Swimming the Thames – Daily Diary Entry – Day 06

BLOG POST – DAY 06 – 18.13.2016

Started: 10:05
Finished: 17:00 ish
Swimming Time: Not sure… 
Daily Distance: 13km – 520 Lengths
Total Distance: 79.25km – 3150 Lengths

Day 06 – Clifton Bridge to Wallingford

Oh my flipping hell!! Today was the hardest yet. Stopped earlier than planned as there’s a physio here in Wallingford, and it felt like the right decision. Huge huge huge thanks for Dave who came down and swam with me, I’m not sure I could have done it without you buddy, you really pulled me along. It was his longest ever swim also – he is swimming Lake Windemere in 3 weeks time – A Swim to Remember. And for Dave who stood on the bank and cheered me on with Orryn.. And to Dave who kayaked with me… Lots of Daves today. Not forgetting Josh and my dad, thanks for all the support today and throughout, I wouldn’t be able to do it without you.

I changed my routine up a bit today to work different muscle groups. This is because my muscles are tired in specific front crawl places, because of this my breaststroke is now the same speed. This was my routine today.

30mins front crawl
– 5mins food break
15mins breast stroke
15 front crawl
– 5min break
5min backstroke
10mins breaststroke
15 mins crawl…

Then repeat.

I wasn’t feeling right for the second portion of the day, feeling bit sickly.. I thought the illness feeling was just a sign of physical exhaustion. After finishing the day I couldn’t get anything down, which is unlike me. And, also I wasn’t able to really eat much on the last hour of the swim.

I was just waiting in the pub with Kayaker Dave and as we left I had to sprint back to the toilets and just made it to the loo where I preceded to chuck up my guts. Oh man, I feel so much better for it now… Is it full blown Thames Tummy or will it go? Will just play it by ear and see. Fingers crossed this is the worst of it. Still feeling good an hour or so after, will see how the food sits once I’m back.

Other than that feeling (relatively) good – I’m a 6 out of 10 I’d say (we’ve been using this number system to quickly relay how things are going to Josh – 10 being on top of the world and 1 being almost dead. Relieved I’ve got day 6 under the belt. Woo! Now time for food and sleep.

Swimming the Thames – Daily Diary Entry – Day 05

BLOG POST – DAY 05 – 17.13.2016

Started: 11:00
Finished: 19:50
Swimming Time: 6.5hrs
Daily Distance: 15.5km – 620 Lengths
Total distance: 66.25km – 2650 Lengths

Day 05 DONE! Sandford Lock to Clifton Bridge

I felt like a train had run over my back this morning, and putting the wetsuit on felt like it was literally piecing me back together.
Woke up late as my phone turned off in the night, so started late and it was a bloody long day. I felt like an old car. Struggled to get going, but once going was doing pretty well.. First three hours flew by. Here onwards it got tougher and the engine, although good was spluttering somewhat. I stuck it out and swam for 6.5 hours, I was much slower than yesterday and really feeling the 17km from the day before too. Finished at Clifton lock at 7.50, right at the campsite.
Our routine is getting slicker, but it still a long day. And after things are set up for the next day, we’ve eaten and showered etc we are basically in bed and ready for the next day… On that note, I’m off to sleep.

Thanks for all the support 🙂 we got some free sweets and loads of donations today from the riverbank.

Swimming the Thames – Daily Diary Entry – Day 04

BLOG POST – DAY 04 – 16.13.2016

Started: 09:45
Finished: 19:05
Swimming Time: Just over 6hrs
Daily Distance: 17.25km – 690 Lengths
Total distance: 50.25km – 2010 Lengths

Day 04 – Just gone Pink Hill Lock to Sandford Lock

A long old day. The longest I have ever swam. I’m shattered and about to sleep, so in a nutshell. – David helped out kayaking today, so 2 people on the water. – Lots of breaks as saw my mum, my auntie and cousins, 2 swimmers – katia and Craig, and friends. It was amazing to see everyone, and they did an amazing effort at rattling the donation tins on the bank and raising some money. – Swimming felt good, very achy afterwards. – Swam through Oxford, first major city. – The river is huge now. Like proper wide. I feel tiny in it… Only going to get bigger.
Thanks for all the support and sorry if I haven’t replied to messages. David, I will let you know tomorrow where we finish so you can plan where to meet us 🙂


Swimming the Thames – Daily Diary Entry – Day 03

BLOG POST – DAY 03 – 15.13.2016

Started: 10:15
Finished: 18:15
Swimming Time: 5.5hrs
Daily Distance: 15km – 600 Lengths of a 25m Pool
Total distance: 33km – 1320 Lengths

09:02 AM – Day 03 is about to begin. Just driving over now. Starting from tenfoot bridge.. aptly named. No road access, so will paddle there from the trout at tadpole bridge and jump out at tenfold bridge to start the day. First long day of many at 17km.

Couple of pics from yesterday. Bottom left is my food for today… Around 6,800 calories made up of 14 High 5 energy gels, 14 bananas and 14 Meridian Foods nut bars. Seems like a ridiculous amount… But am burning around 7000 calories swimming, so almost hitting it. Finding what works today and will adjust.

Slight shoulder ache today, but the sun is shining and the weather is sweet so let’s get on with it. 🏊🏊

23:14 PM – Day 03 – Tenfoot Bridge to Just gone Pink Hill Lock

First longer day at just over 15km. My longest ever swim! We kayaked from The Trout pub to tenfoot bridge, to start where we finished the day before (as there was no road access). It felt wrong being in the kayak, and my legs ached after the 20 minute paddle.

It was another scorcher of a day, and I’m developing one of the worst tan lines. The river is growing, in width and depth, and now all I see through my goggles is green abyss. With each breath I see glimpses of the changing surroundings, bushes and reeds, trees, occasional birds, blues skies and a white bright sun, beautiful houses, stone bridges, boats, people sat outside the pub. It’s quite an isolated world, and as today I had my ear plugs this was emphasized. This definitely helps with getting into a good rhythm though, it’s quite easy to switch off.

My stroke felt pretty good all day, I’ve been experimenting with some different leg kick options and this seems to be helping hugely, taking the strain off my arms.

We kept to the same routine food-wise, and stopped every 30 mins. Josh disinfectant my lips with alcohol gel (glamrous I know – not sure he knew what he signed up for), then I’d swill my mouth out with water to get rid of any nasties. We are trying our best to reduce the risk of me getting Thames tummy. After being sterilised I’d eat an energy gel, a banana and a nut bar. These breaks have been taking around 4-5 minutes, much longer than the suggested 15 seconds. But the water is so warm, there is no need to keep it fast, and it gives me a good break between swims. We hit the food just about right and felt like I still had some reserves in the tank.

After each hour I do 5mins of backstroke to work the muscles the opposite way.

Overall a good, but tiring day. Our after swim/kayak routine is getting better, but still needs some work.. after a long day mine and Josh’s brain function is definitely questionable which slows things down

Getting into bed now and entering Oxford tomorrow. I’ll be getting in between 1 – 3, so keep an eye out 🙂


Swimming the Thames – Daily Diary Entry – Day 02

Thames Day 02_0004_IMG_4702.JPGBLOG POST – DAY 02 – 14.13.2016

(Written by my Kayaker – Josh)

Day two of #thamesswim2016 has gone well! Chris swam another 10km, from Grafton Lock to Tenfoot Bridge, along with other swimmers Dave and Jim, and the paddlers, myself and Gareth. Tomorrow is the first big one, so we’re recuperating and rejuvenating with a good honest pub meal to finish the day. Wish us luck for tomorrow, and don’t forget to donate if you can!


Swimming the Thames – Daily Diary Entry – Day 01

I have recently completed a 137 mile swim down the Thames from Lechlade to Putney Bridge. As I was unable to post regularly here on wordpress I chose to write my daily blog posts on facebook during the trip. I will do a full write up of the experience in the coming days, but thought it would be nice to put these daily posts up.

I did the swim to raise £5000 for Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Helen and Douglas House – please consider donating – https://www.justgiving.com/teams/ThamesSwim2016.

BLOG POST – DAY 01 – 13.13.2016

9:00 AM – And I am bloody off! The last 6 months have flown by, but at 9am today I started swimming the River Thames towards London.
I feel as prepared as I can, but in all honesty sometimes you just have to jump in at the deep end (or shallow end in this case) and just give it a go.
Will I make it? Who knows, but I will give it my absolute all.
If you want to join me for a section – walking, swimming or kayaking, then take a look at the route and the live tracker below. Hopefully I will be on schedule, but check for updates.

Continue reading

Support Thames Swim by Pledging Your Status in Advance on Thunderclap

I have recently put my swim on Thunderclap and was wondering whether anyone who reads this could sign it?

You might be wondering what Thunderclap is? (and rightly so) It is a new website that allows people to pledge a facebook or twitter status in advance, releasing them all on a specific date. Think of it as a flashmob on social media, which creates a buzz about an event.

In my case, I have set one up for my upcoming swim. All you need to do is follow the link and choose either “Support with Twitter” or “Support with Facebook” – Or both. It takes 5 seconds.

Once you have done this your status is “pledged”, and will get released on the date I start the swim (13th August), alongside all the others who’ve pledged. 100 or more people need to back the project for it to be successful, I am currently on 34.

Oh, and tell a friend if you want. Thanks so much in advance 🙂


What Scares Me About Swimming the Thames


Scaring myself seems to be a large part of why I undertake physical endurance challenges. The Thames Swim is my third large endurance challenge, and just like the others, the same fears are present.

Currently the fears are not that omnipresent in my conscious mind, they just pop in occasionally to say hello. But when they do, rather than running away from them, it makes sense to approach them head on and use them as fuel for the fire, to encourage me to keep going. After all, if I had listened to them I wouldn’t have even attempted it.

In no particular order my fears for the swim are:

  • Will I make it?
  • Will I get injured?
  • Will the injury stop me from completing the challenge?
  • Am I training to hard?
  • Am I training enough?
  • Should I stretch more?
  • Am I eating enough?
  • Will enough be raised for charity?
  • Will I be able to organise it successfully?
  • Will I have enough money to do it?
  • Will I be able to cope with being in the water for 6 – 8 hours a day?
  • Will I get seriously ill from the dirty water?
  • Will I make it in 2 weeks?

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Swimming Progress – Time to Get Outdoors

Putney Bridge

For the last three months I have been swimming a lot more than I ever have in my life this far. I swam once a week till I was about 12 years old, and only intermittently from then onwards – like twice a year when on holiday or at the beach.

I could still swim, quite well I thought, but it turns out, I had an awful lot to relearn. But after 3 months of gradual training my stroke and fitness have improved vastly and I feel a lot more fluid in the water. I have been swimming around 3 to 5 times a week, gradually building from 30 – 45 minute sessions to 1hr – 2hr sessions.

There’s a handy gadget at at pool called a swimtag which records your stroke and lengths. My stats so far:

Total Swims: 45

Total Distance: 82km

Average Distance: 1819m

Average Swim Duration: 47m

Continue reading

Swimming Lessons Learnt So Far

IMG-20160303-WA0001I used to think I was quite good at swimming. Turns out I was basically cleaving my way through the pool with the grace and efficiency of a breezeblock.

I only found this out after joining a local club around 7 weeks ago, just after I had started training. After seeing me swim, Kevin, the coach, said something along the lines of:

“We’ve got a lot of work to do here. But to start with, try this…”

And with each new session, he has given me something to focus on for the upcoming week, a change here, an alteration there, sometimes something small, sometimes something big. With each tip I have been amazed at the difference it has made to my swimming. Although there is still lots to learn with each passing week I am feeling more fluid in the water.


Lesson 01: Slow stroke rate, make legs higher in the water, rotate shoulders less when breathing, breath alternate sides with each breath to encourage better form.

Lesson 02: Keep bum and legs higher up in the water, relax feet and legs when kicking.

Lesson 03: Angle head up more in the water.

Lesson 04: Keep head raised more in water, practice touching armpit with thumb during over stroke to encourage better arm form.

Lesson 05: Make elbows higher on the overstroke and glide hands into the water, rotate hand slightly at the start of the pull back, and focus on pulling back till exiting the water.

Lesson 06: Keep legs closer together when kicking.

Lesson 07: Scoop even more with hands at start of the pullback, keep hand perpendicular to body throughout the whole pull back till exiting the water.