Monday, July 30, 2007

Finally - I got to swim!

On July 29, 2007, I swam the English Channel for the fourth time in 11 hours and 33 minutes.

Getting in....

I started my swim at Abbott's Cliff, just south of Dover.

Swimming from England to France

I started swimming at 11:00pm on Sunday, July 29th. It was a cold night, and the icy, howling wind made it feel even colder. When dawn broke at 4:30am, I knew I could finish the swim even though I was chilled to the bone. By mid-morning the sun had come out, but after being so cold for so long the only relief I found was a hot bath after my swim at the Victoria Guest House.


This is the beach that greeted me in France at the finish of my swim. Audresselles is 3.25 miles south of Cap Gris Nez, where we aim to land. The strong winds, along with the tides, pushed all of today's swimmers well south of our target.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Me, Alison Streeter and Marcy MacDonald

It's still too windy for a channel swim, but that doesn't stop us from swimming in the harbor. It looks like there may be an opportunity for me to sneak across the Channel mid-day Monday.

The "Big Q" is, if I go for it, will I be able to swim across (and ride the boat back) in time to make my flight home on Tuesday morning?!?!?

Nora Toledano and Freda Streeter

Channel Swimming Icons at Dover Beach

Nora Toledano sits with International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame member Frank Richards and his wife, Margaret.

Nora Toledano & Raquel Marquez

Nora and Raquel have come from Mexico City. Nora has been coaching Raquel for her backstroke attempt across the English Channel.

English Channel "Double Swimmers"

Me (oldest), Nick Adams (youngest), and Nora Toledano

Irene Wakeham and "The General" Freda Streeter

Barrie & Irene Wakeham and Freda Streeter volunteer their time and knowledge every weekend during the swim season, rain or shine, helping aspiring channel swimmers to achieve their goals.

Dover Coaches Barrie & Irene Wakeham

Many of the longer practice swims would not be completed without their encouragement.

Marc Lewis

Marc has just arrived in Dover to swim the Channel on the next tide. He's one of our La Jolla Cove swimmers, and I'll put my money on Marc to make it across any day!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday, 27 July

The wind in the Channel has gone down to 22 knots and the wave height has dropped to 5'. There is speculation that a small swimmable window may open up late Sunday. It won't be a good day and the tides will be strong by then, but that may be my only opportunity before Tuesday, when I am scheduled to return home. If I don't get to have a go at the Channel by then, I'll still have a swim "on the books"....all is not lost. I must weigh whether I want to swim on a marginal day this trip or save it for another tide/year and hope for better.

I'll post more news as I get it....

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dover Docks at Dawn

Everyone was crestfallen when the swims were called off again early this morning. We had met at 1:30am and although the wind had died to nothing when the harbor gates opened, a gale began to blow from the east, putting a fatal end to any swim attempts for the next few days.

Alison Streeter "Queen of the Channel"

Alison Streeter, who has swum the English Channel more times than any other person, is known as "Queen of the Channel". She now has her Captain's license and crews for swims. Here she is waiting to assist Marcy MacDonald with her 3-way swim.

Sea Satin

Lance Oram, my escort pilot, will show me the way across the Channel in his boat, Sea Satin. Hopefully, if the weather clears, that is....

Waiting to see if we swim....

Four swimmers and their crews met at Dover docks at 3:30pm Sunday afternoon. After waiting around for final weather reports, we all went out into the Channel for a "look see". The wind was up and the swells were swim this afternoon. We agreed to meet again at 1:30am to see if the wind and seas would allow us to swim the Channel.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

It looks like 4pm start this afternoon!

It looks like a 4pm start this afternoon! Since I'm not a morning person, that's a Godsend!!! Marcy will be starting her 3-way then, too. The sun is coming out and the wind has died down....hoping it stays like that 'till we're all done!!!

I'll get back to you after the swim....

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A bit windy again, today

Right now the wind is blowing at 21 knots. I know I can swim in that, but would really prefer not to this time! Monday and Tuesday look better, but a lot can change by then. This is only the second day of the tide - too soon to panic and take a bad day. Mid-tide is coming up....perhaps I will get to swim during the middle of the neap when the tides are the weakest. It would be fun to see how that is after my spring tide swims....

"Fabulous Fifties"

Cliff Golding, Sally Minty-Gravett (newly-minted 50, just had her birthday!), Dee (from Jersey and swimming the Channel this tide), me.

Cliff Golding & Laura Lopez-Bonilla

Laura Lopez-Bonilla & Liz Fry

Liz Fry getting ready to swim

Marcy MacDonald

"Double Crossers" at the Victoria Guest House

Two-way English Channel Swimmers:
Me, 8th woman and oldest person to swim the English Channel both ways without stopping, 2004
Nora Toledano, Mexico City, 6th woman to swim the English Channel both ways without stopping, 1994
Marcy MacDonald, 7th woman to swim the English Channel both ways without stopping, 2001 & 2004

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Channel Swimmers

Liz Fry, from Connecticut, attempting a 2-way English Channel swim
Me, here for another one-way English Channel swim
Marcy MacDonald, attempting a 3-way English Channel swim
Raquel Marquez from Mexico City, attempting to swim the English Channel backstroke.

We're all staying at the Victoria Guest House, waiting for the weather to cooperate so we can swim!

Marcy MacDonald

Marcy MacDonald, from Connecticut, is here in Dover to attempt to become the fourth person in history to swim the English Channel 3-ways without stopping.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Too windy to swim just yet....

Today, I walked to Dover Harbor....the wind was blowing so hard I really had to hold onto my hat!

No Thursday foot waves in the Channel today and not much better tomorrow. I'll be checking in with my escort pilot tomorrow evening about a swim this Friday. Not that I'm afraid of a little wind, just would prefer a light breeze....

Raquel Marquez

Here in Dover, I've been hanging out with channel swimmers from all over the world. Raquel Marquez is from Mexico City and will be swimming the Channel backstroke. She is an amazing swimmer and her backstroke is faster than many people's freestyle!

Waiting to see if I swim tomorrow....

I'm resting and staying off my feet today, as there is a chance I could swim as early as tomorrow. Right now, the wind is gusting at 21 knots, but the weather here can turn on a dime. At least the sun is shining....

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's a bit windy today....

It's a bit windy today. I went for a swim in Dover Harbor and it was like a washing machine on turbo cycle....realistic training conditions for an English Channel swim.

It looks like I may swim as early as Thursday. Stay tuned....

Monday, July 16, 2007

My Instructions for the Channel Swim

I have been assigned some lofty goals by my friend Chantal, aka Laura:

"Good luck on the swim, kick some ass, beat up some sharks, and destroy all the men's records!"

Aim high, finish strong!!!

Wind and Rain in Dover

It's "a bit damp" out today (pouring rain, thunder and lightning), and it doesn't look as if any swims will go off in the next few days....perhaps I will be able to wait for my neap tide this time! The earliest I should swim would be Friday or Saturday if things clear up. So far, summer has not arrived in this part of the world.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I've arrived in Dover!

I arrived at the Victoria Guest House in Dover yesterday afternoon, exhausted and dehydrated from a 25-hour door to door commute from San Diego. Of course, the first thing I did was walk down to the harbor to greet channel swimming friends. This morning, I had a nice swim in the wind and chop, practicing for the Channel. The sea temp has been hovering around 60-61F, but that was no problem at all. My swim dates start Saturday, but I could go before that....stay tuned for details!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

It's Time to Dial it In....

Today I did my last long swim before the Channel. It was a warm, sunny day and the sea temperature was a tropical 68F. Carol, Jim, Corrie, and John joined me for 2 - 4 miles each of my 10-mile Cove swim here in La Jolla. Heather swam 6 miles and Brian swam the whole thing with me. We started out at a mellow warm-up pace, but by the second mile we were picking it up and were able to sustain a strong effort level throughout the swim. Even so, a good time was had by all. Since waves were breaking at the Shores, we got to enjoy body surfing sessions each time we swam across.

My swim dates start in less than three weeks. My job now is to concentrate on speed, rest and not getting injured.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

La Jolla High School Distinguished Alumni Award

As a graduate of La Jolla High School class of 1973, I was recognized as a "Distinguished Alumni" at the 85th Anniversary Celebration last weekend. I was in very good company, with a movie star, an astronaut, scientists and professional athletes!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Time to Start the Long Swims

Today was a glorious day for a Cove swim. Heather, Brian and I were joined by Jim Bayles from Connecticut and Scott Lautman and Dan Robinson from Seattle. The ocean temperature was 60F and we had smooth seas. The sun was out and it warmed the surface of the water for us. We could have swum all day....

Tomorrow, I'm going to go for a 10-miler. It just doesn't get any easier - seems a shame to waste good swimming conditions like this!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spring Training Begins

We've had a mild winter here in La Jolla. The sea temperature never went below 56F and only for a few days now and then. Mostly, the water temperature at La Jolla Cove has been hovering around 57F and has just risen to 60F. Long swims will start early this year.

From late March through early July I'll be doing extreme mileage, mostly in the ocean. To keep speed and strength, I'll be swimming three Masters workouts a week at the JCC. Heather, now in training for her own English Channel swim in 2009, and Brian have been great company both at Masters workouts and in the ocean throughout the winter. Now, the fun begins....