Having been zapped with ultra-sound everyday, I was ready to test out the injured shoulder, if all went well, I hoped to do 7 hours on Saturday, followed by 6 hours on Sunday. We arrived at Dover and Freda suggests I do a 5 hour swim, oh joy thinks I, she is trying to protect my shoulder (Bless). Rob and I enter the water together and I manage to stay with him, no pain yet. As I swim I think that no way would Freda just propose 5 hours, and sure enough, at the first feed stop I'm told I'm going well and should now do 6 hours. It is very hard to mentally adjust in the cold, but I suspected this may be done, (Total Body Confusion) and was prepared to swim for 6 hours. What I wasn't ready for was at the next feed, I was told that 7 hours would be a good target for the day. Now whilst I had wanted to do 7 at the start of the day, being told 5 then 6 really challenged my mind, and it took a fair amount of control not to tell everyone where they could shove the suggestion!! I plugged on, counting down the hourly feeds, until I had just an hour to finish. What I didn't realise at the time was I was the only swimmer on a 7 hour effort and Freda had stopped to ensure I was out safe, even though she wasn't feeling too well, so thank-you Freda. On the last leg of the swim back to the beach, a truely bizzare event occurred, when I was stopped by the Police... in a huge RIB. Now I would like to think I was pulled over for speeding but they only wanted to warn me about the sailing dinghies in the water, luckily I was on my way out.
Sunday was a 6 hour swim with no mind games! However, the weather did it's best to stop us from swimming. We had an hour of sun, but things went from bad to worse as the day went on. By the end it was better to be in the water than on the beach as the photo's show:
Photo's courtesy of Emma French
Despite the conditions, a few brave souls completed the full 6 hours, under Fredas ever watching eyes. I have completed my final hurdle before I'm let loose in the Channel, swimming a 7 then a 6 hour is thought of a a "split Channel swim" and is a fair indicator of whether you can in fact swim to France. So, it's time to taper down the training and await the call up!!
Thanks to all at Dover who supported not only me, but all the other swimmers, we can't do it without you.