Swimathon 2014 – challenges, training and goals

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My Training

Week 1 Review

Well, my first training week has finished and I’ll pleased to say that I’m still with it although currently I have lost all hearing in my left ear which puts training in jeopardy.

This week’s training involved 3 sessions at 750m and 1 session yesterday of 1km. Here are the bulletin points of what I’ve discovered this week.

Bad points

There are more bad points than I care to mention: as a backstroker I have never had to concern myself with the finer details of the breast stroke.

  • Breathing – It has been so long since I undertook an exercise regime that my lungs have lost all their restive qualities and this is holding my technique up.
  • I can only go for half to three quarters of a length with a proper breathing technique (head underwater and looking down to breath out then lift head up to breath in). This is due to the above point – breathing.
  • My technique – although this is getting much better I am still struggling to get the details of the arms/leg techniques correct. Like I said this is getting much better with practice and from watching videos on youTube etc.
  • Times – As the lengths I have to swim increase (the next one will be 55 lengths/1.3km/0.8 mile which will take an estimated 1 hour 1 minute but when I get up to 106 lengths/2.7km/1.7 miles it will take me 2 hours (at my current pace) this will obviously put a major scupper in the works as the lane swimming is only open at certain times and may have to adjust my swimming times to go for the very longest sessions I can get.
  • Not being able to hear anything in my left ear – this started after my swimming session yesterday and a shower. The very worst thing that can happen is the Doctor (if the problem gets that far) says that  I should lay off of the swimming for a while. If this happens I will have to practice my technique on chairs and try and recreate the muscle groups exercises.

Good points

  • Practice makes perfect (or better) – The more I practice the more I get better. This is evident even after a single week (or 3 swimming sessions) and the more I concentrate on the breast stroke the better I will become at it. Once I have mastered a decent breast stroke I shall be moving onto the front crawl. I have concentrated on the breast stroke first as this is the hardest. By the time I have mastered the breast stroke my lungs will be string enough to cope with the breathing style of the crawl and this should hopefully be much easier to learn as the breast stroke as it is MUCH more like the back stroke that I am used to.
  • Determination – If there’s one thing that I have it is a determination to finish what I start
  • Support – I have a fantastic support team around me. I know that my lovely wife is always there for me and should I ever need encouragement then my social media circle of friends is always ready to offer some words of encouragement.
  • Finances – I/my family are in the lucky position to be able to afford the gym membership that is required for me to carry on training. The very thought of doing 200 lengths without these training sessions terrifies me. The theory of train hard – race easy is one that I believe in and planned for. This is visible from my training structure and I have planned to swim up to 6km/240 lengths/3.7 miles) in training but this of course depends on my timings and the time I can get in the pool.


This is about it. I have already started work on myswimathon.co.uk site and I am looking for feedback as to what features people would like to see in this site.

Monday, 3rd February, 2014

Today was the start of my rather harsh training program. I initially got the timetable for my training milestones incorrect and accidentally added another 2 months on. When I discovered this it came as a major shock when I had to re-calculate and compress the training schedule.

One mistake I made today was to trust in my memory for the amount of distance I had to cover in the session. I believed it was 30 lengths (which I did) but when I got back I discovered it was actually only 20 lengths and so I’d swum/swam an extra 250m.

The training itself

Today I re-discovered the long forgotten muscles that are needed for swimming. I was mainly concentrating on the breaststroke and about 95% of the lengths I did were exclusively using that stroke.

I now know what I must do in order to progress with my training in 2 days time (Wednesday). I desperately need to concentrate on stroke technique as my stroke today was terrible. I was not sitting well in the water at all. My body was far from horizontal and I had an aversion to putting my head fully in the water. I have no doubt that when my stroke technique improves then the rest will fall into place. I need to get on the internet and look up training videos and ‘dry’ training stroke exercises to do tomorrow night.

My timings are also massively off. I took my timings for the distances that I have to do from my native backstroke times. These are 3 times faster than the breaststroke times I achieved today. This means that should my current times not get any better – the final 5km swim would take me a whopping 5 hours. Again: Once my breaststroke improves I am confident these times will drop.

My session on Wednesday involved swimming 30 lengths (the distance I did today) and so I’m confident in my abilities though maybe my muscles may not agree come Wednesday.

Thanks for your support in all of this and don’t forget to sponsor me.


So this is all about the 2014 Swimathon. Yesterday I decided to enter and I set myself the goal of 2.5km (1.55 mile). This was to be a major challenge for me as I have never swum anywhere near that sort of distance before. Today I decided to increase the challenge by going from the 2.5km up to the maximum of 5km (3.1 miles) – a huge distance that will require all my mental as well as physical effort.


  • The most I have swam in the past has probably been about 500m during the short time that I was competing. These were 30m & 50m sprint events though.
  • By nature and by training I am/was a back-stroker. During the Swimathon I am not able to do the back-stroke and as such have to train on the strokes that have only used when forced to go slow on lane swimming.
  • Finances – In order to complete a 3 mile swim I am going to have to train quite a bit. This means a gym membership as well as some new goggles and a length counting watch. There is no way I’m going to manually count the 200 lengths that I have to swim so I have bought a relatively cheap automatic length counting watch off of eBay.


I hope to take you all on a journey from start to finish with a range of video as well as literary (well, an attempt at literary) posts.

Next month I should be getting my new phone which by coincidence will take not only photos but videos underwater. This will give me a great tool to allow you to join me on this journey.


I’m proud to announce that I’ve already purchased the name myswimathon.co.uk so that after this year’s adventure is over I can set up a portal so that anybody who takes part in the Swimathon next year will be able to give their friends, family and supporters a web address to look up. The fundraisers will then have a portal in which to upload content of their own and write their own blogs. Needless to say there may be the odd additional option such as for the corporate teams wish to make the page their own corporate identities on the page instead of the site’s own . This is for after I’ve done my bit this year and I see what’s possible.

For this year I will probably use it as the base for my event updates but I’m busy working and once I catch up I’ll get to work on that

I hope you will all stay with me through this.

Training Milestones

Date Distance (kms) Distance (miles) Lengths (25 meters) Time (hh:mm)
1 February 2014 0 0 0 0:00
8 February 2014 1 0.6 40 0:20
15 February 2014 2 1.2 80 0:40
22 February 2014 3 1.9 120 1:00
01 March 2014 4 2.5 160 1:20
08 March 2014 5 3.1 200 1:40
15 March 2014 6 3.7 240 2:0
22 March 2014 5 3.1 200 1:40

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