andy’s english channel swim: august 2007

September 2, 2007

2007 09 02 Sunday

Filed under: swimming training — andy @ 7:10 pm
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Daily routine looks as follows:

09h30 Dover Leisure centre (25m pool 28 degrees)

  • 500m warmup
  • 2 x 50m 45 sec 15 sec recovery
  • 1 x 100m 1m20sec 40 sec recovery
  • repeat x 5 = 1.5km

16h40 Shakespeare beach (where most channel swims start)

  • 1km straight easy – spending time in uneven water – the harbour is too protected. 

August 27, 2007

2007 08 26 Final taper

Filed under: swimming training — andy @ 1:21 pm
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Final week’s swimming – very light as everyone was chasing me out of the pool.

Swimming weather at Dover been good, and some of the world’s top open water swimmers have been posting mid-boggling times, in particular Peter Stoychev from (Bulgaria – 6h57mins – see photo & map below) and Yuriy Kudinov (Russia -7h06mins).  



August 22, 2007

2008 08 19

Filed under: swimming training — andy @ 11:50 am
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Wrapped up last week of training at home with the usual Sunday 1.6km swim at Camps Bay in 14.5 degree water, and then went accross to the 50m Pavillion pool and did a quick 1 km lapping spot on target tempo of 1min 40 per 100m. That tempo equates to 10h00 for the Channel, which some of the best South African swimmers like Steve Klugman and John Dickerson have done – feed breaks, tides, weather etc all included. Me – I’m just aiming to finish the swim this time. Some sunshine  & conditions where I can see a coast – any coast – would be nice!

August 14, 2007

2007 08 12

Filed under: swimming training — andy @ 11:11 am
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I now know that my watch can count up to 100 laps! I was sick & tired of swimming 1km blocks, so on Saturday I went to the gym & swam 150 x 50m concentrating specifically on technique.

Now just one more solid weeks’ training & then can start to taper. Cecilia & I fly to UK middle next week – business class courtesy of a years’ travel miles accumulated mostly by Cecilia. We spend a night in London with our friends Amanda & Mark, and then off down to Dover on Friday morning.

August 6, 2007

2007 08 05

Filed under: swimming training — andy @ 6:36 pm
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The last chart just shows what all the diet supplements can do when training volume drops. No thanks for coach Brian Button for insisting that I get on the scale!

My friend Barend Nortje ( left for Dover on the weekend. Last year Barend lowered the South African record for swimming the English Channel by an hour to 8 hours 59 seconds. Seconding him will be Dion woodbourne, who has also swum the English Channel (

Barend has a SportsTrack handheld real-time tracking unit on loan from local swimming enthusiast (the understatement of the season) Ram Barkai. This will be on Barend’s boat, and should enable us to follow his swimming progress real-time on the web. I will post logon etc details as I receive them. See

July 30, 2007

2007 07 29

Filed under: swimming training — andy @ 1:47 pm
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I ran into a wall on Monday evening (figuratively – don’t do much real running these days), and so backed right off for the rest of the week. I was due a light week next week, so deceided to take the superundercompensation right now (see comment by Mairi Brimble 2006 07 30). Hopefully I will be able to pick up condition by the end of the week.

July 23, 2007

2007 07 22

Filed under: swimming training — andy @ 1:21 pm
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Training consistency has been good for the last few weeks. I’ve been comfortable doing the bulk of the work in the 1st half of the week – two sessions daily from Monday to Thursday but all alone – no more squad work – and am about to start an easy 30 min sea swim on both Saturday & Sunday to get the reflexes accustomed to the less stable sea swimming.

As mentioned in some of the earlier posts, I have spend a lot of time adjusting my stroke to swim more efficiently. Even though I’m now comfortably holding last years milage & speed, I now feel a lot less tired in the mornings & less sore in the shoulders. Together with my twice-weekly 30 minute massages from Lindsey at the Sports Science Physio Centre I’m now feeling so good that I’m starting to wonder whether I’m training hard enough! 

However the UK weather is making sure that I don’t get too confident – the bad weather & floods there have seen a number of swimmers return home without even getting a swim.

June 26, 2007

2007 06 26

Filed under: swimming training — andy @ 4:40 pm
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I got to the Pavilion on a rainy windy Sunday morning to find 65 year-old Paul L’Anterme had beaten me to the pool, so snapped a pic with my cell phone camera. The following week Paul, an ex national lifesaving champion from Durban (very warm water), completed his first Robben Island – Blouwberg 7.5km swim, making him one of  only three over 60’s to have completed the swim.

Looking back at last years’ training (extreme left of graph above), the big load was in June, with consecutive weeks of 32km, 25km & 35km but very little after that. In fact during the 8 weeks training before my actual crossing attempt only 2 weeks included training distance over 20km. While there were contribututory factors to this, in retrospect I cannot help thinking that that exceeds the boundaries of a reasonable taper by an absurd amount.

Current training looks as follows:

– 05h30 5 days x 4.3 km consisting of either Brian Buttons squad session or:
  500m warmup
  3 x 1100m (300m@50sec/50m 100m@45sec/50m 300m@50sec/50m 100m@45sec/50m 300m@50sec/50m)
  2 x 100m@1m20s  50m easy  2 x 100m@1m18s
– 18h00 x 2 days x 2km with Kevin Fialkov’s squad
  1st Sunday of each month: Clifton 1.6km time trial (sea)
 Other weekends: LSD (long slow distance) at Pavilion (50m open air salt pool) 4km & getting longer
–  Rest: Saturday or Sunday. Complete rest – no walking the dog, no horseriding, no climbing Table Mountain. Just eat, read & sleep!

June 6, 2007

2007 06 10

Filed under: swimming training — andy @ 5:13 pm
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"One cannot discover new lands without losing sight of the shore for a very long time" (Andre Gide).

No significant swims last week, but the consistency is settling in. Only two months of training left, before losing sight of the shore for a very long time! 

June 1, 2007

Month ending 2007 05 31

Filed under: swimming training — andy @ 5:18 pm
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The month started well, with 60km in the 1st three weeks, but ended with a week overseas & a week with sinusitis on my return.

The photo on the right was taken near Lake Geneva (fountain in background) after six South African hedge fund management businesses attended very slick Capital Introduction events in London and Geneva, arranged by Jon Baker and the extremely efficient Credit-Suisse Prime Services team.