Bit of a misleading headline there. I’m not going to swim the Channel. Completely. But I AM going to do a Channel relay next September with a team of Seabrook Seals, the group of people I swim with down at Southbourne beach in Bournemouth.
I won’t tell you everything now because I don’t know many more details than the slot we’ve got – 12-17 September 2013 – and more or less who’s in the team. But you can be sure I’ll be blogging about it.
So for now it’s a case of getting used to swimming in cold water. I’ve loved the wetsuit-free swims I’ve done this summer but my longest non-wetsuit swim was 1 hour 15 mins in water that was probably about 17 degrees C. Next summer we’ve got to do a qualifying swim of two hours in 15 degrees or less. Last Sunday (when these pics were taken) the water was a balmy 14 degrees and I lasted 38 mins before I began to feel too cold. (Not that I know what too cold feels like at the moment – not sure I want to find out.) And I shivered like a shivering thing afterwards for about 45 mins.
So the plan from now on is to swim once a week throughout the winter to learn to tolerate cold water. It’ll be vile and our time in the water will reduce, I’m told, to probably a max of five minutes by about February. But then when the water starts to heat up we’ll appreciate each extra degree of warmth and by June we should be frolicking around for a couple of hours. By September we’ll be real hard nuts!