09 July 2010
Erietta's Top Ten Questions about Channel Swimming
Questions I want to see answered in Dori's blog.
1. Who pays?
Although I have won money in marathon swims, it is not a lucrative hobby. In the past I have paid for my swims. Hiring a boat, pilot and crew to escort you is the biggest expense in this sport as well as travel costs if you like to swim in far away locations. I am lucky to have Bondi Icebergs Club help support my double channel swim.
2. Why are you swimming the channel exactly?
I like to have to challenges and set a goal and work towards it. When I swam the Channel in 2008, I was surprised when I reached France. It was pitch black and I couldn't see the shore until I was a few hundred yards out. I could have kept swimming if I had to. When I started thinking about my next big swim, I decided to go back to the Channel to see how far I really could go.
3. How long have you been swimming?
I learned to swim at the YMCA when I was little, maybe 5 years old. I loved to play in the pool. I didn't start swimming competitively until I was 11. I thought that swimming wouldn't be fun if I had to do it. When I was competing in college, it was a lot of pressure. I didn't swim for 11 years afterwards. When I started swimming with Masters I realised that swimming was fun again.
4. How long will it take to swim from England to France AND BACK?
I will probably be swimming for 24 hours, at least. A lot depends on the tides and weather conditions.
5. What will you eat on your swim?
I mostly drink my nutrition during my swim. My crew is in charge of feeding me. They mix carbohydrate powder and Gu into things like peppermint tea or gatorade. During my Lake George marathon swim my crew gave me flat coke with a vanilla Gu. That tasted so good. I also eat other things like bananas. The salt water kills my taste buds so most things have no taste after a while. Hopefully I will be able to keep my feedings down this time.
6. How many Ks do you swim a day?
I swim between 4-15 Ks a day. Some mornings I can get in 6-7Ks before work. I do my long swims on weekends, usually 4-5 hours.
7. Will you wear a wet suit?
No, just a regular cossie. Wetsuits are not permitted according to "Channel rules:"
No swimmer in a standard attempt to swim the Channel shall be permitted to use or wear any device or swimsuit that may aid his/her speed, buoyancy, heat retention or endurance (such as wetsuit, webbed gloves, paddles, fins, etc). The swimmer is permitted to grease the body before a swim, use goggles and one hat. Nose clips and earplugs are permitted. -- Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation
8. What will motivate you on your swim? Or will you just zone out?
I find the first hour or so is the hardest because my mind is racing. After a while my body and mind get used to the rhythm of swimming. Sometimes I do zone out and time goes weird. Sometimes I feel like the mind is totally clear and focused. Sometimes I sing the same song over and over. I watch the crew on the boat for entertainment.
9. What do you eat while training? Don't lie. I am sitting opposite you. Chocolate and carbs.
I pretty much each anything I want. This morning I had two bowls of pasta for breakfast and I was still hungry. Full cream milk, cheese, ice cream and whipped cream are also good for adding extra insulation.
10. Is peeing while you swim and getting that warm feeling the best thing that will happen to you on your epic challenge?
I hope that successfully swimming all the way back to Dover and receiving a hero's welcome would be the best thing, this would be a close second. And not puking too much.
oh, one more... 11. do you have a coach?
I don't have a English Channel coach. I train with two teams and those coaches have been very supportive and helpful during my training. Angelo Basalo and Gai Campbell at Cranbrook Eastern Edge and Kevin Porter at North Sydney Masters have helped me improve my fitness over the past year. I also have a few friends back home who are experienced Channel swimmers and are a great source of inspiration and advice. The Channel swimming community is a great bunch of like minded nutters.