We have a swim on our hands!


I am absolutely overwhelmed by your following, your messages, good wishes and enthusiasm.. Thank you so much. It is an accomplishment that I truly have not come to terms with at this point and one that I know could not be achieved without my amazing ‘Boat Crew’, your support and the incredible support received from Virgin Atlantic.


I have sat for the past three mornings feeling most moved, having a mug of tea on a bench, on top of the cliffs looking across the water towards France.


I realise that something should have been posted shortly afterwards to give you all the ‘run down’, a blow by blow account.. but sadly I was most definitely in a recovery phase after extreme effort. I have not experienced this feeling for many, many years. Unfortunately, my PR manager and chef was also absent.. “He had legged it when the rum ration was finished”!


I arrived in Dover on the 18th September ready for my tide.  Having done all of the hard work during training I was now ‘tapering’! Aiming to arrive at the point of departure in peak physical condition.. that would be a first!!


It consisted of a daily swims off Dover beach varying between 1-2 hours, whilst watching the all important ‘water temp’ begin to fall and eating as much pasta and grains as humanly possible. It was here that we ran into the fastest man in the world, Trent Grimsey from Australia. He holds the record for a English Channel crossing, made last year, 6 hours and 55 minutes! I noticed that he has a very similar swim technique to me.. “Right!” He is the one in the white cap in the middle that looks like a swimmer.


Within a few days my trusted ‘Boat crew’ began to arrive and settle in. In amongst the briefings and equipment checks there was some serious ‘behaviour’ to contend with.


And then the preparation came. On Sunday afternoon I spoke with Reg the pilot, as he motored back through the Dover marina entrance with an injured swimmer on the way to A&E (shoulder), who informed me that we were on for the following morning, Monday 23rd September at 1000, to be confirmed at 2030 that evening.


I had totally prepared myself to swim ‘Night into Day’ and not day into night! The physiological advantages for me of swimming night into day were enormous. With the daylight or direct sun, if one is lucky, heating one’s back. But not day into the cold night, that was another ball game!!

Consequently, I found any excuse not to rest and by 2030, when I called Reg. I was relieved when he cancelled his plans and told me to prepare for Tuesday morning the 24th!

The swim was on!


Monday was filled with a swim in Dover, just for fun with the Boat Crew, to ensure that they would fully understand the meaning of cold. Then back up to Base Camp for more eating and final preparation. I had a massage and dined at 4pm, ‘more pasta, arghhhh’. Then bed!

Uhmmm.. yes, well, a couple of good hours sleep and I was back at the table for the ‘Last Supper’ with the boys at 9pm.


A few heads down for a final sleep whilst I went back to bed before getting up for a breakfast of porridge and honey. More eating!


When I awoke, my guardian angel Philippe Fort arrived from France (my coach) with his notepad at the ready and the team was complete.


Finally, waddling out like an expectant mother awaiting her final rendezvous with the Doctor, I re-emerged in my swim gear to relax.. “Yeah right”, whilst others tried in vain to get every last minute of rest possible! A little chill time and stretching:


We moved into the vehicles impatient to ‘crack on’ with it. Mr Jenkins and I in Agent Orange with the kit and equipment whilst the team ‘squeezed’ into David’s Golf.. Hagar, I told you.. one too many helpings! We drove to Dover Marina to unload next to the lifeboat station on the jetty. The swimmer fortunately, is now in the ‘cotton wool phase’, not allowed to do anything stupid or risk lifting of any type. I saw my opportunity whilst their backs were turned and climbed up onto Agent Orange!


Having been thoroughly berated after jumping down.. with good reason, “Sorry guys” we went to the dock and met The Viking Princess.


I bet that you can’t wait for the ‘greasing?’ Well you will have to. That will be part two…