How do people from tropical countries train for channel swimming?

miklcctmiklcct Kowloon, Hong KongMember

I am reading through the list of English channel swimmers, and I am surprised that there are none from my country in the list (even I am located by the coast, have an active OW group, and have met a channel swimmer personally, maybe because they are expats and swim for their own countries instead). However, even tropical countries with smaller population than mine (e.g. Singapore) has produced channel swimmers.

I'm curious how do people there train for channel swimming when the sea there is hot year round?



  • WaterloggedWaterlogged United StatesMember

    I have no direct tropical experience with this; however, I do have to deal with workarounds in some respects and can hypothesize on how it could be done. First, though they don't have cold water they do have easy access to open water seas and can train their form and work towards progressively overloading intensity and volume of training in open water conditions. Then, having the aerobic fitness base, they need to find a way to acclimatize to cold water conditions. Though also not ideal, this can be done two ways: 1) they can spend a few months before their swim in Dover, training in the sea with a group of swimmers from that area that is specifically focussed on Channel and other open water swim training []. Because I am a working mom in a moderate climate, most of the year I have to travel to cold water (minus January-March possibly) so I have decided to set up a soft-sided rehab pool (Fitmax Portable Therapy Pool) with a tether (swim in one place) in my garage and I have access to an ice machine to adjust temps I can acclimatize to cold water swimming that way (I can get to the ocean on weekends and have access to a lake as well). So there are other stay-at-home avenues...the Dover stay is ideal.

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    Some of them might be swimmers from tropical countries, but maybe they live where they can get cold water swimming. Students, expats, etc. Just a guess.

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • WaterloggedWaterlogged United StatesMember

    @IronMike said:
    Some of them might be swimmers from tropical countries, but maybe they live where they can get cold water swimming. Students, expats, etc. Just a guess.

    That would be the best way to do it! It is tough to get to cool/cold (opinion-dependent) open water, the workarounds are not the same, but if the training volume/intensity and biomechanical efficiency are there you can at least get by (though would likely be difficult to be out in front setting records- luckily not the main motivation for most).

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    I’m originally from South Florida where the ocean rarely got under 70 degrees. Before my Channel swim in 2001 I did four training trips to cold water locations to get acclimated. Two weeks out of England I swam two 15K swims in 50 degree water. It was tough, but the Channel at 60 was much easier.

    I had a solid week in England before my swim to acclimate to the local conditions.

    It was enough for me to be successful and the cold wasn’t an issue.

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