How far in advance to start planning solo marathon swim?

Hi folks,
So, I have a swim I have been dreaming about for at least 4 years. It hasn't been done before, and I have access to support crew, a possible boat, a safety officer, and 1-2 kayakers to trade off support. I am looking to be the first to do this particular swim, following Federation guidelines specifically.

It's a swim of approximately 15 miles in length, although maybe 16 depending upon route.

Here's the thing--I have just been given the possibility of attempting this in June, which is, as we know, coming up quite soon. Does that seem feasible in terms of planning and execution? I have done a bunch, but clearly would have a lot more to do in a very short period of time. I am a super organized person---some might say anal but, ahem, my husband the peanut gallery can shut it! ;)

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this, and perhaps what you wish someone had asked you to think about when planning your first solo swims in this way.

Also, does anyone know how to reach Jeff Cooperman? We talked in St. Croix about his St. John swim and I'd love to pick his brain again.

Thanks everyone!! :)



  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member

    I guess it really depends upon where? My Issyk Kul swim took a lot of pre-planning, like 10 months or so, but lots of that was educating the Kyrgyz boat pilots what marathon swimming was, assuring them I'm serious, then when they fell out, finding another boat and starting all over. Sounds like you've got all that taken care of.

    June? I guess that would be plenty of time if you don't have to worry about getting visas, finding the crew, etc. If you're organized, the planning and execution shouldn't be a problem.

    As for what I wish someone had asked me, I didn't have many concerns with that. My first failed attempt was purely my fault, due to lack of conditioning, cold-water acclimatization, and lack of flexibility in the date of the crossing. Everything else fell into place perfectly. Now that I'm thinking about it, that is probably because I handed off a great deal of the logistics to my crew chief, who is a retired Army special forces medic & boy scout leader, and is one of the most organized people I know. I really had little to worry about except swimming.

    Wish I could help more. Good luck and look forward to reading about your swim!

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    Assuming you aren't including training in this timeline, I like to give myself at least 3 months to pull a plan together if I think I already know how all the pieces fit. 4 months if I don't.


    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • I think you should go for it and take me as your crew!

  • SydneDSydneD Senior Member

    @IronMike Yours sounds infinitely more complicated than mine!! I don't have any of those issues, thankfully!!

    @malinaka Ah yes--the training is already underway. The biggest issue is probably the $$ piece since I have yet to find that elusive swim benefactor. Where are they hiding?!?!? I've done some of the pre-planning so I think I could pull it together. Still trying to piece together all of the observer pieces, etc. Thanks for your feedback.

    @slknight I would love that so very much!

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