On the 26th August 2017, Rose Hawkins’ tidal slot will open, meaning she could get the call at any time to say that it is her time to swim the English channel. For the last 12 months Rose has been training to prepare for the 21-mile swim from Dover to Cap Gris-Nez. This swim is the equivalent of 1350 lengths of a 25-metre pool and will take between 12 -16 hours to complete.
Rose before her 2 way lake windermere swim
Whilst swimming the channel Rose will face numerous challenges including;
- Not being allowed to wear a wet suit
- No touching of the support boat & eating whilst treading water
- Other factors including: jelly fish, weather, sewage and route changes due to shipping lanes
- The fact her swim distance may increase up to 35 miles due to the tides changing
- Not forgetting, the huge mental challenge of staying focused and motivated.
We’ve asked Rose some questions to see how she’s getting on preparing for her challenge.
- What has been your biggest obstacle to overcome?
The intensity of the training in general and finding the time to make sure I’m doing enough miles every week. The swimming in the cold has also taken some getting used to, as well as preparing myself mentally for the Channel.
- What has kept you motivated through the training process?
The thought of making it to France! I have been so lucky to have so much support as well – thinking of everyone backing me has really has kept me going.
- What made you want to swim the channel?
I have always loved swimming and ever since I got into it I knew the channel swim was one of the greatest feats for most swimmers. Something clicked last year, and I finally decided to it. The thought of being able to say I swam to France just stuck in my head!
- How have you been training so far? And preparing yourself for the challenge?
There have been lots of cold showers to prepare for the cold, and I have been going to yoga classes at David Lloyd Luton to help stretch out my shoulders. The last few months I have been trying to swim in the sea as much as possible and I have completed a two-way swim of Lake Windermere, a 6-hour qualifier swim in Bournemouth, and many hours doing lengths of the David Lloyd Milton Keynes and Luton pool through the winter. I have also had to eat a lot to make sure I have enough energy and to make sure I am protected as much as possible from the cold.
- How did you pick the charities that you’re raising money for?
I didn’t have one particular charity I wanted to raise money for, so I decided to split it between four causes – Willen Hospice, Medical Detection Dogs, Marie Curie and the British Heart Foundation. They are all personal to me and do great things. The research that British Heart Foundation is doing is crucial for the continued advances and research for Heart Patients, and again is one that has affected our family. Marie Curie was also a huge help for my family and me during a very difficult time losing a loved one.
- Have you every done anything like this before?
I have always swam, but hadn’t done much Open Water Swimming prior to training for this. I was always better at long distance rather than racing though, and have always loved the sea!
- Who will be on the support boat during your swim?
My Mum, Dad, sister and cousin are all hoping to be on the boat to support me. They’ll also have to feed me during the swim as I’m not allowed to touch the boat whilst drinking or eating. They are going to need lots of sea sickness tablets and ginger biscuits to get through it, so hopefully they will all make it too!
- What you are most nervous about?
I am nervous about starting the swim as it will seem very much like I am going into the unknown. A lot of the swim depends on the conditions on the day. I am also nervous about swimming in the dark for some of the way, as well as the mental side of things and trying to stay positive.
- Will you keep up swimming afterwards?
Yes, I will definitely keep up swimming afterwards. But maybe I’ll stick to some more gentle swims from then on!
- Do you have any tips for people thinking of taking up swimming?
Definitely get involved, as swimming caters for all levels and is great exercise that anyone can do. I would say get yourself a good pair of goggles too! For front crawl, breathe bi-laterally so that you will be more streamlined and have a better rhythm in the water, and if you are swimming outside this will allow you better sight and to stay more in a straight line!
If you’d like to get involved with swimming all David Lloyd Clubs have swimming pools, and coaches that can help you learn and improve. Click here to find your local club.