With the decision made to swim the English Channel, the next item on the agenda was when? Deciding on the best possible tide in August 2015 sounded reasonable and three years to prepare showed plenty of respect to the task ahead.

Within the week I had dropped £1,000 on a deposit and my slot was booked on the second neap tide in August 3 years hence, and with the same pilot as my earlier relay swim with the Viking Princess.

All that remained was to plan my training schedule and get back in the pool. oh and to buy loads of kit! New goggles, bag, trunks, hat and of course the obligatory Garmin 910xt swim watch.


It was a Tuesday night and I was ready for my first visit to the pool for a number of years. I strolled onto poolside just as the aqua aerobics class was coming to an end and slowly lowered myself into the chilly waters (29 degrees I think) of the fast lane. Setting off like I was 17 again, I imagined the lifeguards watching and thinking what a rarity it was to have a competent swimmer in the pool for a change.

That was extremely short-lived as I lasted exactly 10 lengths before running out of steam, feeling physically sick I sat on the poolside pretending to have cramp in my foot and calf and only after about ten minutes did I hobble dramatically back to the changing rooms.

I knew then that this was going to be far more difficult than I had previously imagined.