Friday, 30 September 2011

What a SWIM !!

It's Ian here, the folically challenged one of the pair.........

Having spent months training alongside some of the Lovelies, time alongside the girls on the vessels, I have to say WHAT A TEAM!
It's not often I feel genuinely emotional but seeing Paula climb out of the ladder on Ryde Pier was a momnent that genuinely moved me, ok I was probably suffering from a little sleep deprivation, but it was the end of an epic and eventful journey.

All the girls dug deep, deeper than I think they realised they could and hit every waypoint on or ahead of time, that combined with Henry's superb tidal calculations were the cement to keep the whole plan together.
On that note, as a (allegedely) professional mariner, I would like to single out Henry, the Pilot, Owner and driving force behind Marine Matters, for particular praise. His navigational calculations based on a particularly tricky area of water, was absolutely perfect. Tidal predictions are just that, predictions, but Henry interpreted them with amazing accuracy, and using his own judgement to sneak into shallower or deeper water as needed to pick up the best tidal stream. Mate............. Respect! I truly hope to work with him and Alex, again in the future, thanks for making it smooth sailing, literally.

Ian Muir, what can I say? Its been too many years since I have seen him, in fact he has known me over 35 years. He may be older, but he still has incredible energy and zeal, and was superb as Observer, Coxswain, dogsbody, whatever. He was constantly on hand to help the girls, talk them through their individual swims and offer an encouraging word when needed. What a brilliant and inspired choice.

Finally, and definitely not least, I have to say the girls were outstanding, each and every one of them, but I would like to take this opportunity to single Kathy out. Seeing your big sister (10years older, just to clarify!) be a part of something so incredible was inspiring, I dont think there is a prouder sibling in the world right now!

Girls, well done, you pulled it off, and, no ego trip intended but you had the right team behind you and rooting for you.

Thats it, thats me signing off, looking to the next challenge, but this one ladies and gents, is mine

Ian x

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Well done The Lovelies!

Becky here -

Well, what can I say except a huge congratulations to each and every one of us for completing this mammoth challenge. We could not have done it without our absolutely fantastic support crew who encouraged us every step (stroke!) of tne way. Without them the swim could not have taken place.

There were moments of highs and lows like every challenge but most importantly WE MADE IT!! No one can ever change the fact that 1) we are the 1st all ladies team to complete the swim and 2) we have set the first ladies record.
We did at one point think we might be on target for the existing mixed team record but having completed the challenge I think it's safe to say none of us are remotely disappointed that we didn't beat that. Completing the swim is monumental in itself.

All the lovelies, including the honorary ones, survived on just a few hours sleep.

Having caught up on at least a few hours sleep I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of the swim. I didn't have a great 2nd swim but just had to dig deep and keep going. I swear someone had turned the thermostat on the sea down by at least 10 degrees when I was doing my 2nd stint. It was freeeeeezing!!! By swim 3 I was back on my game and had a good swim - the sun was up and wow, what a glorious day it was. The person controlling that thermostat had been kind and turned the temperature back up.

Everybody had some cracking swims and between us all we had eventually pulled an hour ahead of schedule meaning that we all dud 3 swims with Paula (6th swimmer in the team) finishing us at an absolutely fantastic time of

17h 50m 50s

Woohoo, no one can ever take that away fromm us. We have set the benchmark fir others to challenge.

A massive thank you to Kathy for all her hard work in organising this swim and thank you to each and very one of the lovelies for making it such a cracking day. We couldn't have done it without one another. And let's not forget our tremendous crew who kept us in high spirits at those tough times. Thank you, all of you.

Becky (number 3 - well, not anymore!)



From Kathy

Yes we completed the swim 17hrs 50mins and 50 seconds, interview on Meridian tonight.
Massive thank you to Henry, Alex, Ian and Ian.


Well done!!!!

Going backwards

No4- Rachael here, I've just got out of my 3rd swim. Having jumped off the back of the boat and started swimming, Henry stopped me and told me that I was going backwards, he told me to go as close to shore as I could get, to avoid the tides so that's exactly what I did. I can honestly I've never kicked or pulled so hard in my life. As I got closer to the pier I could see the Meridian News film crew filming me off the pier, not wanting to dis-appoint them I upped the gear! Then the Henry and the rib went and picked up Lucy so she could be interviewed by Meridian News South, so tune in if your interested! If they show someone swimming in a union jack hat and sparkly swimming costume then thats me!!
Question....How is it that everyone else gets out looking glam and I have a massive mud beard?!
My reward for my swim was a delicious cheese and ham sandwich, a packet of crisps and a coffee and let me tell you it all tasted amazing!!
Kathy's in the water now and we've only got a couple of miles to go but we're still against the tide so it's a blooming tough swim....The last IOW relay that was completed,was in 2002, which was a mixed team. We are going to be the 1st EVER EVER EVER female team to complete this swim!!!
Just want to say a big hello to anyone that's taking time out to read this blog  x x


Hello.  What a lovely surprise to receive your message.  Thank you very much.

We are doing extremely well and hope to be finished within the next 3 hours. I'm going in for my splash again at 2.20pm. All the ladies have tried very, very hard.  Unfortunately we will not gain the record for the fastest relay around the Isle of Wight but, all being well, we should set the record for being the first all ladies team to every make is around the island.

In answer to your wonderful array of questions:-

The most exciting thing we saw was two seals playing in the water.  I tried to have a closer look by looking through the binoculars.  It wasn't until I said I couldn't see anything that the boat pilot told me I'd forgotten to take the lense caps off!!!  Silly me!!!

As for the Pot Noodle - it was Chow Mein flavour.  Unfortunately, it was not very nice so I threw it over the side for the fish to eat.  Of course I put the container in the bin!!!

We are very close to the shore at the moment and people have been waving at us.  The shore is about the length of your playground away.

There is a video on board but I try to hide when it comes out.  One of our ladies has just been interviewed by Meridian news to hopefully we may be on the TV later.  We've already been on the local radio station.

Thank you so much for following our progress. 

Lots of Love from Callum's mum (Paula) xxxxx

Love you Callum xxxxx


Please reply to callum.

From Year 3

To Liam's mum!
We have been following your journey here at Leybourne School. Hope you are getting on okay and nearly there now. We cannot wait to hear all about it when you get back. We are worried about your bottom! Hope your jelly fish sting gets better soon.
Good luck and well done!
Love Year 3.

Almost there

Sadly I have to go to work & this is their last position taken a few mins ago (12:30pm). They can't be further than about 8 miles away now......fantastic effort ladies you have done an incredible job & should be justly proud of what I'm sure you'll achieve by 2pm at the latest xx

Watch out for the Icebergs, sharks & whales on your last little bit!!

Lucky Lucy Avoids the Stingers!

After reports from Paula that she got stung 3x, including on her derrier, I was getting slightly more aprehensive about getting back in. Paula says to me "Pull your finger out and get on with it, you're not a soft southern jessie anymore!"  So not wanting to let the hardy Northern spirit down, I plunge in, and what a difference swimming in daylight makes.No longer did I fel that I was swimming round in circles  in the dark, with the sea feeling like a washing machine. I've now just completed my 3rd swim and no stings, must be that special bright red anti-jellyfish costume I wore, worth every penny!

The team are going well and so far with all the pill, patches, potions and anything else anti-sickness the Lovelies can get their hands on, we have all managed to eat and not get ill. What a difference, although I've strickly kept to eating porage and bagels to keep me going, with the odd couple of packets of jaffa cakes thrown in. Some of the others, Who shall remain nameless, have dared to eat stinky pot noodles in front of me!

Whislt I was doing my 3rd swim the remaining lovelies, in my absence, have volunteered me to do a tv interview. That's friends for you............ Of course had i known I would have brought my hairbrush. Kathy says, " have I got my makeup on?" Erh don't actually own any........

Although we are going well, we have slipped behind record pace, but still hope to set a good time for he first ever women's team to complete the challenge. With some great route and tide plotting by our great Pilot Henry of Marine Matters, we have all been thrilled to have such a gret crew supporting us. Thanks to the two Ians, Henry and Alex, who have coped well being stuck on a small boat with 6 mad women!

Just to finish off - hi to my kids: Hamish, Morag and Campbell and hubby Morgan.  Missing you loads!

Bye for now,

Lucy x

Hi to all

Hi from Kathy, firstly good morning to Steve, Gareth and Dana who have put up with so much this summer with my heavy training schedule,but guys it has nearly paid off and Thank you. I am so proud of the team they have swam so hard through the night into the early hours and Henry our Pilot, Alex his deputy, Ian the observer and Ian the additional helm and observer have been truly amazing.
We have seen seals in our travel Jelly Fish have had a bit of a feast off Paula and myself but it's worth it as we are going to be the First Ladies Team to complete this mammoth task.

I entered the water at 0720 with the sun rising and swimming in what I can only describe as a washing machine, head down I just went for it, one stage the RIB was in a trough and I was looking down onto the deck - scary but enjoyable. Meridian TV have asked for a swimmer to be taken ashore for a TV interview - at last people are taking us seriously.

Bye for now Love, Mum and Kathy xx


Number 6 reporting in (Paula).  Wow, what an amazing swim.  I swam from 8.20 am to 9.20 am and at some points the swells and waves got pretty big.  Give me big waves over dead calm anyday.  It's so much fun.  Mouthfuls if sea water on a bright sunny morning - what a way to kick-start the day!  Note to self:- don't wear the blue swim costume next time unless you want more skin burns all the way up your neck!!!!!

Lots of Love to everyone at home, Jason, my boys and all my family and friends. 

A message for Callum and Liam - Mummy got stung by a jelly fish - on her BOTTOM!!!!!!!

Hello to all at Leybourne School.

I'm just going to enjoy a pot noodle, down some more sea sickness tablets and then settle down for a few hours sleep.

With Love 

Paula xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Choppier waters

No 4 here again. I've now had my 2nd swim, although it was much choppier than my 1st swim the sun was coming up which gave me just the boost I needed. As well as that I swam between 0620 and 0720 which would have been the time that my lovely son Oliver would have been getting up for school, so all I could think about was him padding him my room and saying " Morning Mummy, I love you too much", now that was a real boost.
Henry, our wonderful pilot has been updating us on our progress and I think it's fair to say we're a strong bunch of ladies who have amazing team spirit.
Just a quick love you to my Mum who's told me that she's been up most of the night keeping an eye on where we are, it's lovely thinking people are thinking of us.
To anyones who's thinking of doing some extreme swimmimg I recommend Cheese and Ham tiger rolls as fuel!
3rd swim is at mid-day, in the sunshine which mean one or two extra freckles for me!!!!

Flying is an understatement!!

I couldn't believe it when I logged on to see where they where at 9:37am.  They must have all had 3 shreaded wheat & spinch??!! 

This rate, they'll be back at Ryde before the pubs open!!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A pot noodle reward

I've had my 1st swim 0020-0120.....The 1st half an hour was fab whilst I was imagining A) that I was a dolphine swimming next tothe rib B) that I was racing the rib and c) that I was Rebecca Addlington doing the 800m.............Weird? Yes, but whatever gets me through the hour!! I was also massively thanking the person that told me to eat, eat, eat over the last few days!!
At one point I was sure the rib was just navigating me round in circles, never one to interfere I trusted their judgement and boy am I glad I did, as with a following tide I did 5.2 miles.
Thanks loads to our observer Ian who treated the cramp I managed to get in both legs
I had a celebratory Chicken and Mushroom Pot Noodle, wrapped myself up in a sleeping bag and had a kip on the sofa!!
The time is 0536, Becky's in the water and my next swim starts at 0620! I'm off to get ready and hoping that at some point during our swim it'll get light.It's blooming dark as there's no moon tonight.....I feel a bit conned as I thought there was a moon every night!!! xxx

Through the needles

Yay I had the pleasure of swiming through the needles. However in truth I didn't realise that I'd actually gone through as I was too busy focusing on staying next to the rib in the waves/ chop! I'm eating a pot noodles to celebrate my second swim then I'm off to get some sleep. The water became more 'lumpy' around the needles and on this stretch now as we head towards st Catherines point and we're on the foul tide/ slack tide now so aren't getting any assistance but we'reall in good spirits, all are swimming well the night sky is beautiful and we can rest knowing that we are on target at the mo
Liane (Number 1)

Current position

At 4.55am the lovelies are flying & are now on the SW leg down towards Blackgang Chine!!


It's now 4.34am.  The conditions are fabulous and the team are happy.  My swim went off at 2.20am. 

After a briefing from the pilot half an hour before I got in it looked like I was going to get to swim through the Needles.  Then, standing in my costume ready to get in I was told that due to our current position I just may not make it to the Needles.  Unfortunately, I finished my hour almost within touching distance but had I not known better I'd have thought Kathy paid them to tell me I just might make it through coz I swam like a bat out of hell to try and get there!!!!  Probably the best I've swum in years.  So although I didn't make it through I'm a very happy girl.  

It's pitch black out there and when you are swimming you cannot distinguish the water from the sky.  There are a gazillion stars in the sky and it's just amazing.  Loving it, loving it, loving it.

Going to get some sleep now and I'm hoping that I'm not going going to re-visit the satay noodles that I've just eaten!!!

Love No 6 - Paula xxxxx

The Team Prior to the Start


Second attempt at getting this online! The team are swimming really well and currently ahead of our target times. Rachael did a cracking swim and pushed us ahead, it appears I had a good tide so wizzed along. I enjoyed my swim it was made even more special by Ian (brother) being on the helm and my friend of many years Ian Muir observing. The sky is clear with lots of stars and the water is calm.
I got out doing an impression of the bearded lady, not a pretty sight at 0220.

Huge thank you to Janet and Steve Gifford of the City of Rochester Swimming Club for seeing us off at the start.

All is well on the Dark Angel.

Kathy number 5 xx

Second change over

Just to update anyone following us, Myself and Lucy Donnelly have now swum and the third swimmer Becky Hedges is in the water as we speak. The water temp is 14 degrees and the boat pilot says we are on target so far-  so all is good. Swimmers 5 and 6 Kathy and Paula are getting some rest before swimming and I'm just about to join them having eaten a mug of pasta/ soup. Lucy is now dressed and nunching her ready Brek porridge!!  We have an awesome team and are going to give it are all- lets go for it

Liane (Number1)

The lovelies are off!!

As Rachael has just said the lovelies are now underway for their jaunt around the IoW & this is there latest position at 21:03

We're on our way!!

Hello everyone its Rachael here also known for the duration of this epic swim as No 4.
Right let me start by telling you we're on our way,our first swimmer Liane is gliding through the water like a speedy dolphin. She was very brave jumping into the dark cold water from the steps of the pier!

Henry, our pilot gave us a brilliant briefing and I was left in no doubt with what would be happening throughout the swim.However Henry told us that we would be going for a gentle trip to Ryde pier where the swim would be starting. What started off as gentle, soon became a 22 knot ( 30 mph ) speed boat ride. Now for those of you that know me, know that I was clinging onto the sides of my chair for dear life with a look of utter fear on my face, whilst evryone else was smiling around me!!
Had a minor glitch earlier after flushing what I thought was the toilet but switching on the shower instead and getting wet.......Funnily enough Paula did the same thing about 20 minutes later!!
I'm going now to watch Liane who is but a small flashing light in the sea of darkness andmaybe eat a snickers, well I have to get some energy somehow!
Love to all xx


At long last, after months and months of preparation we are finally here! We've had our safety briefing from the lovely Henry, our pilot and we will be leaving the safety net of the harbour in about 10 minutes.   We've only upset our pilot once so far - when Rachel piped up "I thought you was going to be about 60" (he's the grand old age of 41)!

We've spent a wonderful afteroon sitting on the back of the boat drinking tea and even discussed the possibility of not actually doing the swim but, instead, spend the night on the boat, drinking Pims and making up the blog without even leaving the Harbour!!!!

Thank you to all at home, family and friends, for your continued support.  Even the people on the boat moored next to us came to give us a bottle of champagne for when we finish!  How cool!!!

With Love - Swimmer No 6 (Paula) xxxxx

Thank you Tesco Store

The team would like to say a huge thank you to Tesco Stores, Hamble Lane, Bursledon SO31 8GN for their generous donation in paying for the food and drink we will consume on our swim.
We popped into the store on route to get our rations and very cheekily asked if they would sponsor us in this respect.

The journey south begins

Well all the training & preperation are now behind 'the lovelies' & they are currently heading south towards the IoW & I am hoping (GPS signal permitting) to be able to update you all with their progress over the next day or so for their epic challenge.

With the power of modern technology I will post an update of where Becky's phone is & hopefully the swimmers will be nearby!!  This is dependant on her phone recieveing a signal so ladies don't swim too far away from the shore!!

Good luck to you all


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Doing the important pre swim things!

I think we're aptly named as The Lovelies - the reason being that the night before we are due to set off four of us are doing some final important preparation.
If you're wondering what this could possibly be it includes two of us painting our nails, one of us stuffing our face with food and one of us shaving our legs!
It's all important in order for us to complete this swim!!!

Only an all ladies team would prepare this way!

Last training swim @ Holborough Lake

Well, that's it now - no more swimming until tomorrow night at 11.20pm for me.  I have done my last training swim today, just a gentle 4 laps (1600m) at Holborough Lake with our honorary Lovely and fantastically supportive training partner, Ian.
The next time I get in the water will be as swimmer number 3 and it will be somewhere on the North West Coast of the Isle of Wight!
Liane and Lucy will be in at 9.20pm and 10.20pm respectively and I'll take over from Lucy.

We are definitely starting at 2120 from Ryde Pier but will be on the boat ready to leave Southampton at 1900hrs for a safety briefing and talk about the take overs and the course.

We're all packed and ready to go and despite taking 3 cars I think Paula's suggestion of 3 buses might be more appropriate! 

I mean, how much stuff do we need for a little jaunt round a small island.............


Meet Ian Muir - Our Observer

The team is indebted to Ian Muir giving us his time to observe on our epic swim. Ian is no stranger when it comes to anything associated with the water. He has swam the English Channel solo in 1980, 1981 and 1983, he was the RLSS National Lifesaving Champion in 1975 and 1976, he was a keen water polo player, PADI Diver, windsurfer and represented the National Fire Brigade team in several overseas events.

Ian has the responsibility to ensure we accomplish the swim in accordance with the rule book and has been appointed by the BLDSA to fulfill this task.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Meet Paula Foreman - Team Member

I swam at Gravesend & Northfleet S.C from the ages of around 7 to 16 and was a National qualifier at the age of 11
I became school swim Captain and I then swam at Dartford S.C from the age of 16 to 25, I became the Club Captain at Dartford Swimming Club for 2 years.
I am a ASA Teacher and Assistant Coach Qualified and I decided at the about the age of 23 to take up open water swimming and gradually built up from 2-3 miles to a Channel swim from England to France in 1992.  Having decided that I felt I had ‘more in the tank’ at the end of the single crossing – I then went on to swim the double-Channel in 1993 in the time of 22 hours and 11 minutes – my greatest achievement to date.
I can’t wait for our Isle of Wight challenge and with the tides and weather on our side I believe we have the right girls to make our dream a reality.  Bring it on!!!!!

Another change!

Hi Lovelies + Ian

I think you know by now that sadly I will not be able to be with you to share your success this week. But I'll be there in spirit and following your progress by whatever means possible.

My left arm has been strapped on to a support box for nearly seven weeks now after surgery on my shoulder. The box was supposed to come off after four weeks, then it was six weeks. This past weekend I was finally given the go ahead to take it off for short periods. I went to see the physio today and it was impressed on me that I must have my arm strapped on to the support box for another two weeks when out and about , in case my arm gets bumped. I must also be careful not to put it under any pressure or stress. It's actually quite difficult to move my arm at all without considerable pain. Under the circumstances, I'd be a liability on the boat.

But you are the important ones and there to provide support in my place you will have Ian Muir who I've known for more than 30 years. He and I once competed in a race in Belgium to see who could swim the furthest in 24 hours in a 50 metre pool. I was fourth with 42miles. He was third with I don't know how many miles. He's as obsessive about pushing to the limit as I am.

Good luck with the swim. Break the speed record if you can. Keep swimming if you can't. You will still set the record as the first ladies team to go round. Unlike the Channel where the tides and timings are well known, this is an adventure. You will be setting targets and showing what can be done for others to follow and try to emulate.

Good luck. I wish I was with you.


An email received tonight from The King of the Channel (Kevin Murphy) who was due to join us on our epic adventure. Sadly he will not be joining us as detailed above.
We wish Kevin well with his recovery and thank him for his support with our training and also his assistance with helping make this mammoth task achievable. It's great to have his support. Thank you Kevin.

Holborough Training Session

Messages of support

We have received many messages of support (plus of course the odd negative comment - 'Oh you're only swimming for an hour.......!!'  to which I replied in a suitable manner!!!)

Everyone that matters is wishing us well in our quest to succeed.

One of our comments "....I have the utmost respect for what you are doing and it goes without saying I wish you good tides, warm water, a clear night and hearing all about it when you've set a WORLD RECORD'

How nice is that?

Meet Team Member - Rachael Cretten

I've been swimming for as long as I can remember - having a mum as a Swimming teacher I guess it was inevitable.
I started at Beaver Swimming Club, then at 10 I decided I wanted to get more competitive so I joined Black Lion, did the usual gala's, Medways and Southern Counties.
Back in 2009 my younger sister persuaded me to enter the British Gas Great North Swim - a mile swim in Lake Windermere.I had to admit the choppiness made me feel sick but I loved it. In 2010 I did the Great East, Great North and Great London swim - I'd officially got the bug for outdoor swimming.
I'd always wanted to swim the Channel and following a conversion with Becky at work she spoke to Kathy and the 'Lovelies' Channel Swimming relay team was born.

More good news on the TV front...

I have had some more good news in relation to media coverage.  I received a call today from Marcus at Meridian (Solent area) regarding our story!
He is keen to run the article and has sent something to his editor.  He will call us on Thursday for a progress report in the hope of the article going out on breakfast news...........

How exciting!

From your Cumbrian Correspondent!

I thought it was about time I attempted to add to the team Blog, although I am starting to rapidly lose my grip on technology I have to confess this is my first ever Blog. I'm also struggling to find a suitable picture of myself in a swim cossie in the first instance that I would be happy to be published in such a public domain! So a "holiday" snap from a visit to my brother in Sydney in 2007, me and Hamish taking note of the open water swimming warning before I was due to race...........

My connection with the team, the Leybourne Lovelies Swimming Team, is through lifelong friend Paula TR with whom I swam with for 1000s upon 1000s of  miles up and down various 25m pools from about the age of 8  through to 18 when I managed to escape from Kent! In the 1980s and early 90s (and yes I'm starting to feel old) We were both members of Gravesend and then later Dartford & District Swimming Clubs. It was at Dartford, coached by open water swimmer and triathlete Melanie Evans, that Paula and I and a few hardy others were encouraged in all sorts of open water swimming events. Paula and I loved it, and the worse the sea conditions were the more we got excited about it! Paula, always my hero, went onto swim a solo Channel and then a year later was the 2nd lady ever to be successful in doing a 2 way solo crossing of the Channel.

Roll on 20+ years (husbands [just 1 each! and 5  children between us], Paula and I have still  failed to get swimming "out of our system" & when the Leybourne Lovelies were needing a swimmer for their Channel relay in 2010 I was only too pleased to join the team. Having harped on about getting on and doing the solo Channel myself for 20+ years this was getting me closer to it! (If there's anyone out there who would like to pay for a support boat for me, I'll get on and do it!). Then one of the Lovelies got pregnant and so on board joined  my good pal Hexham Jane, after a quick exchange of texts to saying "do you fancy doing a little bit of swimming in the Channel", she was quick to say Yes. Another one of us happy to say Yes first and then think what I have I just signed up for?

So with the Channel relay successfully done last year, the "What next?" question swiftly came up. Jane and I never seem to learn but the immediate "YES" response to swimming around the Isle of Wight  sounded like a great idea, but had the usual lack of thought before answering. So hence, after a busy year, plus some extended months cold water training in Ullswater, I finally pulled the appropriate page out of the road atlas a couple of weeks ago and thought heck, that looks like quite a long way by car! Fortunately, team captain Kath and chief organiser, Henry the pilot, Kevin (IOW solo swimmer) and Ian have all dedicated their time to working out the complexities of the tides and conditions to help us achieve our goal. Sadly my good pal Jane has had to pull out and I'm going to miss her keeping us all sorted on the boat and gently but firmly coaxing me out of my sleeping bag with a jaffa cake or two........"come on it's your turn soon get up"! In any relay swim all the members of the team have their part to play to help keep everyone going which can be tough at times when you have 1 swimmer in the water, 4 on the boat being sick, and the next swimmer in trying not to look at the others!!. The wait on the boat between swims is often the hardest thing to cope with and your ability to keep food down is a major issue! I smiled as we boarded our Channel swimming boat last year when each of the Lovelies brought a picnic bag (sac) with enough food in them to open our own Tescos. Hmmmmm, just a packet of plain bagels for me.......yes really......Unfortunately, after a goood 1st swim, a few texts sent to report progress & my jam on toast for breakfast and me parted company.... Etiquette dictates you stagger quickly to the opposite side of the boat..... Needless to say getting in a swimming again after 5 hours of being ill is quite a challenge, so sometimes it's not actually about the swimming.

With the sea sickness wiped from memory...... almost, and a visit to BOOTS the chemist for all things anti sickness - pills, patches & bracelets, I shall once again be joining the Lovelies for our next adventure - the Isle of Wight. Long overdue Thanks to my Mum and Dad for ferrying me about to training everyday for the best part of a decade and to my husband, Morgan and our 3 fabs kids Hamish, Morag, and Campbell for their support and not yet thinking Mum, what are you doing now? Thanks also to all my training pals over the years, & especially Hexham Jane, Nic Davies, Stuart Robinson & Vicky Johnston.

My relay swim is dedicated to the memory of 3 family members - my aunt and uncle Jill &  Bernard and my beloved Gramps Wells for whom I'll be trying to raise money for MACMILLAN nurses. And, also to family friends Jo, Paul and Daisy, in memory of their son (& brother to Daisy) Tom, who tragically at just 3 years old died suddenly in April this year of liver failure. For them I'd like to help raise money for Tynedale Community Hospice in Northumberland, which amongst many things helps families cope with bereavement. I would very grateful if you could visit my Just Giving web pages and donate to either of the above charities and I'll be doing my best when things get tough out in the sea around the Isle of Wight this week. Many thanks. Lucy x to support Tynedale Community Hospice to support MACMILLAN nurses

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Dorney Lake - 3.8k pre IoW swim

Becky and our honorary Lovely completed the RNLI Swim series at Dorney Lake today.  A gentle 3.8k swim in an almost tropical 14.5 degrees! Becky had read on the internet that the water temp was 18 degrees so imagine our shock when we got in the water and people wearing wetsuits were saying it was cold.  One man did say to be that I was brave, my reply was 'I think it's called stupid rather than brave!'
Once the initial shock of the water supposedly being 18 and feeling like ice, the claxon sounded and it was go, go, go....
3 laps of battling with a safety boat crossing the course, weeds a plenty and people battering us, it was all over.

Ian had a cracking swim, finishing in 1hr 2mins.  He was 41st overall and 4th male in his group (176 swimmers started the race and 174 finished)

Becky was 79th overall (26th lady overall) in 1hr 12 mins and 5th lady in her age group.

Thankfully when we got out we discovered the water was in fact only 14.5 degrees - all I can say is phew!!  I was thinking that 18 felt very cold and am pleased to say that I'm glad it was colder.

Now, with just three days to go there's just one more gentle training swim to do on Tuesday, then it really is all systems go.......

Meet Liane - A Brief Background

Liane's swimming record is phenomenal and having her as part of the team is fantastic, each of the women bring something different to the team and Liane's is her strength of character, determination, speed and total focus.

Brief Swimming History 

Member of the recent Irish Channel Relay swim
Member of the 12 way Windermere Relay in May 2011
2 Way Channel Solo in 2009
Solo Loch Ness
Solo Loch Lomond
3 Way Channel Relay
President Elect of the BLDSA

Lynn Regis (Kings Lynn) 4.5K Race

The BLDSA held their annual Lynn Regis race which attracts people from all over the country. The day started with glorious sunshine but as soon as we started swimming the sun decided to hide between the clouds and it was a little overcast. The water was approx 14 degrees but to be honest felt warmer, the wind was against you swimming to the first turning buoy but with you on the return journey, at the start and finish was masses of pond weed which scratched you if you swam through it, front crawl was difficult here as you were dragging most of the lake with you!
Although I didn't see it Liane did a cracking swim (according to the spectators), she finished in 2nd place and was waiting on the jetty for me to finish in 3rd place and 1st Veteran.
Can't wait for Wednesday, it just isn't coming around quick enough.


Saturday, 24 September 2011

BBC news coverage

Well finally we've made it to the newsroom!!

Please see the attached article published on the BBC online news site for Hampshire. >

Friday, 23 September 2011

Swimming Positions

I know I've already mentioned the swimming positions but thought I'd better explain a bit more....

We've got our two super speedy swimmers (Liane and Lucy) setting off, with Liane getting us off to a great start before Lucy gets in to take over.  The 3rd and 4th swimmers (Becky and Rachael) also need to be fast (no pressure) as we head down the Solent.
Swimmers 5 and 6 (Kathy and Paula) will be the ones going through a short period of really rough water, including possible whirlpools off St Catherine's Point.
We'll then need full steam ahead to get from St Catherine's to Bembridge before the tide turns.  If we turn at the right turn at Bembridge we'll be on for a record - even less pressure!!!

If, however, we don't get to Bembridge in time, the tide will turn and we'll effectively go backwards for 6 hours and make no progress whatsoever; the swim will then take at least 24 hours.

We must swim in strict order as declared beforehand otherwise it's game over! Oh My God, this is suddenly really scary....


We are all up for this monumental challenge and, more importantly........

 WE CAN DO IT!!!  

At last we are newsworthy!

Just had a call from the BBC South team regarding our epic adventure!  They are going to do an article on The Lovelies - it might be an online article only but it's better than nothing.

I'm waiting to hear from BBC Southeastern and Meridian but watch this space.

There'll also be a before and after article in The Kent Messenger so finally some recognition for this record breaking attempt.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Meet Ian - Safety Cover, Helper, All round Good Guy

We are lucky to have Ian as part of our Support team. Anything to do with the water Ian is at his happiest, from a very young age he was present at many BLDSA swims watching his sisters compete and trying not to fall in from Jetty's, river banks or piers! He has always been good at what ever he has turned his hand to. He has been County and National Lifesaving Champion, represented England and won a Silver medal at the World Lifesaving Champs a few years ago. He qualified as a Commercial diver some 8 years ago and has worked on many interesting jobs and projects. His full time job is now one of the Helms on the Lifeboat at Gravesend.
Since May he has been training with the Ladies in the Holborough Lakes and has been inspirational when help and support was the order of the day.

Why The Isle of Wight?

First of all let me introduce myself as the Oldest Team member in body but not mind! So how did we come up with this challenge?
I have swum in Channel relays since the age of 15 and managed them in every decade of my life including one two way swim and hundreds of individual swims of the seas and lakes throughout the UK. Leading upto to Christmas I was having coffee with Kevin Murphy (32 solos to his name) and said I really wanted to do another first before I was past it and we came up with three possible swims including the Isle of Wight. Kevin is only one of three people who have swum this as a Solo and relays can be counted on one hand. I run the idea past Paula and we decided to pursue this further.
It seems a lifetime ago that Paula, Kevin, Ian and myself met the Pilot and sat and talked of all the options.
So this time next week if the times go to plan and the weather is good to us Becky will be in the water doing her hour stint. Hand on my heart we have the team that can make this happen it is all dependant on the weather.


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

This time next week...

Well, what can I say......

This time next week we'll be on the boat round to Ryde and preparing ourselves to break/ create some records!  We will be the first all ladies team to successfully complete the swim and of course, there's a time related record that can be chased too.......

I can confirm, as of today, that we are setting off at 2120 from Ryde Pier on Wednesday 28th September. Henry has said that this will be a better time to start and if when we get there the conditions aren't great then we can push the start time back to 1am which was the original start time. 

The weather is looking like it's going in our favour too with an almost tropical 20 degrees air temperature predicted - mind you it won't be 20 degrees at midnight or anywhere around there!! 

We've also had some good news on the sponsorship front and Kathy in her determination has managed to secure some water bottles from David Lloyd - you've never known 6 women be so excited over some water bottles!!!

Our swim order has finally been decided too,  a thankless task by Kevin and not made any easier by the eleventh hour changes to the team.  Here goes, we are:

Swimmer 1 - Liane
               2 - Lucy
               3 - Becky
               4 - Rachael
               5 - Kathy
               6 - Paula

Paula is under the impression that as swimmer 6 we'll all be awake and cheering her on as she gets into the water at 0220hrs - we hate to disappoint her but..........

OF COURSE WE WILL...........!!!  

A week of turmoil

Well, it's been a few days of headache for Kathy and a week or so of sheer turmoil for Jane....

We were all sorry to hear that Jane had pulled out of the swim due to personal circumstances, but we will of course keep in touch and wish her well in her future events.

Thank goodness Kathy knows loads of people and within a few days she had secured a replacement lovely.  We are pleased to welcome Liane to our team who is an open water swimming guru, having completed a solo 2-way Channel swim (in 25knot winds!!),  a 12-way Windermere relay and amongst several other amazing achievements was a member of the recent Irish Channel  relay for Cancer Research. 

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Night Swim - Weds 14th Sept

Three of us (Kathy, Paula and Becky) embarked on a night swim on Wednesday at Holborough Lake.  For me, it was the first time I'd swum in the dark in open water and I have to say I was absolutely dreading it!
We arrived at 7.15pm and once we'd fought all the mosquitos off with the luminous green light sticks attached to our bottoms we were ready to go!
In we got and set off to the first buoy and all seemed ok!  Lap one was completed without any problems and no monsters rising from the deep, but then it all went wrong for me on lap 2.....
My imagination started to get the better of me so on the day of the swim I will have to make sure my imagination dial is turned to 'off'
Lap 3 was not so bad until I asked Paula and Kathy if we could swim a fast lap - it was not only dark but chilly too and treading water at every buoy was not keeping me warm!  My suggestion was met with laughter and the fact they were swimming fast - ooops!!
4 1/2 laps later I'd fulfilled my task and that was me done.  Hardcore Kathy and Paula carried on for another couple of laps while I shivered myself warm!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Team & other stuff!!

I have mentioned names on here & I am now pleased to introduce the team to you & to remind you, we are 'The Lovelies'!!

Back L-R: Rachael, Paula, Kathy
Front L-R: Anthea, Jane, Becky, Lucy 

The Course

Traditionally the swim has always started from Ryde Pier, but this would appear to have happened because Kevin had the first successful swim and everyone else followed suit. Henry asked if we were open to starting anywhere else and we said yes, we just wanted the fastest route. With the help of Henry’s friend at the Coastguard he is to use the Man Over Board simulator which can predict a course using the tides and various starting positions. There are a couple of possibilities, stick with the Ryde option, start at the Needles Lighthouse and aim for St Catherine’s Point, turning for Bembridge and continuing back to the Needles. This way may be a little ‘lumpy but we will have six fresh swimmers and the Solent part of the swim will be less ‘Lumpy’ when we are tired and going into our second set of swims. St Catherine’s is also ‘lumpy, so be prepared. Watch this space, the jury is out!!!

We are grateful to Henry who has found us a mother ship, which will follow the swimmer & allow the rest of us to eat & sleep.

We're nearly there!

Well, this crazy idea all began back in January 2011 once we'd done our Channel Relay and had well and truly got the bug.  Only this time we thought we'd go for a record breaking attempt - we don't do anything by halves!

'We' have called ourselves The Lovelies (no laughing) and are made up of Kathy (team captain), Paula, Becky, Rachael, Jane and Lucy and not forgetting our honorary 'Lovelies' Ian and Kevin!

There has only been one successful relay swim round the IoW and that was back in 2000 with a team made up of 4 men and 2 ladies, so when we have finished our swim we will be the first ladies team to have completed it.

The first e-mail was sent by Kathy outlining the route etc and telling us Ian would be a general dogsbody.  How nice to treat your own brother so nicely!!

We got the following info from Kathy and suddenly it all became very real!  She has found a pilot, an ex - marine who had offered for us to have a kayak to escort us through the needles and possible St Catherines Point  - OMG this is all suddenly real and the deposit has been paid, gulp!!

January: Pilot booked, rooms booked and Paula is chief designer for our beachwear! It has been decided (by Paula) that we will wear sparkly shellsuits with sequins emblazened across them, micro skirts for the boat, baywatch babe cozzies and of course jellyfish resistant hats.  As our principle designer Paula will also be sporting the obligatory lippie and nail varnish!

Our qualifying swim at Dover harbour has been set for 3rd July and it seemed like a liftime away but boy, was it looming!  We arranged to meet at 7am when all of this still seemed like a pipe dream.  We considered 2 x 2hr swims or a straight 4hr swim in the cold grey water at Dover where there's a different micro climate to the rest of Kent!

March: Now this was all fast becoming a reality it was time to think of a reserve just in case disaster struck!  Of course our honorary Lovely Ian was considered but it probably wasn't appropriate to expect him to wear a baywatch style cozzie and pretend to be a lady (most of us try and few succeed but this was pushing it a bit too far!)  Anthea came on board but is now sadly unable to join us due to work commitments.

The water is a balmy 7 degrees and the toughies are already in - Kathy, Jane and Lucy and Becky is desperately trying to learn how to wee and swim at the same time - I just can't!

Ian is named not only an honorary Lovely but also a Wetsuit Woosie after joining us for training in yep, a wetsuit!  His excuse was that he has a wetsuit compulsary swim coming up....... mmmmm, not meeting the criteria for a Lovely yet!

Henry, our pilot has made contact and a few of us are concerned that there might not be room on the boat for sick buckets a plenty and bags full of ginger biscuits to quell the nausea.

May:  Well, the training is well under way and our Northern Belles, Jane and Lucy are definitely the hardcore members of the team, training in wind and rain in water that is still only 9 degrees.  They are sporting fleecy trousers, puffa jackets and woolly hats but of course looking gorgeous.

Henry has arranged for us to have a 6.5m RIB with us to escort us through the needles.

Us Southern softies are up to a whopping 40mins in the lake but doing good impressions of smurfs when we get out.  It's a big mind over matter thing this open water swimming lark and we ARE strong enough to do this.

We're desperately trying to figure out how not to be violently sick in, out, or over the boat....  There'll certainly be no texting anyone by me!!

June: Kevin has decided that we will do a 2-1-1 swim at Dover to sort out our swimming order.  A police team attempted this swim last year with eight swimmers and completed it in over 16hours but the swim was not ratified due to changing the order of swimmers.  Another team also attempted it but aborted it after 60hrs.... We certainly don't want that!

I've had a serious wobble about all of this as it seems so massive but thanks to the ever supportive Kathy and Paula I've got it out of my system and I CAN do this - I'm just a wimp in cold water!  I'd better find some puddles to swim in and might even start swimming to work ending up in the delightful Quaggy River in Lewisham!!

Jane has informed us of her method which I might adopt - vertical BR/S then put your chin in, then nose, then eyes andhey presto your face is in.  Now to master the horizontal swimming position......

July: 3rd July was a BAD day...... The least said about it the better.  Let's just say that I had to attend remedial cold water swimming classes with Rachael as we didn't do what was expected at Dover harbour - ooops!

At 10am on 31st July we embarked on Dover Harbour mark 2 and yippee we made it.  A huge thanks to Paula for her hard work and training ideas for us. 

We now have a complete team -
Lucy and we've all conquered Dover and have been training hard ever since.

September: Well, we were due to set off on the first set of tides between 13-15th Sept but because of some technical reason we have been pushed back to 27-30th September. 

The reason was -

I have had a couple of conversations with Henry, the Pilot for the swim these past couple of days. He has been waiting for the accurate Admiralty tidal predictions to be published, which came out on the second of the month. He has spent a couple of days digesting the data contained within, and applying this to the windows for the swim. There are a couple of very pertinent issues arising from that data.

The predictions that the Admiralty publish give a percentage of the tide to be expected. All charts have tidal calculations printed on them which is an average figure, based on the hours preceeding and following high and low water. Hope you are with me so far. The admiralty percentages can be applied to these tidal rates which will give either a below or above tidal prediction. On the first set of dates, the percentage rate varies from 85% to 95%. So for example on a spring tide, the peak rate at the Needles on the chart is say 4.4knots. Apply 85% to that (worse case) and you will have a max of 3.75 knots. Now on the second window the percentage rate is in the region of 130-140% apply this to the same 4.4 knot tide and you get approx 6.1 knots ! Henry has been working the figures onto the chart to work out the advantages that each window offers, and in the case of the second window, 28miles of the swim will be done with a noticible uplift. As regards how much will be done into tide, the course Henry is plotting will make use of back eddys (local currents which run the opposite direction to the tide) so that at worst the swimmer will be going into a 0.2knot tide. it is possible that one swimmer occasionally will only progress 1mile, but the swimmers either side will make increasingly better headway assisted by the tide. the key thing to remember is a difference of 40% between the windows means that you will do a whole lot less swimming on the second and gain a whole lot more advantage, and a 40% better chance of success!!

That is an excerpt from an e mail sent by Ian, I have no idea what it means but hopefully we'll go soon!

Latest is that weather permitting we'll set off at 1am on 29th September and will travel down to Southampton on Weds 28th to our plush accommodation.  We'll be armed with enough clothes to start our own camping shop, enough food to feed a small army though I have to say I won't be going anywhere near any tomato soup, or any other variety come to mention it; as it'll no doubt be fed to the fish again!!

We will of course be sporting our sequinned shell suits.........

That's it for now and I'm hoping someone more technical might be able to post some pics of us!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Oh dear why did I agree to this!!

Hi all

Follow me & some lovely ladies & we take on our next challenge to swim (yes you have read that right) round the Isle of Wight in September.

For those of you who don't know me, I am only happy when I'm in the water & having successfully swum the English Channel this seemed like a suitable further challenge??

It's only about 60 miles, how hard can that be??

Why did I let my friend Phil set this site up, will I never learn??