As your tide nears, you will undoubtedly become anxious about your impending swim. This is normal. You are about to embark on a mammoth task! As every person is different, this page offers general suggestions for ways to reduce this anxiety and ensure you are ready to go!
1) Prepare early
This cannot be emphasized enough. Once you have decided to swim the Channel and have booked your pilot and tide, you need to start preparations. Book your accommodation as soon as possible, as well as your flights and transport. You will need to complete paperwork for the CS&PF, as well as fees for your swim, so accomplish these early so they are out of the way. These organizational tasks add unnecessary stress on you, so it is best to sort the logistics well before you are due to swim.
Other things to prepare for: your training plan, your nutrition plan, your budget, your crew, food on the boat, gear, etc. Consider each of these elements carefully; they are essential to your success. If you are scrambling to prepare any of these near to your swim, you will be stressed! Prepare early so you can focus solely on your swim and not have to worry about anything else.
2) Make check-lists
Preparing for your Channel swim is an arduous task. There are so many elements which go into the day. Check-lists not only keep you organized, they ensure you are fully ready with everything you need on your day. Make checklists for your "What to pack" list, "Things to go on the boat" list, and anything else which will help you to organise your swim.
If you are coming from overseas, you will know that baggage weight is an annoying aspect of travel. There are things you can go without packing and purchase in England, including food, Vaseline, boxes for feeds/gear and toiletries. Pack your swimming costume, hat, goggles and anything you will definitely need for your swim in your carry-on bag. You do not want to be searching around the towns for equipment if your bag is lost.
3) Your pilot just told you that you are swimming the following day. What do you do?!
First, enjoy the excitement. This is what you've been training for, and it is almost time to go for it! Once you've celebrated for a few minutes, start getting prepared. Mix your drinks, and make sure your feeds are separate from your crew's feeds! Consult your checklist to ensure everything is where it should be. Once this is complete, have your crew load it in the car. It is time for you to eat and rest. Eat foods you like, but keep it simple. Avoid spicy or hard-to-digest foods. Pasta is a great choice. Once you are filled to capacity, and then some, have a lie down. As hard as it will be, try to calm your nerves and review all of your hard work and preparation for this moment. If you sleep, great! If not, do not worry. When it is time to leave, check one last time that everything is in place, and let your crew do everything for you!
4) The swim is here...it's time!
Your pilot will tell you where to go when you arrive to Dover Marina. Sort your parking in the office, and get all your things loaded to the boat. There will be a time delay as your pilot and boat crew get everything finalized, so just relax during this time. When you leave, your observer will ask you basic personal questions for your observer's report. When a boat crew tells you it is time to prepare, stay calm. Ensure everything is on you (swimming costume, hat, goggles, light sticks, sun screen, Vaseline). Once you have arrived to the English shore, you will be told to get in, swim to shore, stand up and clear the water. Use the swim into shore time to readjust goggles, stretch out and generally relax. Once you are clear of the water and hear the horn, it's go-time! Your swim has begun. Take your time entering the water. Swim toward the boat and, once aligned beside it, you're off! Enjoy the swim. Remember it is what you have trained for, and think about all the people supporting your endeavour. You will have good times and bad during your swim, and your preparations will allow you to get through the tough times.
5) I've just swam to France and am now an English Channel Swimmer. Now what?
You've prepared long and hard for your dream, and now it has become a reality. You may feel a bit "off" after your swim. After all, you will have prepared for months and even years for this day. It is a good idea to visualise how you will cope for the little days after the big achievement. Try not to make any big decisions, and instead just enjoy the time celebrating your success. Ensure that you have something special to look forward to after your Big Day.
Sandettie Lightship Observations
4pm, 22nd May 2015
Water: 53.4 °F (11.9 °C)
Air: 52.3 °F (11.3 °C)
Wind Speed: 20.0 kn (37.0 km/h)
Wind Direction: SSW (210°)