Finding and Choosing a English Channel Booking/Offer

WaterloggedWaterlogged United StatesMember
edited November 18 in Beginner Questions

I am looking for thoughts on taking a mid-late June EC slot for a solo crossing- that time of year seems better suited to relays than solos. I have two offers of slots for neap tide swims June 14-23 (2021). I would rather swim in July or August, even September (but July and August are best professionally). I don't want to wait 3 years to swim (ulterior motive is not impatience but my dad and my biggest fan being around to see this goal I have had since I was 17 and we couldn't pull it off- it has been 32 years in the making).

Options now are: 1) Slot 2 in June 2021; 2) Call back mid-December for 2020 dropouts (I'll do this, but could still end up with a June slot); 3) I put myself on the reserve list for 1 pilot that offered this as an option.; or, 4) Wait for a July or August 2022 slot and be ok with that.

We could be talking about a potential 5-degree swing down for temps in June vs. Aug/Sept, but there aren't any July/August slots at all for the next two years. Though I took a break after my open water season ended in Oct., getting the yardage in (barring injury) is not an issue.



  • abbygirlroseabbygirlrose Chicago, IL (Los Angeles, CA)Member

    One factor that I would certainly take into account if I were making this decision is access to training in open water.

    For example: When I used to live in southern CA, I could swim in reasonably cool open water year round and would be more likely to take a June spot because I would feel I could train for an early season swim. I now live in Chicago and do not have access to training time in Lake Michigan November through May (due to the water being too cold). In my current situation, I would be more hesitant to commit to being "Channel ready" by June.

    This may or may not apply to you and where you live but might be worth considering.

  • @Waterlogged I think this is a really personal question. Do you need those extra five degrees? If the temperature is make-it or break-it, then stick with the later slots. If the temperature doesn't phase you, then go for it!

    Another thing to consider is that there are usually some spots that become available later on in the year from swimmers backing out. I don't have personal experience with this, but I see the messages all the time. If you don't mind a little bit of extra uncertainty, you could keep your eyes open for these too.

  • WaterloggedWaterlogged United StatesMember

    @abbygirlrose and @thelittlemerwookie
    I do have access to open water, but certainly not 59/60-degree temps. and I know ultimately I have to decide what to do (banking on backouts at this point- probably even for 2021 unless I commit monetarily to a June slot).

    Maybe the real questions I should be asking are:
    1) How long is a general guide for water temp acclimatization- It doesn't have to relate specifically to the EC. I have heard the effects of cold water acclimatization can last 7-12 months, but I haven't seen that evidence.

    2) Are workarounds, cold water immersion or therapy pool swimming really good substitutes to open water cold water swims, if you are putting the pool yardage in of course?

    3) Is it even reasonable to pin my hopes on backouts? Does anyone know what the odds are on that? I think I might be doing that at my peril and missing putting a deposit down on a guaranteed spot, be it June or any month.

    I am swimming in open water that is cooling off now, (68 degrees) but wouldn't be swimming (unless in one place) in these conditions from about January to April or so. Practically, I would acclimatize to under 60-degree temps by January, but then I would start swimming in higher temps until April (at the earliest) and wouldn't that just undo my progress?

  • abbygirlroseabbygirlrose Chicago, IL (Los Angeles, CA)Member

    I don't have any data points to answer your questions but can speak from personal experience.

    I swam the channel on August 1st and didn't really start open water training or serious cold acclimatization until late May. I was coming off of a college season and solid pool training but did not have any open water until my semester ended and I returned to CA. I know that some people swear by cold showers, but I honestly found them to be so miserable after a hard training session that I skipped them.

    In terms of warmer water in April hindering your progress, I think it depends how warm. If you have been training at 60 and it goes up to 65/68 probably not, if it goes up to 80 then maybe. One other thing to consider that I think was important for me was arriving in Dover about a week early and training there. By late July, CA ocean temperatures were probably approaching 70 degrees but a week of training in Dover (coupled with an early July trip to SF) helped me regain my ability (and confidence) to swim in the cold water.

    On a separate note, what position # are they offering you in June?

  • WaterloggedWaterlogged United StatesMember

    @abbygirlrose that does help. I think I can get to temps in the mid-60s for a good part of the year, but finding low 60s or below 60s I would find very difficult. A good point would be that I can spend some of May and June (up to my swim in Dover...I think) so that should make it acceptable.
    The are offering a #2 slot in June btw.

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