training & coaching

More free advice from Channel pilot Micheal Oram

From an e-mail sent to the channel discussion group on 2009-08-28


Firstly the "Channel Grease" formula that used to be supplied and used is
90% lanolin + 10% Vaseline -- heat gently and stir together (do not overheat just enough to allow the two to be mixed together). Defrost setting on the microwave is one method.
You can use any % mix you want that suits your needs and trials.

The swimsuit's role in creating (open water) champions

The original article by Glenn Stout is posted (with picture) on BostonGlobe since August 4, 2009.

IS IT THE suit, or the swimmer?

This is the question that is being asked of Michael Phelps and other world-class swimmers today. Precisely how much of their speed in the water is due to their own innate abilities as opposed to the more streamlined swimsuits currently in vogue is a question that vexes the swimming community. After all, Phelps seemed once invincible in his Speedo LZR, last year’s hot swim racing fashion. But all of a sudden German swimmer Paul Biedermann, in his new, high-tech Arena X-Glide suit, has left Phelps behind.

3 Drills for Open Water Swimming

The original article by By Jim Vance is posted on since ???

One of the most common group workouts involves gathering with friends and heading out into the open water for a swim. When the weather is warm, this can become a weekly ceremony where athletes just enjoy getting out in the open water.

Most athletes will perform these sessions unstructured, with the focus being simple aerobic development and socializing. What these athletes are missing out on is a great opportunity to gain sport-specific skills for open-water swimming. This can easily be accomplished by giving the workout some structure.

Here are some simple open-water drills and skills to practice the next time your group heads for the ocean, lake, river or even a lane-line-less pool.
Surf Entry

Start on the beach and run into the water. Count the steps from the time your foot first touches the water until the water becomes too deep to hold your speed and you must start swimming.

Weather prediction in the Channel

A message from Michael Oram from the CS&PF

Weather links - just a few of the ones we use to try and work out what is going to happen.
Just remember that wave height is not directly related to wind speed and wind direction has a lot to do with the sea conditions.

Coping With Cold-Water Swimming

The original article by Kevin Koskella is posted on since July 08 2009.

I’ll be the first to say, I hate the cold! Cold air, and especially cold water. Even after 14 years of competitive swimming, I never once got used to or enjoyed jumping into a cold pool.

These days, I prefer open water swimming to pool swimming, but refuse to get in our local Pacific Ocean until it gets up around 66 degrees or so. Anything below that and I’m known to turn various shades of purple!

Cold water cannot only be unpleasant and draining, but can also be dangerous. A couple of months ago here in Southern California, a swimmer had to be rescued because of the frigid conditions. The point is that it’s always best to do your open water swim training with a partner just in case!

How do you get to swim the English Channel? Practice, practice, practic

The original article by Jocelyn Stone (with picture) on since June 30, 10:02 PM.

Have you ever had a goal that seems completely insurmountable? Maybe you’ve even put it aside because it seems impossible?

Imagine jumping into 60-degree water. Behind you is Dover, England. Ahead of you, 21 miles ahead to be exact, is Cap Gris Nez, France. In 10 to 12 hours (estimated average), after maneuvering strong tides, jellyfish, and garbage, if all the right conditions are in alignment, you will emerge victorious having swum the English Channel.

The Science of Drafting.... And positioning to win!

The following CONCLUSION was published in the March 7, 2009 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:

Swedish swimmer Therese Alshammar disqualified over suit law

posted Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:43pm AEDT on
Swedish swimmer Therese Alshammar has been disqualified for swimming in two suits at the Australian Swimming Championships.
She has also been stripped of the world record she set in this morning's heats of the 50 metres butterfly.
Australian coach Alan Thompson says Alshammar can only wear one suit in competition under a new Swimming Australia by-law.
Swimming Australia says Alshammar has appealed against the decision.

Cold Water Therapy

The original article (with pictures and further comments) is posted on Mark Sissons blog since 2009-02-19.

You’re in the middle of a nice, hot shower, feeling your muscles relax, the day’s tension (or night’s sleepiness) melt away. As you bask in the quiet moment of repose, suddenly your body gets a startling jolt. After a second of disoriented shock, you realize something has happened to the hot water. Did someone start the washer? Is the water heater going berserk? Your hopes of relaxation now dashed, your stress level through the roof, you finish only the most obligatory rinsing and step out of the shower cursing, muttering and shivering as you reach for your towel.

Keep swimming! Hypothermia scare

The original article (with pictures) is posted on Steven Munatones Blog 10k swimmer since 2009-02-18

Cyrise Sanders (nee Calvin) of the La Jolla Cove Swim Club gave us permission to post her first-hand account of a near disaster she faced in the Pacific Ocean near San Diego, California.

Cyrise is one of the most seasoned open water swimmers in the San Diego area where she has swum in the La Jolla Cove for over 20 years. She swam the Catalina Channel in 1992 and the English Channel in 1994 in 10 hours 50 minutes in 59°F water. She has done countless swims of 2-3 miles by herself in the (generally cold or cool) Pacific Ocean.

This is her first-hand account:

...I want you to know that what happened to me was astounding, shocking, and unfathomable. It could happen to anyone. It could happen to you.