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  1. Busy Week

    by , September 24th, 2010 at 02:57 PM (Adventures in Swimming)
    Coached the Sharks last Saturday
    Swam on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday
    I swam the Dennis set on Thursday.

    Thought I ate something bad yesterday..

    So I end up at the ER having the worst pain I've
    ever experienced in my life.

    Kidney stones are PAINFUL!!!!
    I'm pretty sure there was something inside of
    me trying to get out.

    All seems better now. Of course the percocet's
    help a lot :-)
  2. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout -09/27/10

    by , September 24th, 2010 at 02:49 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters GOLD Workout)
    SYSM has a fairly demanding schedule this week with our Coaches Birthday swim on Tuesday and Tropical Splash open water race on Saturday. Our workouts this week will reflect a kinder/softer tone.

    WARM UP:
    2 X 250 3:45
    4 X 75 1:15
    2 X 150 2:15
    6 X 50 :50

    1 X 200 kick 4:10
    4 X 75 kick 1:40
    6 X 50 kick 1:00

    4 X 150 2:45
    #1 free
    #2 50 stroke/100 free
    #3 100 stroke/50 free
    #4 150 stroke

    1 X 100 easy 2:00
    3 X 50 fast 1:15
    Four times through. 50's are choice

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy 1:00

    Swim Workouts
  3. FAST Fri Sep 24 2010

    by , September 24th, 2010 at 02:02 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Fri Sep 24 2010

    Subscribe to Ande's Swimming Blog

    Whitney Coached
    6:00 TO 7:30 am
    Austin Mabel Davis pool
    swam with jon, MIKE V, larry, todd, tyler, Marcio, james, nate, brandon, amy & Bob

    dove in around 6:05



    3 rounds of 4 x 50 followed by 100 easy

    1) 90% on 1:15 held 32's & 3's

    2) 95% on 1:30 held 30's & 31's

    3) 100% on 2:00 held 29's & got 1:00 extra rest before #4 & went 27

    3 rounds of 4 x 100 followed by 100 easy

    1) 90% on 2:00 held 1:17's

    2) 95% on 2:30 held 1:10's (missed first one changed to B70 legs, but my cat pulled the string out of it, so I put my brief on over it to keep it from falling down)

    3) 100% on 3:00 went 1:06, 5, & 4

    Updated September 24th, 2010 at 05:16 PM by ande

    Swim Workouts
  4. 9/24 Practice

    by , September 24th, 2010 at 01:57 PM (Random Nonsense)
    Warm up
    - 200 free
    - 2x150 swim/drill/stroke
    - 200 kick
    - 2x200 back
    - 100 IM (1:04.95)
    Main Set (1 ez, 1 fast)
    - 2x200 (2:14)
    - 2x150 (1:39)
    - 2x100 (1:02)
    - 2x50 (:30)
    Cool down
    - 200 ez

    Pre Race: The race was supposed to be 100 back, but we had a girl that would join us if it was a 100 IM, so 100 IM we did.

    The match up: I only train free and back, and I never really learned fly. Damien has 4 solid strokes, his backstroke is technically great (53 in HS), he is only a couple years older than me, didn't swim in college. I have the conditioning advantage, as he is much more social during practice than I am. Going into the race I think he has a slight advantage on the back leg and I have a significant advantage on the free leg. Pretty much I expect to win.

    Race: The fly was close at the first turn, Damien gained a half body length on the back, the breast was about even speed wise so Damien lead by a half body length going into the free. I caught up on the free, but I think Damien out touched me. 1:04.95 was the time for both of us.

    We waste a lot of time right now with these races, so I hope they become more streamlined the more we do them. A 1 minute race probably took 10 minutes of practice time, which is a lot when I am practicing a little less than an hour.

    The main set was pretty painful afterward.
  5. Fatigue on Friday 9/24/10

    by , September 24th, 2010 at 10:15 AM (The Labours of SwimStud)
    Well as usual I am tired on Friday morning.. no not because of anything juicy. A week of work and working out and then Coaching Masters on Thursday nights usually leaves me a little beaten on Friday morning. However, I still dragged my butt to the pool like the rest of you maniacs!

    Warm up
    600 FR
    4 x 50 FL 2:00 the drag suit kills me...kills me...
    10 x 50 K 1:30

    6 x 200 FR 3:30

    Post Main
    4 x 150100Paddle pull/50 Swim odds FR, evens BK
    500 Fin Kick

    4 x 100

    Still have to lift today...then I can rest.
  6. Not too bad today

    by , September 24th, 2010 at 08:18 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    My left ankle was better than it has been. The TENS unit really helped.

    100,200,300,400@:15R Free
    500 Free kick every 3rd 25 fast w/fins
    4x100@:05R kick streamline alt back/fly fast
    100 Breast kick
    3x400@7:00 Free w/paddles & fins descend went 6:14, 6:02, 5:50
    300 Free Easy

    Total 3500 meters
  7. A few more pics

    #1 The Pace Arrow: l to r.... Betsy, Sharoz, John
    by Fiona Laughlin

    #2 Sea France
    by Fiona Laughlin

    #3 Pre Splash
    by John Humenik

    #4 Atop Cap Gris Nez: l to r.... John, Laura, Clare, Sharoz

    #5 MIMS with kayakers Michael Hayes and Danielle Biordi
    by Clare
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  8. Drylands, Sept. 23

    by , September 23rd, 2010 at 05:48 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Drylands, 60-70 minutes:

    Warm up:

    broomstick twists, 25
    windshield wipers, 15
    flutter kicks (on back, arms in streamline position) on bosu, 50
    lateral hops on bench, 1:00

    Strength/Power Work:

    dead lift singles, 3 x 45, 1 x 95, 1 x 115, 1 x 135, 1 x 135, 1 x 145, 1 x 145, 1 x 155
    med ball floor slams (10 lb ball), 2 x 10
    plyo start drill w/med ball, 1 x 10*
    streamline on back on bosu, 2 x 2:00**
    bulgarian split leg squat w/10 lb plate overhead, 10 x 2 x 10 each leg

    -- next time I'll use a heavier plate, as these were relatively easy. Here's a vid of an overhead split squat: [ame=""]How to Perform an Overhead Split Squat Video –[/ame] I just used a bench for the back leg.
    -- you can do these SSs with added ROM as well -- [nomedia=""]YouTube - - Bulgarian split squats w/ added ROM[/nomedia].)

    back extensions w/plate, 25 x 1 x 15
    body rows (aka inverse pull ups), 2 x 15
    russians twists on incline w/plate, 25 x 2 x 25
    extreme angle isometric squat hold, 4:00 (effen ouch)
    extreme angle isometric push up hold, 1:45

    * I used a fairly heavy med ball when I started, but I seemed to put a crack in the drywall. . So I switched to a lighter wall and moved further away from the wall. I should probably do these in the racquetball court in the future.

    ** This is so much easier on the shoulders, and seems equally effective in building core strength, that I may never do a plank again.

    RC Work, 10 minutes:

    arm circles, scapular scrunches, seated straight arm dip, external and internal rotators.

    Yoga, 30 minutes:

    30 minutes of yoga and stretching. I had two people ask how long I'd been doing yoga -- only a year or so. I'm inclined to do shorter more frequent bouts of it rather than the whole 60-90 minute DVD.



    Got in a good gym session today. Would have liked to do a technique based swim, but didn't have time. I didn't get as fast a start this week as I was hoping after Savageman. But I still have a month before the Sprint Classic, so it is all good. Other random thoughts:

    1. I like the look of the vibrams. I might buy myself a pair for the gym. They were everywhere at Savageman.

    2. I need a more concrete plan for the next two 4 week cycles. I will focus on speed work and strength during the week with generous intervals. If I do any aerobic sets, it will be kick endurance or longer shooters. I'll try to get some aerobic work in on the weekend with my team.

    3. I may do 1-2 tabata sets during the week for a cardio boost. It's amazing that 4 minutes (of hell, to be sure) can have such a large aerobic impact.

    4. I need to throw my MF in the truck.

    5. I haven't received the FAST sprint paddles i tried to order. I need to check on that.

    6. Trying to decide what to do tomorrow at Mason. Either the 5 x 50 AFAP set or the Gary Hall Sr. kick workout from hell ... I fear the latter would require more tolerance of pain.

    7. My fav new smoothie combo has: blackberries, kiwi, cherries, blueberries, beet greens, and plum in it. My allergist told me to stop using flax and coconut water temporarily pending the allergy test results. I seem to have somewhat less GI distress from doing this.

    8. I've been pondering the isometric holds and whether to include them in my routine. I've tentatively decided that I want to keep the 2 I did today, but not the others. I may run this by Mr. Fort's trainer to see if they would still have the same benefit. I would think they still would, for the particular strength move involved. These are supposed to become easier and require less recovery if done regularly.

    9. Has anyone else been able to get on FB this afternoon?

    10. In support of ADD drylands:

    Updated September 23rd, 2010 at 08:30 PM by The Fortress

    Strength Training and Dryland Workouts , Yoga
  9. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout -09/24/10

    by , September 23rd, 2010 at 05:24 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters GOLD Workout)
    WARM UP:
    1 X 300 4:30
    3 X 100 1:45
    1 X 300 4:30
    4 X 75 1:10
    1 X 300 4:15
    6 X 50 :50

    1 X 200 kick 4:10
    4 X 75 kick 1:40
    8 X 25 sprint kick :45

    1 X 400 IM 7:00
    1 X 300 IM 5:15
    1 X 200 IM 3:30
    1 X 100 IM -

    1 X 200 free 3:00 2:50 2:40
    3 X 100 free 1:30 1:25 1:20
    Three times through. Round 1 interval left, round 2 middle, round 3 right.

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy 1:00

    Swim Workouts
  10. Thursday, 9/23/10

    by , September 23rd, 2010 at 04:54 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    SCM, Solo

    Warm up
    200 Swim - 200 Skill Drills
    4 x 50/55 build (did all free)
    8 x 5/30 Strong (did 2 free, 2 back etc)

    Challenge Set
    20 x 100/2:00
    Every 4th Timed
    Take pulse after each swim
    Remember Timed Swims
    (1-4, 9-12, 17-20 free: timed ones 1:21, 1:22, 1:23, others ave 1:28-30
    5-8, 13-16 back: timed ones 1:35, 1:32, others 1:38-1:41

    HR was 1:45-55 on non timed ones, 155-170 after fast ones)

    Cool down
    100 easy free

    Total: 2900 meters
  11. The joints aren't moving well today but....

    by , September 23rd, 2010 at 07:27 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    Despite waking up fairly stiff and inflexable, I manage 4 decent swims in workout today, everything else was recovery and mobility.

    10x100@1:45 Free w/4 beat kick
    500 Free kick w/fins every 3rd moderate
    3x[100@2:30 as 50 fly chest press/50 fly kick on back w/fins
    ....[100@2:00 fly w/fins for time went 1:21, 1:18, 1:18
    300 Free kick w/fins easy
    100 Fly w/fins for time 1:12
    500 Free w/snorkle, paddles & bouy easy recovery
    500 Free Drills w/fins

    Total 3000 yards
  12. The best of both worlds (for backstrokers)

    This morning I got in a last swim at my beloved Florida pool before heading back to New York tomorrow. It was hopping during am lap swim--I actually had to split a lane for part of my workout, which is rare here. Here’s what I did:

    1000 lcm warmup

    8 x 100: odds FR @ 2:00, evens FR/BK at 2:00, 1:50, 1:40, 1:30

    Then I joined up with a couple of my winter swimming buddies who were at the pool for the following:

    3 x 400 @ 7:30 [I did the first FR, the 2nd FR/BK by 50s, the 3rd FR/BK by 100s]

    300 warmdown

    I had an aha moment on the first of those 400s. I was trying to maintain a 6-beat kick on my FR. My usual kick is more of a 2-beat foot plunk, and I’ve always found switching to a 6-beat frustrating because it tires me out without making me go much faster. I think this is because I have let this kick flatten out my stroke; if I focus on using two of those six beats to rotate myself, then my kick suddenly feels more powerful.

    Also, for the 400s I moved over to a lane under the short-course flags so that I could swim by the others doing the set. This meant I had backstroke flags (for the pool’s scy setup) strung right over my lane. The only drawback to swimming outdoors, for me, is the lack of any ceiling to keep me on the straight and narrow during backstroke. Swimming in lanes 2 or 7, where the backstroke flags for the perpendicular short course lanes are strung, solves this problem perfectly. I think hosts of outdoor meets could easily recoup a significant portion of their meet expenditures by auctioning off the rights to swim in these lanes for backstroke events.

    Tomorrow is a travel day—no swimming. But I have enjoyed working out in this outdoor pool, and look forward to returning here this winter.
  13. Tuesday, Sept. 22

    by , September 22nd, 2010 at 08:46 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    Warm up:

    700 various

    8 x 50 @ 1:00
    odds = swim
    evens = kick

    Speed Set:

    10 x (25 AFAP + 25 EZ), no interval

    3 free, 3 breast, 3 UW kick, 1 fly fast

    100 EZ

    Total: 1700



    I only had time for a very quick swim today; the rest of the day was booked solid. (And I still have red, not Gaga, hair.) So, it seemed like the perfect time to pop in a 10 x 25 fast. I wish I had felt fast, but at least it's a start. I'm ready to get back to basics -- strength & speed! But, unlike Patrick, I plan to use actual weights.

    I glanced at a few workouts from last year in late Sept. In particular, I was looking to see what I went on my fast 50s with fins for Q. I found this set from Sept. 29:

    5 x (50 AFAP w/fins + 100 EZ)


    50 SDK on back, :23
    50 back, high :24
    50 free, :25 (missed turn)
    50 SDK, :23
    50 back, :25 (tired)

    I highly doubt I could do that right now. But I plan to do this set on Friday along with some other speed work and maybe some high intensity vertical kicking. I feel the need to do more than 31 kicks in 10 seconds, or I will have to concede defeat to Geek and send him a cap.

    To get myself out of my demi-funk, I am entering some meets. I am going to do an abbreviated line up at the Sprint Classic and go to Indy with Jimslie the following weekend. I will be staying at the famous Bobinator's house and Chicken of the Sea, FlyQueen, Bzaks and others may attend as well. If Bill White doesn't come with Jimslie and me, I will plan something evil for my next Sewickley Masters workout over Thanksgiving.

    Sprint Classic Events, Oct. 24:

    50 back
    50 fly
    25 back
    25 breast
    25 fly
    25 free

    GRIN Fall Classic at Indy, SCM, Oct. 30-31:


    100 fly
    50 free
    50 fly


    100 back
    50 breast (as split request in the 100)
    100 IM

    The weather sucks! It was 90 and humid today. It thundered as I was heading to watch FortSon's cross country race. It was delayed, causing me to miss the race because I had to take Lil Fort and friend to swim practice. Grrr ... He said he had a good race, but died in the heat. We fair skinned folk do not like exercising in heat.

    I haven't received my Swimmer magazine yet, and I am just dying to read "Swimming Through Menopause."

    I am getting some crap for being mental about the cold water and opting not to do the B2B race. I can only hope that certain people know that if I die, our relay will get DQ'd.

    And, finally ... drumroll ... Ryan Lochte will be at a local swim shop on Saturday from 11-2. Mini is urging a trip there after my swim practice.

    Updated September 22nd, 2010 at 09:51 PM by The Fortress

    Swim Workouts
  14. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout -09/23/10

    by , September 22nd, 2010 at 04:06 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters GOLD Workout)
    WARM UP:
    1 X 300 4:30
    2 X 150 2:15
    3 X 100 1:30
    6 X 50 descend 1-3/4-6 :50

    2 X 200 kick 4:15
    3 X 100 kick 2:10
    4 X 50 kick 1:00

    1 X 400 6:00
    8 X 50 descend 1-4/5-8 1:00
    1 X 300 4:30
    6 X 50 descend 1-3/4-6 :55
    1 X 200 3:00
    4 X 50 descend 1-4 :50
    1 X 100 1:30
    2 X 50 fast 1:00

    16 X 50 1:05
    odd: easy
    even: fast

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy 1:00

    Swim Workouts
  15. Wednesday, 9/22/10

    by , September 22nd, 2010 at 01:35 PM (A comfort swimmer's guide to easy swimming)
    SCY, Solo

    Warm up
    200 Free
    200 IM
    1 x 200 Kick w/Fins - 50 smooth - 50 strong build
    1 x 200 Swim w/Fins- 50 build - 25 fast - 25 smooth

    Main Set: Free & Back
    Repeat following twice:
    free on round 1, back on round 2
    4 x 25/30 Build with strong kick
    4 x 25/30 desc. with strong kick
    (took 1 min extra rest both rounds)
    1 x 100 free - Fast/3:00
    (free 1:10, back)1:20
    4 x 50/1:00 Build with strong kick
    (free 37-38, back 44-45)
    4 x 50/1:00 desc. with strong kick
    (free 40->35, back 45->41)
    (took 1 min extra rest both rounds)
    1 x 100 Free - Fast/3:00
    (free 1:11, back 1:19)
    1 x 100 easy

    Warm down
    200 easy

    Total: 2800 yards
  16. Wed Sep 22 2010

    by , September 22nd, 2010 at 12:31 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Wed Sep 22 2010

    Did not swim on Tuesday

    Congrats to Whitney Hedgepeth for her Backstroke article in the USMS Swimmer magazine September / October 2010 issue
    "What You Don't See Can Hurt You
    Most Common Backstroke Mistakes Are Often Easiest to Miss"

    Congrats to Tyler the Miler Blessing on being the Cover Boy & featured swimmer in her article.

    Subscribe to Ande's Swimming Blog

    Whitney Coached
    6:00 TO 7:30 am
    Austin Mabel Davis pool
    swam with MIKE V, larry, todd, tyler, Marcio, james, jim, nate, ned, & Bob

    dove in around 6:20

    missed it


    400 6 SDKs


    400 6 SDKs


    12 x 100

    400 br

    200 br k
  17. 9/22 Practice - Now with racing!

    by , September 22nd, 2010 at 12:02 PM (Random Nonsense)
    I am on the fence if this workout is a Fort workout. I think the last set makes it a no.

    Warm up
    - 300 free
    - 300 kick on back no fins
    - 300 back
    - 300 swim
    Main Set
    - 100 free off the blocks (:56.5)
    - 10x50 odd ez, even fast with fins on 1:00 (sub 28s)
    - 150 ez
    - 4x200 odd fast, even ez on 3:00 (2:10, 2:08)

    Thanks to Damien, we might have a race every practice off the blocks. The plan is to do the 100 back Friday, which Damien is very good at. After the 100 free, he told me he thought I was dogging the race because he was only half a body length behind, but didn't think that on the back half His goal is to break 1:00 and he went 1:00.2 today, so just cleaning up his turns should do it.

    Didn't worry about the times on the 50s with fins too much since we rarely do sets like that, I don't have a reference for what fast really is. Fun set for me.

    That second 200 hurt and felt like a 2:30 as my arms slowly started to grind to a stop during the last 50.

    Not much yardage, but good quality today. This goes in the great practice bucket for me.

    Registered for my first SCY meet of the season and penultimate USAS meet of the year.

    Updated September 22nd, 2010 at 12:20 PM by qbrain

  18. 9/22/10 Engine Building

    by , September 22nd, 2010 at 11:36 AM (The Labours of SwimStud)
    Well yesterday I ran 4 .5 miles and did core work. So when I got to the pool this morning I had some carry over tiredness.

    Warm Up
    300 FR/BK by 50
    4 x 50 FLY 1:30
    10 x 50 K 1:30
    The kicking was slower today but with a drag suit on and after a run the day before--I wasn't surprised.

    100 to 500 to 100 Ladder/Pyarmid whatever you call it. 1:42 pace.
    I swam it around the 1:30-1:35 mark. So rest was good on the longer swims and I recovered from the kick set to put in some nice effort. I descended the back half by a few seconds per 100 too

    500 Fin Kick
    4 x 50 EZ

    Updated September 23rd, 2010 at 08:02 AM by SwimStud

  19. Did not want to get up this morning

    by , September 22nd, 2010 at 07:27 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    I did it anyway. I am now glad I did since I got my body moving better than I have in a while.

    50,100,200,300,200,100,50@:15R Free

    6x100@1:30 Free kick w/fins
    300 Free kick w/fins easy
    100 Free kick w/fins for time 1:14

    10x50@1:00 Fly w/fins as 25 skull drill/25 swim fast

    10x100 Free w/paddles & bouy
    #1-4@1:30 held 1:25's
    #5-7@1:25 held 1:20's
    #8-9@1:20 held 1:15's
    #10@1:15 went 1:14

    300 Free easy w/snorkle

    Total 3800 yards
  20. English Channel 14hrs 27mins

    The previous neap tide was a complete blow out, as was the following spring tide. I fell into a little funk as swimmers scheduled for this window came to the reality one by one that they would not have the opportunity to swim. With much training and treasure spent, obviously disappointed, they all left Dover with grace and the understanding that chance is still a large factor of any channel attempt. The best wishes from Jordan and Liz and Bryan before their departures strengthened my resolve to give it all I could if/when I got the call.

    On Saturday, 9/28 six boats went out with relays competing in a London to Paris triathlon. The conditions were not ideal, but it was the first activity since my arrival a week ago and there was suddenly a buzz in the air. Word on the street was Monday or Tuesday were looking likely for solos in the #1 slot. Since my pilot, Paul Foreman, was able to get a few of his bookings in for their swims earlier in the season, I had been bumped up to #2... lucky me! I was now looking at a Wednesday morning start, though at 2 AM, it really felt like a Tuesday night.

    Captain Paul took out a San Francisco swimmer, Joe Locke, at 1:00 AM Monday morning. Since Joe was also staying at Varne Ridge, I had the pleasure to chat with him a bit and compare notes on the schedule, etc. Joe had an excellent swim, and I imagine conditions were pretty good as at least 3 swimmers broke 10 hours this day. I got a call from Paul Foreman after Joe had landed, and though the connection was spotty, I understood the gist of it.... I'd be meeting him some time Tuesday night/ Wednesday morning for an early splash on Sept 1. There were 4 flags flying at Varne Ridge... UK, USA, Ireland and Australia. Four of my five neighbors were successful, and as far as i could tell from the forecasts; tomorrow was going to be even better.

    As per the tide changes, starting times generally shift about an hour per day, so, on 8/31, Joe's splash time was +/- 1 AM; 9/1, my splash time would be +/- 2 AM. Sharroz, John, and I met Fiona and Betsy at the marina at 1:30, loaded up the boat and were on our way to Shakespeare Beach which took no time at all.

    I was anxious to get started, so stripped down, inserted ear plugs, applied a bit of channel grease to my pits, shoulders, jaw, neck, upper back, groin, etc. wiped my hands, put on my cap, turned on the green strobe that was attached to my goggle strap, clipped on a belt (and tucked it into my suit) with a couple of glow lights, and jumped in. It was only a short swim to the beach, and after just a few seconds, I was on my way to France. Though I'm a much stronger left breather, Paul requested that I swim on the left side of the boat. This was a position that made it easy for him to keep his eye on me, and I complied without complaint. My plan was to breathe every 3 strokes and keep my stroke rate between 65 and 70. The adrenaline kicked in, and I felt like I was moving at a good clip though kicking a bit too much. I wanted to get warm fast (though the 62 degree water never felt cold) and after 2.5 hours, got a major cramp in my left hamstring.... the same thing that forced my resignation from the 2006 MIMS. Four years wiser, I was able to massage out the cramp and continue along with minimal leg movement (for the next 12 hours). Dodged a bullet!

    The first mate would blind me with a spotlight to indicate feed time. (should have worked out a better signal) I would be alternating between 1st Endurance EFS and ginger tea with agave nectar every 20 minutes. The feeds were coming to me warm; not as hot as I expected them to be but since the temperature of the water didn't seem to be an issue, I didn't request them to be any hotter. The string I packed for this trip was a thin lacing cord that tangled up terribly, sometimes causing my feed stops to be a bit awkward. Additionally, my sinus was a bit irritated from the salty irrigations of harbor water for the past 10 days, so breathing through my nose was not happening; this prevented me from chugging my 11 oz feeds as quickly as I would have liked to. Oh well, I wasn't going to break any records anyway.

    Swimming on the port side of the Pace Arrow gave me an unobstructed view of the horizon. I have never experienced a clear sunrise from a fish eye view before. It was nothing short of magnificent. I thought standing on french sand (or pebbles) would be the emotional climax, but tears of joy were filling up my goggles as the sky lit up red and orange. I saw Roz and Fiona had the cameras going but know that photographs could never convey this feeling of swimming through the darkness. The fresh morning suggested warmth, though I don't think the temperature changed at all.

    The channel is rather shallow <180 feet (compare to Catalina +/- 3000 ft!) and there aren't a lot of things to look at except white cliffs at either coast and the passing ships and ferries. Now in the daylight, I could see the cliffs of Dover when I would roll on my back to feed though its impossible to gauge the distance covered. Still, I quickly remind myself not to look toward France. Though the shipping lanes are wide, the direction of traffic indicates when we are in English or French waters. I lost count of how many ships crossed our path, but it was more than a dozen. It surprised me that their wakes were barely perceivable although they seemed to pass quickly and closely.

    I broke my first rule (DON"T LOOK TOWARD THE FINISH) and looked at France. It seemed so close.... for so long; the lighthouse atop Cap Gris Nez a welcome sight. At my next feed Fiona shouted a few words of encouragement "you're almost there!", which prompted me to ask "how many more feeds?". This was not part of my communication plan and I think also qualifies as breaking rule #2... (JUST SHUT UP AND SWIM), but I wanted to know if I could start consuming fewer calories as we seemed to be in the home stretch. John was caught off guard by my inquiry; "two more" he shouted. So now in my mind, I'm thinking I've got another 40 minutes to an hour of swimming left. I could cruise in on what I've consumed so far and let the next two feeds go back to the boat after just a few sips. The hour has passed, and the view of the lighthouse hasn't changed at all. There would be another ten feeds coming my way, and I went back to drinking it all down. During this futile siege I noticed Capt. Paul changing the position of the boat relative to the Cap... trying to find a break in the currents that would allow us passage. At one point, he pulled around to my left, and I saw for the first time the giant woven nylon parachute that he was dragging behind the boat. This was preventing the boat from turning into the wind and current.

    We missed hitting the Cap, (I don't think anyone hit it directly that day), and the wind was picking up. I thought of the possibility that I might have to hold this position for up to six hours and wait for the tide to change (based on stories of swims past) and laughed to myself as I watched the boat bouncing up and down in the six to eight foot swells... it must suck being on that boat... wasn't I the lucky one!

    Finally, we got through the currents and entered into a shallow cove just north of Cap Gris Nez. I saw John suiting up to escort me to the finish and in front of us, a street that ended in a boat ramp with a few houses on the right and, a restaurant (La Sirene) on the left. I kept sighting on the boat ramp, and was rewarded with a sandy/pebbly beach to walk up. There were a few people standing at the top of the ramp, and from their gestures, I thought they were inviting us to come have a drink.... John says this was purely my imagination, and anyway, Paul was already sounding the horn for us to swim the hundred or so yards back to the boat. We grabbed a few rocks and started swimming.

    The Pace Arrow is one of the fastest boats of all the channel pilots, and Paul was in a hurry to get back. We were getting bounced around pretty good, but still, after a trip to the head and wiping the grease off me, I was out like a light. Sharoz and Fiona took lots of video and stills and along with John and Betsy were tremendous support. I've said it before, but it can't be overstated: I could have never completed any of these swims without the enthusiastic support of so many friends and family. I am humbled in the presence of such love and generosity.

    I'm not sure who came up with the "Triple Crown", but it seems to have become a motivating force for marathon swimmers. Catalina has seen large increases in the number of swimmers scheduling attempts, MIMS fills up in an hour or so, and the EC is booked up for a couple of years in advance. I was inspired by Antonio Arguelles who I met at MIMS last year whose goal was to swim the three in one year. This seemed to make sense to me, and since I had aN EC booking, all I had to do was get into MIMS and find a Catalina date somewhere in the middle. It was 82 days from MIMS to my EC crossing. Steve Munatones did a nice write up... thanks Steve!
    Colorado swimmer Craig Lenning completed the TC in less than a year as well. http://www.dailynewsofopenwaterswimm...rown-club.html
    I had the pleasure of swimming with him at MIMS and Tampa Bay this year.

    ...... up next; La Sirene, the Serp, the Thames, etc

    Updated September 22nd, 2010 at 08:30 PM by chaos

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