Baby It’s Cold Outside: Winter English Channel Training

Winter has arrived. This means our training for the English Channel has had to move inside until the spring. Or at least our swimming has moved inside:

Paul acclimatizes to the cold. Photo by Angelique Duffield

Even though we’re no longer swimming in the lake, we still have to try to stay acclimatized to colder temperatures so that we will be less likely to get hypothermia in the Channel. As can be seen above, Paul has cheekily taken to reading his paper out in the snow. I walk my dog without a jacket and keep my house at a balmy 15 degrees, which means that my dog is now modeling the latest in doggy sweaters on a daily basis. (That’s right, my dog is now wearing more winter clothing than I am. I do see the ridiculousness in this.)

Meanwhile, in the pool, we’re all working on bettering our technique to help prevent injuries and get us moving faster in that cold Channel water. We also just had our first swim meet of the year to test our speed. The Okanagan Masters Swim Club hosted Fright Fest over the Halloween weekend. Part of the tradition of the meet is that the last relay event is done with everyone in costume. This often leads to hilarious results with people’s costumes falling off and creating havoc as they try to swim. Anyone who thinks that swim meets are scary or intensely serious should come watch. It would completely change your perspective.

Look, I know this post seems rather silly. And training for the Channel is serious business. Unprepared swimmers have died attempting the channel. Come January we all have to pass a physical. To prepare, we’re all doing a lot of swimming, and most of us are doing dryland training in the gym as well. But as seriously as we take our training we have to enjoy our moments of silliness and fun along the way. It’s the fun that makes all the hard work worth it.

(Speaking of fun, Paul’s blog about training for the Channel has been nominated for the Best Canadian Sports Blog. It survived the first round of voting to make it to the final round. Please consider clicking on this link and voting for Nothing Great is Easy under the Best Sports Blog category. You don’t have to register or anything. A vote for his blog is a vote for a local guy who’s willing to sit outside in a speedo in winter. That’s worth your click right?)

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