andy’s english channel swim: august 2007


No expedition of this nature is possible without great tolerance from family & colleagues, patience & advice from coaches, and enthusiasm from training partners.

Firstly, my wife Cecilia has been a source of unwavering confidence in me, to the extent that she was confidently stating to our friends that I was training for this swim, long before I was prepared to admit it to myself. 


In addition, I need to thank the following people for their contributions directly related to my swimming:

  • Brian Button: the coach & godfather of the Cape Dolphins swimming club, who still coaches at 05h30 6 days a week.
  • Gary Freeling: an accomplished coach & swimmer who recently placed in the 800m freestyle at the World Masters. I still owe him R40 for my set of "Gary’s Swim Fins." (2006 07 06 I have now paid Gary for the fins, but owe him R60 for my new SA Masters swim cap).
  • Kevin Fialkov: an accomplished open water swimmer, who’s whole family seem to be water-babies. Kevin coaches a high-intensity 45 minute session in the evenings, and was the person who helped me plan my swim with regard to tempo, milestones & keeping my mind occupied for the swim.
  • Hugh Tucker
  • Hugh replied "that’s nice" when I called him 5 years ago & proudly told him that I was training 1km 3 days a week. That single comment is probably ultimately responsible for this expedition. Hugh, who has three Channel starts and the slowest English Channel swim on record (32 years), was be on the boat with me on my swim in 2006. He has been a valuable mentor and a source of unflagging enthusiasm & technical advice.
  • John Dickerson
  • John Dickerson in the water has been described by a friend of his as the closest thing to a human seal. Having completed the Channel himself in just over 10 hours, John has been a great source of encouragement, technical advice and, even out of regular training, is an absolute menace to keep up with in the pool. After about a year’s break, he is now back in regular training "at least once or twice a week."
  • Barend Nortje
  • "Chris my pilot instructed me to push for 45 minutes. We needed to get ahead of the tide as it was busy turning. I did not question or argue with them, I put everything I had into swimming."
    We can all learn from that attitude – ask my backup team. Barend rewrote the South African open water swimming record books in 2006, taking an hour off the South African record for the English Channel, and 45 minutes off the record for the 35km swim ascross False Bay. He is currently training for his 2-way Channel attempt in 2008.