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Saturday, August 17, 2013
Sally Minty-Gravett Never Wants To Get Out
The Daily News of Open Water Swimming asked her to explain what makes her never want to get out.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: This is your fifth channel crossing in addition to a lifetime of swimming. Is there anything you have ever forgetten before a swim - or is swimming the Channel like riding a bike?
Sally Minty-Gravett: I have not forgotten anything yet!
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How has equipment (e.g., GPS) and strategy changed over your 5 decades of channel swimming?
Sally Minty-Gravett: The first swim was in COMPLETELY thick fog on a compass only, I believe. My parents were not allowed on the boat and the only way they knew where I was, was to go to the Dover Coast guards on the White Cliffs to watch me on their radar. I only saw France when I was 3 foot above the sand. Which is quite a good thing really. And we had no mobile phone either until I did swim #4. Mobile phones have revolutionised Channel swims and all the Spot trackers too. Navigational aids were used from the second swim and GPS was used from swim #3 I think."
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Does a crossing get any easier, either from a physiological, psychological, or logistical perspective?
Sally Minty-Gravett: The swimming remains the same. Personally, I have never found the swimming hard because I am a swimmer and been doing it for so long. It has always just been another swim. BUT, people say, 'You have done it before - you will be fine' - THAT is what puts the pressure and more on us. This year has been interesting as I am 56 and have done less mileage training and more quality swimming - which ensured that I finished strongly and remained totally injury free.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: You have provided a lifetime of advice to swimmers. Do you follow your own advice to the letter when swimming?
Sally Minty-Gravett: Yes I think I do. Many swimmers come to me to ask me to help them 'swim the channel' - I ALWAYS ask their swimming history first and then politely suggest that they allow 2 or 3 years of swimming miles and swim around Jersey first in one year, then from Jersey to France on the next year and then do the Channel. If they choose to go ahead with their training plans, they do struggle. And those who do listen - always thank me for that advice.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Swimsuits and goggles are very personal to each swimmer. Have you used the same sort of swimsuit or goggles on each of your Channel swims, or have you changed your swimsuit and goggle types as time goes on (and manufacturers have changed their models)?
Sally Minty-Gravett: Yes - always a similar type of swimsuit - one piece and always for comfort. Goggle styles have changed a lot. In the third and fourth swim, I needed clear goggles for night swimming and darker goggles for daytime. This year, I've discovered Zoggs Predator Reactolite goggles. They are clear at night and polarised during sunlight which is revolutionary and totally brilliant. Now many of our swimmers are wearing them too.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: You probably eat the same sort of food on land over the past 5 decades. Have you changed what you drink or eat during your 5 Channel swims over the decades - or do you stick to the same proven plan?
Sally Minty-Gravett: Swimming in general has changed so much in 40 years. We did not have indoor pools in Jersey until I was 12, in 1969. I learned to swim on the sea from 3 years old. Hence why I am much more at home in the sea goggles, caps, and especially feeding has changed SO much!
My first swim in 1975, my coach told me to tell him when I was hungry. So I had my first feed at 5 hours. Then I fed 3 times. I was sick and didn't eat again until the end. When I did eat, it was semolina pudding (a finer version of creamed rice), chocolate, tinned peaches and cold Ribena. Finished in 11 hours 57 minutes.
The second swim in 1985, I was sponsored by a sports nutrition company and had all sorts of carbs, protein and electrolyte drinks for during, after and in between training. Trained on it all year - but on the day - found it difficult to use. I was delayed mid-channel by French authorities. All 9 swims that day on September 9th should be in the archives; finished in 15 hours 3 minutes.
The third swim in 1992 saw when Maxim had just been introduced. I used it for the first time on my swim and fed hourly. I had no problems for a 12 hour 8 minute swim from France to England.
Before the fourth swim in 2005, I trained on Maxim all year and planned only to eat hourly. But from the start, I was very very sick to my stomach all day and hardly any food stayed down - and I never ate or drank anything for the last 4 hours as every time I became vertical, I was dizzy and felt sick. But I got faster and faster towards the end and finished in 13 hours 31 minutes
The fifth swim in 2013 was meant to be a 2-way crossing. I trained on Maxim and all my chosen foods all summer with no problems. I planned on using Maxim, redbush tea, hand-made Maxim jello, creamed rice puddings which were lovely, and tinned peaches. It was a perfect day, but from the first feed, I felt full up and found it so difficult to feed so I was constantly vomiting after every feed.
At 9 hours it was very obvious I was going to be unable to turn around in the right place so I decided to ensure I finished a fifth Channel swim which I did with very little internal fuel. I felt great at the end and could have carried on. I recovered immediately and could have done it all again the next day. But EVEN IF I had turned around, I would have almost definitely been taken out due to an amazing electric thunderstorm which lit us all the way back to Dover in the boat. The time was 17 hours 48 minutes and I still want to do a 2 way. I know I can do it.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: You did 4 swims from England to France and you did one swim from France to England. What is the difference between the directions?
Sally Minty-Gravett: My England to France swim was definitely the easiest to finish. Plus my feeding was so easy too.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: You live in Jersey smack dab in the middle of the English Channel. Very few English Channel swimmers can say that. Does this give you an edge in preparing for the Channel?
Sally Minty-Gravett: We have the perfect training ground for Channel swim training and 2 perfect swim to do before we even arrive in Dover. Jersey swimmers generally I think are some of the best prepared when they arrive for their Channel swims as are the Serps and Irish too. They too have passionate leaders imparting knowledge.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Most Channel swimmers have to explain things about marathon swimming to their spouse. You have Charlie. How easy is that?
Sally Minty-Gravett: I met Charlie in the Channel Relay race in 1975! He was in one team and I was in the youngest and Fast Jersey team. He is a retired Marathon runner and swimmer so he understands which is great. I've met whose spouses don't swim. It must be very hard I think.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: You are one of the most renowned open water swimmers and coaches in the world. When you step on the shores of Dover does your reputation and the expectations placed on your shoulders lead to any extra pressure to succeed?
Sally Minty-Gravett: Too right! As I said before - people say - you have done it before so you will be fine. They have no idea! However, it has never been about the swimming. It comes naturally to me. I am very fortunate as the more I swim, the fitter I get.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: 5 attempts, 5 decades, 5 successes. It is a remarkable record. Was there any time during those 5 swims where you wanted to get out and thought about quitting?
Sally Minty-Gravett: I NEVER wanted to get out - ever! I was only concerned in swim #4 that they may take me out as I was feeling as I may pass out and have to be taken out. But I never doubted my ability to finish. I constantly read about swimmers being so sick they get out - but getting out has never entered my head. Stubborn or what?!
Above photo shows her route on her fifth and latest English Channel crossing.
Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming
2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE
The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.
The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.
The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.
Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.
The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.
"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."
Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."
The 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Programme
Wednesday, September 17th
Leave Glasgow to commence 2-day tour of Scotland [closest international airport is Glasgow]
Thursday, September 18th
Stay Mainland, North of Scotland
Friday, September 19th
14:00 - Swim Loch Lomond
17:00 - Head to Isle of Bute
19:30 - Scottish Banquet
21:30 - Dinner Dance
Saturday, September 20th
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
12:20 - Lunch and WOWSA Awards
13:40 – Speeches
15:40 - Round Table
19:00 - International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony
Sunday, September 21st
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
14:30 - Swim in St Ninian's Bay on the Isle of Bute
The luminaries of the open water swimming world who will be honored in Scotland will include:
* Sandra Bucha (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Jon Erikson (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Claudio Plit (Argentina), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Judith van Berkel-de Njis (Netherlands), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* David Yudovin (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* George Young (Canada), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Dale Petranech (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Contributor
* Melissa Cunningham (Australia), 2013 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award winner
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* James Anderson (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Dr. Jane Katz (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Indonesian Swimming Federation, , International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation
* Elizabeth Fry (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* Olga Kozydub (Russia), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* Bering Strait Swim (international team), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* International Ice Swimming Association (Ram Barkai, founder, South Africa), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year
For additional articles on the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit:
* Olga Kozydub To Be Honored In Scotland
* Pádraig Mallon To Be Honored In Mount Stuart Castle
* Mount Stuart House, Splendid Setting For Swimming
* Colleen Blair To Kick-off Global Open Water Swimming Conference
* The Man Who Swims Better Than He Walks
* Joining In The Sea Goddess At The Hall Of Fame
* Mercedes Gleitze To Be Honored In Scotland
* The Incredible Career Of Merceded Gleitze
* Jon Erikson To Be Honoured In Florida
* The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
* St Ninian's Bay To Host International Swim Conference
Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Swim Across the English Channel...
Who else is looking for a qualified open water swimming coach to help them swim across the English Channel?Chloë McCardel is a 6-time English Channel Swimmer who inspires and instructs. Access featured content by Chloë in this month's issue of the Open Water Swimming Magazine. Published monthly by WOWSA, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a digital, interactive publication made available exclusively to WOWSA members. See what you've been missing! Become a WOWSA member today!
Open Water Swimming Magazine
Open Water Swimming MagazineThe Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.
WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...
The Other Shore
The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.
2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac
An Almanac for Open Water SwimmingAn almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.
This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.
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There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.
In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...
Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:
The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.