2012 was an amazing year for me. I think I should put all this into perspective.
In September 2011 I rather foolishly booked an English Channel solo slot following the “high” of participating in two English Channel relays in 2011. I was allocated the Number 3 slot for the neap tide commencing on 12th September 2013 and this gave me two full years of preparation. However, I was persuaded to add myself to the waiting list for a cancellation in 2012. In December 2011 a cancellation became available and I was offered a solo slot for the tide commencing on 26th July 2012. I accepted this without hesitation!
In hindsight, this was all very foolish. Prior to this, my longest swim had been a 10K race in a lake in September 2011 in 17C water. I booked onto the Swimtrek Gozo Long Distance Training camp in April 2012 to kickstart my open water training in 2012. I spent the winter of 2011/12 spending many hours in the pool doing long endurance sets and I was averaging 30K-40K a week by February.
My acclimatisation started in Gozo in April. I found the week extremely hard, but I came away from this with the satisfaction that I had completed my six hour Channel qualifier. I also came away knowing that I had a lot of work to do if I was going to make it across the English Channel in just three months’ time!
I set out my training plan for the next three months. Basically I would spend every weekend in Dover training in the harbour under Freda Streeter’s instructions and I would train in the pool during the week. This was extremely hard as it meant that I spent every weekend away from my husband and two children, but we all understood that this was a temporary arrangement. These personal sacrifices also made me more determined to achieve my goal.
Anyway, in 2012 I completed the following Open Water swims:
- April 14th-19th: SwimTrek Long Distance Training Camp, Gozo (including 6 hour Channel Qualifier)
- May 27th: 10K Eton Swim at Dorney Lake
- June 16th: BLDSA Champion of Champions (5 miles, 3 miles, 1 mile), Dover Harbour
- June 24th: EDOWSC Seahorse Swim 3.8K, Studland Bay, Dorset
- May-July: Multiple swims in Dover Harbour
- July 23rd 2012 English Channel Solo Swim
- September 1st 2012 BLDSA Windermere Championship (10.5 miles). 6 hours 29 minutes 59 seconds
I have since taken a break from the Open Water and returned to the pool, training with Basingstoke Bluefins Masters squad four times a week.
In October 2012 I attended the Hampshire ASA President’s dinner on the Isle of Wight and to my surprise I was awarded the President’s Plate! This award can be given to any swimmer or official from Hampshire ASA. I was very honoured and surprised to receive this award!
I have also been nominated in the Basingstoke & Deane 2012 Sports Awards – Senior Sportwoman category. We shall have to wait to see if I am shortlisted for the final.
Anyway, I am now increasing the hours in the pool again as I have a few exciting swims planned in 2013 and I am really looking forward to another year of fun!
Here are my 2013 Plans
- 27th May 2013: Eton Swim (10K)
- 9th June 2013: Exmouth Fairway Buoy swim (4.75miles)
- 15th June 2013: BLDSA Champion of Champions (9 miles) Dover Harbour
- 23rd June 2013: Seahorse Challenge (3.8K) Studland Bay
- 30th June – 6th July 2013: Three Person English Channel Relay (The Castaways). Myself, Kate Robarts and Emma France
- 18th August 2013: BLDSA Derwentwater (5 miles)
- August 2013: Two-Way Windermere in (21 miles)
In addition, I moved up to Masters Age Group D (40-44) on 1st January 2013 which means two things:
- I will do some more Masters competitions in the pool in 2013
- I will be celebrating my 40th birthday during 2013(!)
Finally, good luck to everyone attempting the English Channel in 2013. It’s an amazing experience and I hope to meet some of you whilst training in Dover Harbour.