View Full Version : coach for english channel swimmer

April 7th, 2012, 02:40 PM
I am a 58 yo swimmer and am mediocre in ability. My forte is endurance. I began training for the English Channel two years ago and have built some endurance base and have recently started with cold water training. I feel I have a long way to go and am scheduled to swim the EC during the tide of Sept. 1 week, 2014.
I am looking for a coach to help me improve my stroke a bit and to develop a strategy for enduring cold water. I have made a bit of progress with these but could definitely use help.
I am also new to this post so I am hoping all goes well in my attempt to send this and to receive messages.
I believe I can do this and just as strongly believe I need coaching!
Hank McGovern
New London, NC
phone: 3363023444
email: epictetus@rtmc.net

Kevin in MD
April 9th, 2012, 12:38 PM
Post this message in the open water section of this forum and check out the yahoo message board for the Channel swimming and Piloting Federation.

Rob Copeland
April 9th, 2012, 02:05 PM

There are a few folks of this forum who have swum the channel and can provide advice. And I agree that coaching is vital to succeed.

I’ve coached a number of open water swimmers; however I’m reluctant to offer to coach anyone without being able to do hands on coaching.

And before offering any general advice, can you quantify what you mean by “…mediocre in ability. My forte is endurance.” Are you talking about a 20-30-40 minute mile pace? And for endurance are you talking non-stop 2-3-4-5 hour swims? Also, how about your open water experience; what’s your longest training swim? Longest race?

Also I suggest you may want to look for 2 separate coaches. Your local Masters club coach should be able to help you improve your stroke and a coach watching you swim is far better than a remote coach. And then have an open water coach to help with open water and cold water training.

April 9th, 2012, 02:16 PM
Post this message in the open water section of this forum and check out the yahoo message board for the Channel swimming and Piloting Federation.

Actually it's a Google group, and here is the link:


April 11th, 2012, 09:34 PM
Hi Rob,
What I mean by "mediocre" is that my longest swim was 13 miles but in a pool. My longest OW swim was 5 miles but that was in a triathlon in 1984. My time in a 1650 is 27 mins. and that was at age 57. My 100 IM is 1 min. 28 mins. (Butterfly's my best stroke and wish I could swim the Channel with it! Ha!). I am swimming the Suck the River in Oct. in Tenn. and I swim a long swim each month at race pace. Last month I swam 7 miles in 4 hrs. 8 mins. Another reason I say "mediocre" is that my stroke is not excellent. My left arm goes out.
Any advice is welcome. Having two coaches is a good suggestion. I do have a Masters coach. I think I need someone with EC experience to help me specifically with that crossing.

April 13th, 2012, 03:23 PM
Hank, I think you may want to drop Paul Newsome from SwimSmooth a private message. Probably one of the best resources worldwide for your project. Not only has he done it (2011), but he's done it with a very different perspective, ie that of a coach dedicated to help someone doing it. In other words, if you get in touch with him, he can help you through his coaching system + all the specifics tied to this particular event. He can for instance give you advice as to how many days to reserve, where to stay, what to do in case the conditions suck (they often do), etc, etc....

Not sure if he actually has time to coach privately though.. That said, he could put you in touch with Shelley Taylor-Smith, who, I believe, has a private coaching business for OW swimmers. S.T-S is certainly the top human being performing OW marathon of all times. Pretty sure she did the EC one time or two, although she was more dedicated to actual races (OW Grand Prix / Fina World Cup) than events such as Around-The-Island, or English Channel which are not actual elite or pro races. I think Shelly has never lost one single of these races. Every time she raced, she won.

Anyway, SwimSmooth's forums can be reached through this link:

And that's Shelley's here:

Who knows... if you have the budget, maybe you could ultimately get Shelley in your boat!

Kind regards

April 20th, 2012, 09:24 AM
See you in TN in Oct!