Swimming the Channel

I was brought up by the sea and always loved swimming, but never thought I would swim the channel twice – once in a 6 man relay and next solo.

Our relay team consisted of 5 girls - one being only 17 at the time, and my Brother. We swam from 9pm through the night, finishing 14 hours later. My solo took 15 hours and 32 minutes, swimming 42 miles on the strong spring tides – all the training was well worth it!

5 pool sessions of 4km a week led up to the May Day Bank Holiday when sea training starts in Dover. Sea temperatures can be just 8°C – the air temperature not much more! It's good to know the shivering and teeth chattering stops! 2 short swims (with a buddy) saturday and sunday, build up over the weekends to 3 hours, when carbohydrate 'feeds' are taken after 2 hours and then hourly, up to 6 hours on a saturday and 7 hours on a sunday – and no, the body is not smothered in grease, nor are wetsuits allowed!

Sea swimming is exhilarating, the body adapts to the cold temperatures and any negative thoughts are dealt with through the support of the other swimmers. I had a fantastic crew, they encouraged and fed me – I shouted and swore at them...

I enjoyed it all so much I am hoping to swim from Jersey to France – fingers crossed for the weather!

Christine Addison

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