m pool my times tend to be slower as I spend more time avoiding bumping in to people and getting turned around!). Thus far I've never been exhausted nor got to the point i couldn't continue. I'm going for a dip tonight so I may see how long it takes me to do a mile crawl.

    I think the main stumbling block for me will be finding somewhere to train.

    Cheers again for the advice!

    Mr_Grinch on
    Steam: Sir_Grinch
    PSN: SirGrinchX
    Oculus Rift: Sir_Grinch
  • FawkesFawkes __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2007
    Good times (faster than me!) so you've got a good foundation there. Should have no problem doing this next year if you keep that up. Stroke is a good point, I believe everyone ends up doing it all crawl, because that's the easiest way to cut through the waves.

    I wouldn't approach the council about it - depends on where you are, but they tend to be pretty risk averse bodies. I'd just go scouting around nearby, and if you find somewhere that looks good, ask around the locals as to what in the way of farms / factories (or anything that dumps into the river) lie upstream. A good indicator of whether something is polluted or not from that kind of stuff is the amount of scum/froth that is being carried downstream or collecting in the still water near the banks. I think most rural rivers in the North have been cleaned up a lot in the last decade however, I grew up in the Scottish Borders and went swimming in the Tweed there as a kid, and it's a lot cleaner now when I go back. Rivers are also good fitness training (swimming against the current). Otherwise, if you are going to swim in the sea, you can't beat training in the sea.

    Remember though, the point of open-water training is acclimatisation and getting used to the rougher water. You can maintain acclimatisation by just going in 2-3 times a week, and if you are really having trouble getting out, literally lying in a cold bath or taking cold showers will keep your body used to it. And for the rougher water, you pretty much need to be in the sea for the practice. Point being; you can do a lot of your training in a normal pool, you just need to keep up a certain amount of open-water stuff at the same time.

    Fawkes on
  • Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Well, by chance I've moved right next to a river (well a 3min walk away) and there's little else around there. Methinks I'll try and get some practice in there.

    Cheers for all the advice, I'll update the thread with how I get on!

    If you decide to do it, drop me a pm and let me know how you get on/how the training goes :)

    Mr_Grinch on
    Steam: Sir_Grinch
    PSN: SirGrinchX
    Oculus Rift: Sir_Grinch
Sign In or Register to comment.