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The swim took place on Tuesday 26th July starting from Shakespeare Beach in Dover and finishing south of Cap Gris Nez in France. My crew who took responsibility for my feeding during the swim included all my family and my training partners Michael Martin and Ryan Nuttall, all these people are an essential part of the swim as it is a mental as well as a physical challenge. The boat also had a qualified pilot from the Channel Swimming and Pilot Federation along with assistants and an observer from the same organisation who is responsible for seeing the swim is carried out by the guidelines of the CS&PF correctly.
I entered the water for an early 6 am start, it was apparent the 16 degree water temperature and sea state was going to be quite rough, unfortunately this was the case for the whole swim, on a couple of occasions the whole crew had to ‘hold tight’ as the waves were greatly increased by the wake of the huge vessels that move up and down the shipping lanes directly across my swim route, up to 500 vessels a day use this stretch of water making it the busiest shipping lane anywhere in the world. I was escorted by dolphins away from Dover, attacked by seagulls mid Channel, received a jelly fish sting ½ mile from France and then coming into the French coast a very large and inquisitive seal came within 6 feet of me for some time. My feed pattern occurred every 1 hour for the first 3 hours followed by 30 minute intervals, I had to tread water without contacting the boat, the feed consisted of an high energy drink along with chocolate mini rolls and peaches, unfortunately due to the high waves I ingested quite a lot of the ocean causing me to have dreadful sickness over seven times. 35,000 swimming strokes later, exhausted and a little weary I completed the swim in 10 hours and 49 minutes. A lifelong ambition ticked off!
I had been specifically training to do a solo swim of the channel for the past two years, after a Channel relay in 2009, training included the 10.5 mile length of Lake Windermere twice, an 8 mile sea swim across Torbay and also a 24 hour swim in Guildford Lido completing 1 mile on the hour, every hour for a 24 hour period along with many lake and sea training sessions up to 4 hours in length most days. Prior to the event I was required to do a 6 hour qualifying swim in Dover harbour. I also attended a local Sports Centre to do weights and aerobic type workouts.
I would like to thank my employer Flowplant who very kindly sponsored my challenge and all friends, relatives and work colleagues who made donations to the British Heart Foundation..
I have managed to raise over £3000.00 for the British Heart Foundation, this is a charity close to my own heart as I lost my father some years ago to heart disease. Should anyone wish to make a donation they can visit my fund raising page http://www.justgiving.com/Mark-Preston0
I would like to thank all my family and crew without whom I couldn’t have completed this personal challenge.
All your donations will be greatly received, please leave me a message and tick for gift aid.
Thank you to you my support crew, family and everyone who has donated.
Thanks & Regards Mark Preston