Questions and Answers
How long will it take? The swim will take me between 9-11 hours. It is hard to know exactly how long my crossing will take as swim times can be dependent on weather conditions, tidal movements and luck.
Where do you start/finish? I will start from Shakespeare Beach in Dover, England. I will finish on the coast of France between Cap Gris-Nez (or slightly further west) and Calais.
Will you swim alone? Yes. I will complete the swim on my own. There may be other swimmers making attempts on the same day, but we will not swim together.
Can you stop during the swim? Yes. You can stop whenever you want, but you cannot get out of the water. I plan to stop every 45 minutes for about 30 seconds to get some food and drink.
Do you have an escort boat? Yes. I will have an escort boat and crew to support me for the swim. Paul Foreman from the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation will guide me across the channel in his boat the 'Pace Arrow'. Paul will plot my course during the swim and keep me safe from other boats.
What does your crew do? The crew will monitor my condition for fatigue and hypothermia, prepare my feeds, watch for other boats, alert me of debris, and keep me as informed and entertained as possible. If you are in the UK in September and want to help out on the boat please let me know.
Do you have an official observer? Yes. The observer makes sure that all Channel rules are adhered to and keeps an "official" log. To read the rules of the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation click here.
What will you eat? It is important to eat as many normal foods as possible. I will eat a combination of vegemite sandwiches, bananas, mars bars and other foods. I will also use energy replacements such as gu's in the last few hours. I will need to eat as often as I can to maintain my energy levels.
What will you drink? I will drink a combination of liquid foods (endura optimser) and electrolytes replacements (leppin hydrate). I will need to drink around 500ml every hour. I may also require pain killers and sea sickness tablets at various stages of the swim depending on how I feel.
Do you have to show your passport in France? No. The Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation will take care of the paperwork so that I don't have to show anything on the French beach when I am finished. I am however only allowed 10 minutes in France before I have to return to the boat.
What can you see when swimming? It is difficult to see further than a few hundred meters. It is therefore really important to stay very close to the boat. If conditions are good you can see land from around 5km away (when in the water), so I will hopefully be able to see France for the last hour of my swim.
What swimming training have you been doing? I have been swimming between 30-50km per week. My training has been a combination of pool sessions in the morning before work and open water swims on the weekend. I have also been doing weights 1-2 times per week to help strengthen my shoulders.
Have you put on any weight in preparation? Yes. I have put on around 7-8kgs to prepare my body for the expected cold water. I have been eating an increased amount of food and have also used various supplements to help me gain the weight. My nutritionist is Susie Burrell.
What else have you been doing to prepare for the cold water? I have been swimming in cold water as often as possible to help my body acclimatise. This has included swims at Brighton Baths (12c-14c), Balmoral Beach (14-16c), Bondi Icebergs (16-17c) as well as swimming in the ocean as often as possible. I have also been exposing my body to cold conditions on a regular basis, including: cold showers, surfing without a wet-suit, swimming without a cap, never wearing jumpers and riding my vespa without gloves.
Did you have to do anything to qualify for the English Channel? Yes. Solo swimmers are required to complete a medical examination a 6 hour swim in 16c temperature water. I completed this qualification swim at Balmoral in June.
What is the longest swim you have completed? I have completed the Cottesloe to Rottnest Island swim in both 2009 and 2010. This in 20km in open water. I have also completed 21km in the Bondi Icebergs pool, 24 laps of Bondi Beach (approx 20km) and 24 laps of Balmoral Beach (approx 20km) as part of my training this year.
What do you think about when you're swimming? Anything and everything. I find the best way to make the hours pass is to relax and dream about things. I regularly think about my favourite movies, sing songs or even think about work. It may sound strange but I find the best way to pass the time in the water is to almost fall asleep and dream about things. It is also important that you keep positive and swim from feed to feed. If you are always thinking about how far you have to swim (or for how long) it can make things really difficult.
How much does it cost? The swim will cost me around $10,000. This includes flights, accommodation, membership fees and escort boat.
Why are you only allowed one bathing suit, bathing cap, goggles and grease? To keep the rules the same throughout history. Having the same equipment as Matthew Webb had keeps the challenge intact. The grease is a mixture of Lanolin and Vaseline.
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