Chalkwell Redcaps

Chalkwell Redcaps

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Starting distance pool training or how to count to 5 - By Ben Jaques

This is from when I started distance pool training back in November.
Long distance open water swims are easy to do (well getting the distance right is), pick a starting point and measure the required distance and, bang, you've got your end point. Brain only has to remember where to get in and where to get out and can spend the rest of its time wandering off doing its own thing (imagining all the creatures that live in the waters below is a good one to keep your pace up).
But sometimes you cannot get to the sea (or the sea is a little too chilly) for a long swim and you have to make do with a swimming pool.
My local pool isn't kilometres long so the start and end point plan falls down. But I do know how long it is leading me to plan B; take the total swim distance and divide by the length of the pool then swim that many lengths. What could be easier?
A small hurdle is that at my local pool the first hour of the morning swim is in the diving pit (20m) whilst club swimmers are in the main 25m pool. No problem there, 5 x 20 = 100 and 4 x 25 = 100 so all I have to do is count the 100m’s and I will know how far I have gone. Now I know I am not very good at counting whilst swimming so being able to keep track of the number of 100m’s would never work without my helpful little lap counter thing (fits on your finger).
So off I set, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, press, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, press and repeat. All going well until 1, 2, 3, oo this diving pool is quite warm, 2, 3, 4, 5, press, hang on a minute this 100 is supposed to end down the other end, never mind, 5, press, bugger was not meant to press again. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, hooray remembered not to press, 1, pool swimming is OK, your mind can turn off, just enjoying the repetition, erm so what length is this I’ll go with 2 as I seem to be going in that direction and would not want to swim less than I counted. So I continued doing this for the diving pool hour counting what may or may not be the 100m’s I swam.
Once in the 25m main pool I adapted my counting a bit, seeing that I cannot count to 5 I had little hope that 4 would prove any easier. So I imagine Digi Duck sitting on the far pool edge, I swim down turn and Digi jumps onto my back. I swim back down to the starting end turn and back up where Digi jump off onto the edge again before I turn and swim the length to complete a 100m. Therefore I only press the lap counter if Digi is not riding on my back. Strangely enough this actually worked and the 25m pool counting was pretty accurate.
Why is counting so hard?

Friday, 4 November 2011

Southend Radio LIVE Interview - October 30 - By Lorraine Rate

Well what can I say, The Chalkwell Redcaps first step towards Fame.  Hopefully, this is just the start of our mission to spread the word that The Chalkwell Redcaps Open Water Swimming Club are going to try to raise an awful lot of money for The RNLI and Essex Search & Rescue.  So in anticipation of loads of dosh flooding in, Ben Jaques and Lorraine Rate, along with 100's of Redcaps (according to Tracy) headed off to the Headquarters of Southend Radio for our first ever live interview.

Ben and myself, prior to going live on air.
I was absolutely petrified.  I had been nervous for 3 weeks imagining that a simple question like "Tell us about the challenge Lorraine", would leave me tongue tied!  Ben, on the other hand, cool as a cucumber as always (that was only because my brain was too tired from the swim session the day before to know what was going on - Ben).

The SKS challenge may not be until July 2012, but we want to put the wheels in motion now.  It's never too early to start to spread the word.   I am really confident that the targets I have set, £5,000 for the RNLI and £3,000 for Essex Search & Rescue will be met.  Huge, huge thanks to Michael and Helen Tong for being the first to donate on the websites, albeit the message "You Nutters" probably sums up this challenge rather well.  We are looking forward to receiving the donations and watching those figures rise over the coming months.  I fully suspect we will all get motivated to raising lots of money in the new year as we are all so busy at the moment preparing for Christmas.

Left to right from back, Derrick, Derek, Ben, Lorraine, Alex
Wouter, Clare, Jane, Helen and Andy.  All either swimmers or kayakers for SKS.

So, back to the interview and my nerves!  I thought it might be a good idea to email Tracy Jones (our interviewer) beforehand, to give her an idea of what questions to ask and who to direct them at.  So for me please Tracy, "Ask me about, how it all began, the training plan and the fundraising".  And for Ben please, ask him all the intelligent stuff like Tides, weather forecasts, safety, map plotting and navigation".   I had gone over and over it in my mind a hundred times and was convinced I would be kicking Ben under the table after the first question.  "Now tell me Lorraine, exactly how did it all begin".    Oi, Ben, How did it all begin!    "So, now tell me Lorraine about this epic training plan you have put together for the swimmers".  Oi, Ben, What training plan"?   L.O.L.

We wanted to have some photography done before hand so we engaged the services of Julie Dempsey, who was recently crowned The Official Redcap Challenge Photographer of the Year.  A great crowd of potential SKS swimmers and volunteers turned up to support myself and Ben.   We all had a cuppa in Sands Restaurant first where the sponsor forms and other documentation was handed out, including my photo-copy of the 'Core body strength Exercises for Swimmers' regime, which I have to say, was not received as kindly as the tea/coffee for some reason.

Back to front sweatshirts - all the rage!
Tracy was so friendly, everyone relaxed immediately (apart from me of course).  With hands still shaking with nerves, even the portion of fish and chips that were bought in wasn't enough to take my mind off the task ahead).

So here is the official interview.  Well done and huge thanks to Julie for the recording.  She's a dab hand at videoing too.  No wonder she got that title.

And part 2....

And needless to say, after the interview, I headed straight for the Fish 'n Chips!  

So that's the fun part over.  Now back to reality.  Immediately after the interview, Wouter and Jane were heading off for yet another SKS Kayak attempt. Last week, you may have read that Andy and Jane made it to the shipping lane, but the winds were blowing and the surf was up, so heading back was the sensible option.

I want to stress at this pont how much the SKS swimmers are grateful for the support crews time.  Over the coming months, the kayakers and support crews will be making many crossings in order that we can learn of all the pitfalls out there.  This is when you realise that this challenge is definitely NOT about the swimmers.  It's about every single person involved in ensuring that this challenge is a success.  Whilst the swimmers are putting in the distance in the pool and the gym, the support crews are putting in twice as much work behind the scenes to ensure this challenge is achieved without a hitch.

Next report comes from Wouter.  Read all about SKS Kayak mission no. 2 soon.

Many thanks to Tracy Jones and everybody else at Southend Radio.