Our attempt at the Channel swim is just over 3 weeks away, however before we can definitely go ahead with it each of the team has to complete a certified swim for 2 hours in open water that is below 15.5 degrees. Of course, I am the only one in the team who hasn’t done this yet. Basically, if it’s not done this weekend we risk not getting the swim registered with the Channel Swimming Association in time for the attempt.
From the outset the two hour cold water swim was always been my biggest concern. During the actually channel swim we will each only be in the water an hour at a time before we can get back on the boat to thaw out for five hours.
It’s not that I don’t really like the cold, it’s that I hate the cold. Come around my flat and it’s not 25 degrees to encourage ladies to remove their clothes, as some have insinuated. It’s so I don’t have to wear a fleece all the time, like I do when I come to your home.
Saying that spending two hours in cold water is simply twice as long as an hour, is like saying holding your breath for two minutes is simply twice as long as holding it for one minute.
Anyway, not a lot of choice but just have to stay in the water for two hours this weekend. Only slight issue with this is the sea where I have organised this is 11 degrees. All the rest of the team were sensible enough to do their two hour purgatory in lakes where the water was 15 degrees. Whilst 4 degrees doesn’t sound much, it makes a HUGE difference…in water…for two hours.
Had a chat with Sam Zawadzki yesterday who did a channel relay last year and asked his advice about using goose fat or if it was an old wives tale – “We did use Vaseline all over, apart from hands and feet, otherwise makes it a bit slippery trying to back in the boat” So did it help in the cold? “No, it was just to make the jelly fish stings less painful…” Getting myself so worked up about the cold I hadn’t even thought about the jelly fish.
I think the standard advice in the circumstances is ‘Man up, Princess’ and stop being such a wuss. Hypothermia probably never really killed anyone anyway, just another old wives tale. Only one way to find out…