andy’s english channel swim: august 2007

July 20, 2006

Week 2006 07 23

Filed under: swimming training — andy @ 4:35 pm
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To paraphrase Yogi Berra  "Swimming the English Channel is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical."

The mental 90% seems the trickier half in this final run-up to our departure for Dover.

July 17, 2006

Week 2006 07 16

Filed under: swimming training — andy @ 11:29 am
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One month until the beginning of my window of 16-23 August. I visited Dover exactly a year ago, when the photo left above was taken; I would pay good money for conditions like that in a month!

Last week felt good. Finished Friday morning’s 4.5km squad session with 20 x 25m – Murray & Damien swimming relays against me in the squad session; I hope the irrational exuberance doesn’t count against me next week. An easy 3 x 1.5km on Saturday in a coolish (sub-15 degrees) Pavillion, and another easy sea swim on Sunday (the usual 14 degrees) with the usual friends – Andrew, Ram (just back from a 20km swim down the Sea of Galilea), Herda, Melanie, Hester & Motti.

Coincidently, I finished my first sea swim with Hester & Motti 4 years ago (centre photo), and also swam my first Robben Island swim with Hester (photo right). I have not lost any weight since then – probably something to do with all the supplements that I take with & between meals – but I optimistically believe that I have "re-distributed" some of it!   

July 10, 2006

Week 2006 07 09

Filed under: swimming training — andy @ 10:18 am
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Another lightish week. My left shoulder has been displaying the same symptoms as Week 2006 05 28 – feels like an impingement of something deep (my own expert diagnosis). Anti-inflammatories keep it in a holding pattern, but I have not been feeling on top of my game, slogging through the training sessions.

Cape Point Record Swim 

Sunday was a memorable outing – John Dickerson (see Week 2006 05 21) organised a swim around Cape Point (

Peter Whipp (left in foto below), the former Sprinbok rugby player, provided the boat and energetic crew (his sons – middle photo), and the ever-present Hugh ("do you mind if I drive") Tucker was the official observer. This was a real character-building outing for Hugh, who is still recovering from tick-bite fever and the associated disabling headaches.


As per Lynne Cox’s original swim around the point in the 1980’s ( we swam through a mild swell in to Diaz beach (3rd photo above), where we were greeted by an intimidating shorebreak (see Andrew Chin’s similar account Then out through the shorebreak again, bounced a couple of times in the shallow water, and out to Cape Point, with the most powerful lighthouse in the southern hemisphere.


Round the point (which is NOT where the Indian & Atlantic oceans meet – it’s all cold), down the coast where the water flattens out, and in to the slipway at Buffels bay (see small cottage in centre just above waterline).

John & I completed the swim in 2 hours 10 mins and 2 hours 12 mins respectively; if John had not spent half the morning waiting for me, he would have finished much earlier – not bad for someone who is making a come back to open water swimming, training "at least once or twice a week" (verbatim quote). Both times bettered the previous record of 2 hours 20 mins held by Carina Bruwer (

July 5, 2006

Week 2006 07 02

Filed under: swimming training — andy @ 3:19 pm
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As recommended by Jon Ackland in his book "Complete Guide to Endurance Training,"  periodisation & the management of macrocycles, mesocycles & microcycles varies the intensity and volume of training to optimize the body’s ability to recover and rebuild, rather than a relentless increase in quantity. That was regarded as enough justification to take a lighter week i.e. early morning squad sessions only, no evening sessions & no long swims. The week got lighter when I overslept & missed Friday’s morning session altogether!

I hoped that this would result in feeling light & strong for the weekly sea swim time trial on Sunday. In fact just the opposite – the Atlantic was lumpy and I struggled to get out of the slow rut that I had been in during the "light week." The obvious lesson is that a light period should reduce quantity, but maintain or increase quality.