Tag Archives: Goals

Swimming across the Solent

My Solent Swim recap and 1000th post!

It’s taken me a while to sit down and write this. I think I’ve been so glad it finally done that it’s taken me a time to want to sit down and relive it.

I swam it in 1 hour and 19 minutes and covered a distance across the Solent Channel of 2.25 miles. It was both quicker and shorter than I thought and trained for, but it was still hard work. I think this was mentally more than physically.

The day started at 5am leaving the hotel in the dark to get to Haslar Marina to catch the boats out to the starting point.


At the starting point the swimmers had to transfer to the shore in the kayaks. This was a chilly bit as we had to leave our dry stuff in the boat for the other side. My parents were in the support boats so I got some good photos of the swim.


Everyone was waiting on the shore for the go ahead from the ahrbour master and coast guard.DSC02505

I was feeling nervous and just wanting to start at this point. I met my kayaker and we sorted out how we would position it so I could just follow her navigation. She was so lovely and I feel so awful that I have totally forgotten her name – it’s a complete blank! I do know she was the wife of Jonathan the organiser – thank you both so much!


The sun was trying to come out as we were waiting to start and the water all the way across was calm and flat. When we got the go ahead we started in three groups. The slower ones going first and so on. I was in the last group – I hate being a good swimmer sometimes!


This was my group ready to go. I’ve got the orange tow float attached to me as I wanted to stand out to my parents.


My mum was in the speed boat and got some good swimming actions photos in the middle of the swim. In the background is one of the old forts out past Portsmouth.


Once I was in swimming I just decided to keep going. My kayaker indicated to me when we were half way, but otherwise I just kept swimming. I noticed overtaking one kayak and one swimmers, but otherwise didn’t see anything going on around me. It was both weird and good at the same time. I was worried I would freak out if I looked up and saw a boat or realised how far we still had to go. 




My dad was on the bigger cruiser boat so wasn’t able to get as close up, but he did get some good shots of the boats around us at the time of swimming – I’ve very glad I didn’t notice the ferries!

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I landed on the other shore 6th out of the group of 12, which means I overtook 4/5 people as there was one from my group already there as well. I was so happy to get to the other side and be finished and be able to put on my dryrobe.


We had a group photo and then single ones on the other side.


Once we finished we had to transfer back to the boats by kayak and then sped back on the speedboats to the marina where hot showers awaited us. Most of the group then went out for lunch and got our hoodies (purple yay!). I then spent the day with my parents exploring Portsmouth.


I feel great about doing this and smashed my fundraising target by raising £965 for Aspire!

Adventures in Swimmming… Open Water Wishlist


Since switching my focus to swimming and getting chatting to people in the Cotswold Open Water Swimmers group I have built up a wishlist of swims I want to do in the next few years.

I’m sure this list will build as I get to know more people and hear their stories and experiences. Also there are many swim and places I don’t know about so they will be added to the list. My goal will probably be to do one big one each year, but if the timing works out I might be able to do more.

My 2015 Swimming Goals

My goals for 2015 have changed from the ones I set previously and that is okay. I have now set myself some new ones and I am excited about working towards them.

My technique goal is to master bilateral breathing. At the moment I can do it, but I feel it slows me down, so I also need to build my fitness back up while using this style of breathing to make it become habit. Overall I just want to swim as much as possible in both the lake and the pool.

Adventures in Swimming… Open water coaching

I had my first 121 open water coaching session this week with Jason from South West Swim. This was a follow on from my Video Analysis session earlier in the year. This was my treat to myself this year and has really brought back my love of swimming and my motivation to focus on it over other things.

I got to the lake just after 7am on Tuesday morning. It was beautiful and sunny, even if a little chilly. The air temperature was 6 degrees and the lake was 14-15 degrees!


Once I was ready with wetsuit on and tow flat attached we headed into the lake to see how I was swimming. I have been concentrating on my head/body position and my hand entry /catch since the video analysis and it has been working. There are still some tweaks I can make to improve even more and there are times when I slip into the wrong position, but I now rectify pretty quickly.

In the lake we concentrated on my catch through the water to make sure I am getting the most efficient stroke possible. We used a new toy for me – the Finis Fulcrum – to hold my arms in the correct position. This is the torture device of swimming I’ve decided. There is no room for movement or adjustment once your arm is in them. They feel like an arm brace, it reminded me of the only time I had my arm in plaster. You don’t want to keep these on for very long. Even once I had taken them off I could feel where they had been on my arm!

We then went onto sighting. It’s the one part of open water swimming I don’t like. I find it throws me out of alignment and rhythm. It also tired me out more quickly than if I don’t. However I don’t swim in a straight line. The test, which we did, is to swim towards a buoy with your eyes closed and see where you end up. I ended up to the right of my target, so I need to sight, so I need to practice! There is not one right way to sight, but I am going to have a play around with sighting first then breathing, as I natural do the opposite and feel like I’m holding my breath, which probably make me feel more tired than I actually am.

I have another 3 121 lake sessions booked and another video session to book over the summer, so there are plenty more adventures to be had in the world of open water.

Adventures in Swimming… 5km Pool Swimathon

On Sunday I swam my first ever 5km swim. That is 5000m metres or 200 lengths of a 25m pool in one go. Okay I had 3 rests to keep hydrated, but each was only around 30 seconds, so over the course of 93 minutes, less than 2% was rest.

I normally swim between 2500m and 3500m (maybe 4000m metres occasionally) in my swimming club sessions, so a 5000m swim was heading into the unknown for me. I didn’t know how my body would feel or react. My strategy was to keep it steady the whole way and finish. Luckily I didn’t have to count my own lengths, so I asked my friend to let me know every 50 lengths so I didn’t have to think about distance at all, just swim.

It was quiet this year, with only 3 swimmers (one was a family group swimming one at a time), so we had a lane each, which was super nice. I started out well and felt good. I didn’t let the speed monster in the lane next to me push me a long, I went with how I felt. I knew I could build up if I had energy left at the end, but main goal was to get to the end.

My swim in pictorial form:



Ignore the 202 lengths. I don’t know if that is a miscount on the watch or my friend, but it is close enough for my records and I’ll go based on total time.

  • First 50 lengths or 1.25km = 21.8 minutes
  • Second 50 length or 1.25km = 22.5 minutes
  • Third 50 lengths or 1.25km = 23.1 minutes
  • Fourth 50 lengths or 1.25km – 23.7 minutes

As you can see in my breakdown I slowed down slight in each 50 length section by about 0.6 of a minute (36 seconds) each time, which is fairly consistent.  But that is an additional 2 minutes on the final 50 compared to the first 50 lengths. So something else I will look at this year is pacing over greater distances, probably using CSS training more to make sure I keep the same pace throughout. I can see I started faster than I thought I did so I need to work on building knowledge of effort and timing by using a beeper to keep me in check.

The Swimathon is an annual event and I plan on taking part again next year if I can and I believe is for a different cause each year or every other year. This year I raised £70 for Marie Curie.

My next aim for the 5km distance is to swim it in the lake!

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