Oceans Seven......Pat's Adventure of a Lifetime

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Special Request...

I need your help in spreading the word on the global swim event "Swim for Your Heart..Feb 14".  On that day, swimmers throughout the world will join in thought and action to bring an awareness of heart disease and prevention. It's easy! Go for a swim on February 14 and ask family, friends, and co-workers to donate to your local Heart Association, or local hospital cardiac unit, or local rescue unit.  Please notify swim organizations, swim clubs, YMCA's, fitness clubs and your local pool director.  Water aerobics, water polo players, synchronize swimmers are welcomed to join us as we raise awareness together on heart disease and prevention.  If you plan to participate, please notify me at  patgallant.charette@gmail.com  .  Thank you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nomination for World Open Water Swimmer Award

The Daily News of Open Water Swimming made the announcement for all the nominees for the "World Open Water Swimmer" award. There are three categories:  Performance of the Year,  Man of the Year, and Woman of the Year.  I was nominated for the "Woman of the Year".  I am very honored to receive this nomination.  You can go to their website and read all the wonderful accomplishments of all nominees and then VOTE. http://dailynews.openwaterswimming.com/2011/11/wowsa-woman-of-year-nominee-4-pat.html?m=1

Thank you.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Catalina swim....dolphin escort.

During the very last mile of my Catalina swim, I was startled by an object 3 feet below me with a dorsal fin. Honestly, I thought it was a shark.  My fear quickly turned to joy when my crew yelled to me that I was being escorted by dolphins. It was an amazing experience I never expected.  Pods of dolphins came to us from all directions.  My crew said there were approximately 100 dolphins converging on us. I could see dolphins beneath me, in front of me, and on my right side. I felt an inner peace....beyond words to describe.  This video only captures a few of the dolphins in the beginning of their escort. My crew said it was a spectacular sight for them to see. The dolphins stayed with us for about 30 minutes. It was a once in a lifetime experience for us. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Catalina Swim...What a day!

As we arrived at Catalina Island at midnight in total darkness, my boat captain lowered the anchor to prevent our boat from drifting. One of my Catalina Swim Officials came up to me and said not to worry about the marine life.  She said it was common to see flying fish, sea lions, and maybe a visiting pelican in the area.   As I prepared to jump from the boat into the water, my crew (Bill and Jean) and I joined hands and made this swim a tribute to my brother Johnny who died in a tragic accident at the age of 17.  My brother Robbie's name was on my swim cap as at tribute to him..he died at the age of 34 from a sudden and unexpected heart attack.  As soon as I was ready to jump off the boat, my boat captain shined a light on the 50 foot water pathway to the beach. I had to start my swim from dry land.  I got a shock of a lifetime.  In front of us were thousands of small flying fish (and they were flying out of the water), two sea lions were 20 feet from us and they were very curious of what was happening.  Then suddenly two pelicans landed on the water in front of us.  I turned to my crew and said, "What a welcoming!"  Then all of a sudden six dolphins joined the group.  It was an exciting moment to jump from the boat.  I had to swim through the thickest seaweed I've ever seen in my life. I could barely feel the water. The horn from the boat signaled the beginning of my swim. I had to swim through that bed of seaweed again,  It was awful.  Best to describe it "as trying to swim on a bed". I could barely feel any water.  The next 6 and 1/2 hours I was exposed to diesel fumes due to wind direction. I had the dry heaves and vomiting between 50 to 75 times.  Once the wind changed, I felt fine.  As my swim progressed, it was very foggy.  I didn't feel like I was making any headway but my crew said I was.  I trusted their judgement. Finally after 13 hours of swimming, I could finally see the rocky coast of California.  But suddenly, I had a very frightening experience. I saw a very large object 3 feet below me and it had a dorsal fin.  I yelled to my boat crew, who were monitoring my swim very closely, that "something" was below me.  They all shouted and laughed, "They're dolphins, you are being escorted by over 100 dolphins to the finish line". I looked around and they were everywhere.  What an experience! My official time was 14 hours and 11 minutes.  My brother Bill and my sister-in-law Jean did a fantastic job. They were constantly monitoring my swim. I can't thank them enough. Also, the Outrider boat crew did a fantastic job. My kayaker Kim Miller paddled next to me throughout the night. And, my two Catalina swim officials Marta Gaughen and Anne Cleveland did a superb job..thank you. At the end of my swim I broke the World Record for the Oldest Woman to swim Catalina Channel (aka San Pedro's Channel). Also, after my swim I spoke to several swimmers about "Swim for Your Heart..Feb14" a global swim event to bring an awareness of heart disease and prevention. A few people I would like to thank from back home....My training partner Yoko and her husband Dick...we've had great training swims at Pine Point Beach..thank you. The "Y" for their great programs especially their pool, thank you.  My husband Jim for his unrelenting support of my swimming, thank you.  My daughter Sarah for updating my blog during my swim and for her being my "rock", thank you.  And lastly, to my son Tom who inspired me 14 years ago to swim as a tribute to my brother Robbie, I will never forget his words, "You could, if you tried." Thank you.   And a special thank you to the rest of my family, friends, and fellow swimmers for their words of encouragement and support.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Official time

Official swim time of 14 hours 11 minutes and 40 seconds!
Ended swim at 2:19pm California time (5:19pm eastern time)

She did it!

Mom is now an official world record holder as the world's oldest woman to cross the Catalina Channel. Swim time if just over 14 hours!
Job well done Mom!
We are so proud of you!

Almost there......

I just heard from the boat crew; Mom is less than 1 mile from shore.
Woohoo! Go Mom!

2 3/4 miles to go...

I heard from the crew about 20 minutes ago; Mom has 2 3/4 miles to go, she's notched up her swimming and looking great! Mom has opted to finish without a kayaker guide. Apparently the Kayaker helped guide mom through the night and took a planned break. Mom is doing well and felt that she did not need the kayaker guide. Weather and water conditions are good; diesel fumes continue to be a problem.

Less than 4 miles to go

I just heard from the boat crew; less than 4 miles to go!

She just picked up a nautical mile

Stroke count has increased to 60. She just picked up a nautical mile; awesome!
The crew is reporting foggy conditions along the shoreline as they approach.

Less than 10K left to swim

The crew is reporting that Mom is feeling better; the nausea has subsided. She has about 10K left to swim (aprox. 5.7 nautical miles). Currently she is doing the light carb mix and at times straight water with feedings.

WooHoo! 1/2 way :O)

I just heard from Mom's boat crew; Mom is 1/2 way done her swim and still going strong.

Close to half way!

At close to 6 1/2 hours into swim, Mom is within a mile of half way point. Nausea continues to be a problem. Stroke count has increased to 60; so she is trying to pick up the pace. The crew reports that she seems to be getting into her groove :O)

Nausea improves

The crew just informed me that that the fumes continue to be terrible; mom's nausea seems to be  improving some. Her latest feeding was 1/2 myoplex and 1/2 carb drink. They are hoping it will stay down and not feed the fish...LOL. The crew is estimating that with her current stroke count that the swim may take a total of 16 hours to complete; but we all know that stroke count can vary as well as the weather/water conditions.

Diesel fumes continue to be a problem

At the moment, the crew has informed me that diesel fumes from the boat that is guiding Mom across the channel continue to be a problem. She is taking in flat coke and eating ginger every 1/2 hour to control the nausea. Stroke count 57.

Catalina Channel swim has started...

Hi all! This is Sarah (Pat's daughter); I will be keeping up the blog during Mom's swim.
Mom started her swim at 12:07a.m. (California time) = 3:07a.m. Eastern time.
Just before she started swimming there were Pelicans, flying fish and a sea lion feeding on thousands of fish. Water temperature is 64 degrees and air temperature is 61 degrees. Conditions are good.

I will continue to keep up the blog as I receive text messages from the boat crew.
GO MOM! :o)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Countdown to Catalina swim

On Monday night October 17th, my brother Bill and sister-in-law Jean and I will be departing for Catalina Island on the Outrider charter boat with four of their crew. Two Catalina Channel Swim Federation officials will be on board to monitor my swim. I will have a kayaker at my side,too.  My swim will start at midnight Monday(Pacific Time) 3 a.m. Eastern Standard time on Tuesday.  My daughter Sarah will start posting on my blog about 7 a.m. (EST).  She will attempt to update every couple of hours. This swim is a tribute to my brother Johnny who died at the age of 17 in a tragic accident.  I will have his name written on my arm.  And, my swim cap will have the "Swim for Your Heart..Feb 14" logo in memory of Robbie who died of a heart attack at the age of 34. If Mother Nature is on my side and I reach Point Vicente (California), this will be the World Record for the Oldest Women to swim San Pedro Channel commonly known as Catalina Channel.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Special Dedication...

In three weeks I will be in California to swim from Catalina Island to the mainland of California. I'm looking forward to this very challenging swim. Yesterday, a crew meeting was held with my brother Bill and his wife Jean to discuss the logistics of my swim.   My brother Bill requested a special dedication of my Catalina Swim to our brother Johnny who died at the age of 17 in a very tragic high school accident many years ago. Johnny was an outstanding young man. A leader. He was the captain of the Westbrook High School track team.  Two weeks before his untimely death, Johnny had broken the record for the State of Maine 2 mile run. Also, Johnny was a morning newspaper carrier delivering the Portland Press Herald before going to school each day.  On Sundays, he was an altar boy assisting with  morning mass at St.Hyacinths Church .  He had a wonderful sense of humor and always spoke very highly of everyone he met. He had a great sense of pride in family and country. It was an extremely painful loss for our family.   I am dedicating my swim of Catalina in his memory.

Friday, September 2, 2011

California or bust!

I will be resuming my swim training tomorrow for my next big swim.  I will attempt to swim from Catalina Island (21 miles off the coast of California) to Long Beach, California.  I'm scheduled to start my swim on October 17th late evening.  My crew will consist of my brother Bill and his wife Jean.  My boat pilot is John Pittman of Outrider Sportfishing. Also, I have hired expert kayaker Beth Barnes of California to help navigate my swim.   I am not underestimating the difficulty of swimming San Pedro Channel. It will certainly be a difficult swim....I will be looking forward to the challenge.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene in Maine

Our thoughts are with everyone living in the great State of Maine.  As Hurricane Irene approaches, we pray that all of you will be safe.  We hope the impact of Hurricane Irene is minimal.  We continue to monitor the path of Irene hourly.  Please stay safe and know that we are sending our prayers from England.
Pat and Crew

Meeting two swim legends.

A few days ago we met swim legend Montserrat Tresserras of Spain. Today, we were introduced to International Swim Hall of Fame inductee and world champion marathon swimmer Shelley Taylor-Smith of Australia. She is an icon in the swim world. I was awe struck!  In the photo starting on the left, Shelley, Jeannie Gallant (crew member), myself, and Montserrat. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Update from Dover

Many swimmers throughout the world have come to Dover,England to attempt to swim the English Channel. I had a wonderful opportunity to speak to several of them about their dreams of swimming the channel.  Also, I spoke to them about my hopes of promoting the yearly global swim event called "Swim for your Heart..Feb 14".  This event brings an awareness of heart disease and it's prevention.  Swimmers can organize a swim in their hometown and raise money for their local heart association, cardiac rehabilitation center, or cardiac facility.  Yesterday, a swimmer from Australia said he will organize 200 swimmers to participate and send proceeds to the Australian Heart Association.  A swimmer from South Africa said that she would take part and contact fellow swimmers.  I met a college swim captain from the USA and she said she will organize an event on Feb 14.   Also, I met a long distance swimmer from New York City, and he said he will promote this event in his area.  Several swimmers from Mexico were in Dover and they wore their "Swim for you Heart" logo, they will be participating in next years' event. They will be sending their proceeds to the Mexican Heart Association.   Many of you know that my brother Robbie died at the age of 34 of a heart attack.  It was a tremendous loss to our family.  He was such a wonderful person. In promoting "Swim for Your Heart..Feb 14", I hope other families will not experience the tragedy that we went through. Many in the global swim community will join in thought and action on February 14 and bring the aware of heart disease prevention.  I hope you will join me and the thousands of swimmers globally in promoting this event.  Thank you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What a day!

This is my first opportunity to update everyone.  I would like to begin by thanking my family, friends, co-workers for their words of encouragement and support. A special thank you for my daughter Sarah for updating my blog from reports sent to her from my crew. Also, I want to thank my husband Jim for his unending support of my passion for open water swimming.  And a special thank you to my son Tom who encouraged me several years ago to try to swim the Peaks to Portland as a tribute to Robbie. I will never forget his words, "Ma, you could if you tried".  I never imagined that 14 years later that I would successfully swim the English Channel at the age of 60. Also, I want to thank everyone who sent me emails...I received over 2500 emails today congratulating me.  I am very overwhelmed by their thoughtfulness. It was very much appreciated    And now for my swim:   I found out moments before the swim started that my boat pilot had a problem with his tracking device....sorry about the inconvenience.  I want to thank my Channel crew for their great support during my swim.  My brother David took many photos and I will create a new slide show for my blog after I return home on Tuesday. My sister-in-law Jeannie text messaged Sarah with my progress.  My nephew Kyle took plenty of video clips and photos of my swim.  Then, my nephew Christopher (Robbie's son) stood on the boat deck for 15 hours and 57 minutes and watched me swim the English Channel. Since I had 4 crew members, I instructed them to rotate monitoring my swim every hour.  So they could have a break.  Chris never took a break.  He stood there and helped me in so many ways.  It was a very special moment for us.  He wrote his dad's name on my arm prior to the start of my swim. Moments before the start of my swim, all crew members joined hands and I said "This is for Robbie".  I started my swim from Shakespeare Beach near Dover. The tide was very weak and I came within half a mile of France.  I thought I was going to have an under 12 hour swim.  But then the current change and I was swept beyond Cape Grey Nez, France.  I knew at that point my swim would be an additional four to six hours.  The water was very turbulent.  It was very difficult..I was swimming in waves of four feet coming at me from every direction...it's best to describe it "like swimmming in a washing machine". When I reached the finish line, Christopher was going to be on the dinghy to greet me on the beach but it was to dangerous for him because of crashing waves. I finished at Cap Gris-Nez. It is beyond words to explain the feeling of completing my swim.  When I returned to the Viking Princess, Chris hugged me and I said "this was for your dad." It was a special moment for all my crew members.  I will be returning to Maine on Tuesday...and I'm so looking forward to seeing everyone..especially my grandchildren,  Thank you again for having an interest in my swim.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Swim time under 16 hours....

I just got a phone call from the boat crew.
Everyone is sick and throwing up due to the rough water conditions of the return boat ride...."boat ride from hell" is what they are calling it.
No official time or miles to report; just that the swim time was under 16 hours.
When they hit land, they will call to give the final details of swim.
Will continue to keep you all posted.

SHE DID IT!

OMG, she did it!
she did it
she did it
she did it.
I  am just in awe! Holy Holy HOLY!
Way to go MOM!
I/WE all knew you could do it!
I can only imagine the emotions you are experiencing.

We are all jumping up and down, shouting WOOHOO!

Sea conditions....

The sea continues to be rough and Pat is stuck in an outgoing tide...but she swims on.
The crew has informed me that they all have their fingers crossed.

Will continue to keep you all updated.

As the sun sets on French soil.....

As the sun starts to set in France, Pat swims on.
According to her crew, she is not making much progress. I am not sure of the remaining distance or conditions; still waiting to hear from crew.
Let's all pray, jump and yell....whatever it takes to get her to France!

Go Mom Go! Kick Kick Kick!

Latest update....

Pat's boat crew just sent me another message stating that the water conditions are still very rough, but a finish looks possible. Thank goodness she had all that Pine Point Beach swim training in! Pat thrives on the rough stuff! "bring on the chop, if anybody can swim through it, she can!"

I will continue to keep you all posted.

Dingy ready?

I am not sure what this means, but I just heard from the crew that the boat pilot has gotten the dingy ready. Maybe some of you may know what this means? The pilots are not offering up information to Pats family crew of 4 on board the boat. So for now we will continue to wait......

Issues.....

I just heard from the boat crew. Pat is not making much progress due to issues with tides. Wind and waves are starting to pick up...PLEASE LET'S ALL TAKE A MOMENT AND PRAY FOR PAT. She can do this!

Go MOM! We are all with you in spirit and swimming along aside you! You can DO THIS!

4 miles to go....

I heard from the boat crew at aprox 11 hours into swim at 09:50a.m. Eastern time zome (2:50pm England time) that Pat has 4 miles to go and has started to fight the currents going in towards shore to finish her swim.

Over half way across....

I heard word at 06:30a.m. eastern time (11:30a.m. England time and just over 7 hours in the water) that Pat is 1/2 way across the English Channel. Weather is cloudy and rainy; water conditions are choppy (Pat thrives in choppy water).........she is still looking strong in the water, but currently nauseous from the boat exhaust.

6 miles into swim and still going strong....

Mom has been in the water for just over 4 hours and has completed 6 miles of her crossing of the English Channel; she continues to look strong. Conditions are OK (no further details from boat crew), just that she is doing fine.

In the water and looking stong....

Pat is about 1.5 hours into her swim and she is looking stong; conditions ok (per boat crew).
I still have not been able to locate her boat on the Dover AIS tracking website.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

This is Pat's daughter Sarah. I have heard word from her boat crew that Pat has started her swim just minutes ago at 11:11pm eastern time (04:11a.m. England time). I will keep you posted as I hear updates from the crew. I have not seen her tracker show up on the AIS website as of yet. The address is:  http://www.ais-doverstraits.co.uk/   the port of Dover, boat Viking Princess.
Please say a prayer for her and her crew :)




It's a Go !

I will be starting my English Channel attempt on Monday, August 22 at 3:30  A.M.   In Maine (Eastern time zone)  my swim will start tonight at 10:30 P.M. England is 5 hours ahead.   Since everyone back home will be going to bed. I told my daughter not to update my blog until morning.   My boat pilot said the conditions are not the best. There is currently some 9 foot swells.  He said that it might worsen.  If I don't make the attempt tonight, I would probably be going home without a swim.  The remainder of the week has very poor weather conditions with high winds.  So I have decided to take a chance and go for it. There is a tracking website called AIS, location is Dover, England.  The vessel is named the Viking Princess.  You will be able to track my swim live.  I am worried that my crew might develop motion sickness from the swells.  Please pray for calm seas for all of us. 

Waiting and waiting and waiting in Dover

The English Channel has had calm conditions for the past few days.  The tidal flow continues to be very strong for a slow swimmer.  My boat pilot still thinks that Tuesday into Wednesday would be the best time for me to start my swim.   However, I've been checking all the local weather stations and it seems that on those days it will be very windy. I'm letting my boat pilot make the decision when I'll swim.  But,it has been very difficult to see other swimmers cross the channel in very calm conditions. My crew is keeping me calm.  They have been so supportive.   I will get the update from my boat pilot this evening....I'm hoping that he will tell me that my swim will start on Monday. Thank you for all the great emails of support...It has been a tremendous help.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dover update

I spoke with my boat pilot this evening.  And, the best possible crossing for me would be on Monday or Tuesday.  Several swimmers have been out today and they were successful with very fast times.  Since I'm a slow swimmer, I have to wait for a weaker tidal flow. Tuesday is the weakest tide.  However, wind may be another problem...a cold front is expected.  I'll update tomorrow.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Meeting a swim icon......

It was a surprise when we discovered that our neighbor at Varne Ridge Caravan Park is International Swimming Hall of Fame swimmer Montserrat Tresserras.  She was inducted into the International Swim Hall of Fame the same year Johnny Weismuller (Tarzan).  At the age of 80, she is remarkable and full of energy.  She gave me several tips on swimming the Channel. She is holding one of her books that she has written on her experiences  as open water swimmer.  We were honored to meet her.  She is a legend in the open water swim community.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Swim Postponed

I met with my boat pilot this evening.  Weather forecast has improved but the tidal flow is not suited for a "slow" swimmer of 16 hours +.  He recommended waiting until Monday.  The predicted tidal flow is much weaker. I have full confidence in his judgement....I will swim when he give me the go ahead.  In the meantime, we are having a great time. 

It's a Go !

I just heard from my boat pilot and we are meeting at 5 P.M. this evening.  He said to be prepared to start my swim.  I'm not sure of the start time.  But, it looks like a go for tonight.  Yipee!
I'll be thinking of all of you. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Special Request.....

Crew members David and Jeannie Gallant have asked if I could dedicate mile 9 as a tribute to their good friend Brenda Whitmore. They have been inspired by her courageous fight against Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS) a neuro-degenerative disorder. She lives each day with courage, grace, and never ending humor.  They will proudly display her name on a poster as we begin mile 9.  Please join us in thinking of Brenda.

Update on Dover

I spoke with my boat pilot Reg Brickell and we are going to meet on Wednesday evening to discuss my crossing.  Many swimmers are saying that Friday looks like favorable conditions.  So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's a go for Friday.  It's been very windy in Dover.  This morning I swam in Dover Harbor along with crew members Kyle, David, and Chris.  It was fun, however my crew was in the water for a couple of minutes (thought it was too cold).  Water temperature was about 62 degrees.  We toured Dover Castle and traveled to Samphire Hoe (scenic overlook of the English Channel).  We are having a great time.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Arrived in Dover

We arrived in Dover late last night.   I drove on the opposite side of the road for my very first time....AND WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!! Going through a rotary( turn-about) is more nerve racking that my upcoming Channel swim :-)    It's sunny with moderate winds.  I will be meeting with my boat pilot later to discuss my upcoming swim.  My slot is August 18 to the 28th. Also, I want to thank all my family and friends for their unending support of my endeavor.   And for some reason, I cannot access my "road runner" email account.  But I can access my gmail.  Please forward emails to patgallant.charette@gmail.com.   Don't forward to road runner account.  Thank you.  I will place another post tomorrow.  FYI time zone in England is 5 hours ahead of Maine...so if it's noon in Maine, it's 5 P.M. in Dover.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Each mile dedicated to.....

During my next attempt of the English Channel, I plan to dedicate each mile of my swim to someone who has inspired me. My crew will proudly hold a poster with that persons' name printed on it.  For example, the first mile of my swim will be dedicated to my young neighbor who is being treated for cancer. Her determination to fight this disease is truly inspirational....  The next mile will be dedicated to a young friend of mine who is confined to a wheelchair.... his smile is contagious. He has never complained of his disability...I have learned so much from him. The next mile is dedicated to my husband and children for their unending love and support.  The next mile will be dedicated to my good friend Yoko. She didn't know how to swim a few years ago. And today, she has developed into a great open water swimmer...I have enjoyed training with her.   Since I'm a slow swimmer and I expect to swim approximately 30 miles with the tidal flow, I have a very long list of names of people who have inspired me...not enough space in this blog posting to list everyone.  The very last mile of my swim is dedicated to the Maine Medical Center Mended Hearts Support Group.  These individuals have given support to so many people who have had a cardiac event...they are inspirational.   And lastly, as I walk onto French soil at the conclusion of my swim,  I will proudly point to the sky and say "this is for you, Robbie".   His sixteen year old son Christopher will be at my side for this special tribute to his dad.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Countdown to Dover

In two weeks I will be leaving for Dover with my crew.  All final preparations are complete.  I'm continuing to train 6 days a week in the Atlantic Ocean. Each day varies in the amount of swimming. I have stopped weight lifting and cross training.    My swim taper will start the day I depart for England.  At the age of 60, I continue to feel strong and energetic.   I will be swimming under the rules of the English Channel Swim Association. They will have an official on board to monitor my swim.  Reg Brickell is my boat pilot. His boat is named the Viking Princess.  My slot is from August 18th to the 28th. When I receive word from Reg about the start time of my swim, I will post it.  One of my crew members will have a phone on board and he will relay updates every few hours.  I'm feeling very positive about my upcoming swim.  I've trained hard and I'm ready.   My brother Robbie's name will be written on my arm as a tribute to him.  His 16 year old son Christopher is part of my crew along with my brother David, sister-in-law Jeannie, and nephew Kyle.  I am honored to have them as my crew.  And many thanks to my husband, children, friends, family and co-workers for being very supportive.  It is greatly appreciated.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Daily News of Open Water Swimming.....Great Review of the Peaks to Portland

Before the Peaks to Portland Swim, Ellen Shockro of California introduced herself to me.  She's an amazing athlete and swim enthusiast.  Today, I received an email from her and she mentioned that she wrote an article about Saturday's 2.4 mile ocean swim for the internationally recognized website "The Daily News of Open Water Swimming" .  It's a fantastic article on the Peaks to Portland Swim.  Please visit their website  http://dailynewsofopenwaterswimming.com/ . I'm hoping that swimmers in the international community will want to plan a vacation in Maine next year and swim the Peaks to Portland.  It's a great swim promoted by the Cumberland County YMCA.  Also, it's a YMCA fundraiser that all proceeds go directly to their swim programs.  Thank you, Ellen, for writing such a great review of the Peaks to Portland 30th Anniversary Swim.  It is very much appreciated.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Peaks to Portland Swim 2011

On Saturday July 16, 2011 the Peaks to Portland Swim (30th Anniversary)had a record breaking number of swimmers. Nearly 300 swimmers participated and 19 swimmers were in the no-wetsuit division. All participants finished the swim. Congratulations to all swimmers.  Again, the Cumerland County Portland YMCA did an exceptional job organizing this event. Almost all swimmers had a kayaker at their side for safety.  Some swimmers decided not to have a kayaker but there were several boats along the course if needed. Safety is priorty with this event. Every swimmer received a beautiful "30th Anniversary" Peaks to Portland medal to wear proudly around their neck as they crossed the finish line.  Also, one of the P2P organizers' Terry Swain was the designated "last" swimmer...she was smiling and looked strong as she crossed the finish line.  Great job, Terry!  The award ceremony recognized the top three swimmers for the non-wetsuit and wetsuit division. (The Y will be posting all swimmers' times soon). However, the remainder of the non-wetsuit competitors were ranked with the wetsuit division...hopefully next year the non-wetsuit swimmers will have their own ranking system.    Also, many swimmers broke the infamous "one hour" time...congratulations to all. And a special recognition of Yoko Aoshima who participated in her very first open water swim competition...three years ago, she did not know how to swim and she took swim lessons at the Y. She had a remarkable swim. Awesome job,Yoko!    It was exciting to see that many more "non-wetsuit" swimmers participated this year...water temp was 60-63 degrees.  The P2P had a record number of out-of-state swimmers who planned this swim around a vacation in the great state of Maine....hope you come back next year. Also, this year East End Beach had a record number of spectators to welcome all swimmers as they reached the finish line...it was a spectacular greeting for all swimmers to experience.  And finally, the P2P is not only a great swim event organized by the Y but it's a fundraiser to help with their swim programs. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the Cumberland County YMCA Portland branch.   Thank you

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Final Preparations for the English Channel

Next month, I will be leaving for Dover for a solo attempt of the English Channel.  I completed a 10 hour ocean swim on July 2 as part of the final weeks of training.  Water temp was 59 to 62 degrees and conditions were variable from calm to very choppy.  I continue to train 6 days a week.  I've tested Hammer Nutrition Ultra Endurance (liquid carb and protein) during several training swims. I used the same product during my 2008 crossing....it's a great product.    Crew training is complete.  I will not start my taper until I board the plane to England.  Every swimmer has an "Achilles Heel", mine is motion sickness.  I'm fortunate to live in Maine (USA) where water conditions have been very choppy in the past month....this has helped me to become more acclimated to choppy conditions.   At the age of 60, I'm not any faster but my endurance has certainly improved.  Many thanks to my family and friends who have been very supportive of my endeavor.  And a special "thank you" to my husband Jim who encouraged me several years to reach for this dream.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Patron Saint of Swimmers


Saint Adjutor
 Saint Adjutor is known as the patron saint of swimmers.  My childhood friend Vicki Mullen surprised me with this gift.  I am deeply touched by her thoughtfulness.  It is ironic that Saint Adjutor was born in France.....just the place I'll be swimming to in August.  I plan to sew this medal to the inside of my swimsuit.  I continue to train six days a week.  And during my solo crossing of the English Channel, I will say a prayer to Saint Adjutor for a successful crossing.  Thank you Vicki for being such a wonderful friend.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Swim cap for English Channel Swim

 I would like to thank marathon swimmer Antonio Arguelles of Mexico who offered to design a swim cap for my upcoming Channel swim.  This swim is dedicated to my brother Robbie who died of a heart attack at the age of 34.  "Swim for your Heart" is a global campaign to bring an awareness of heart disease prevention. Thank you Antonio.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

No News is Good News!

 Today is the first day that I have had some time in over a month to place a posting on my blog....very hectic schedule with swim training, working (32 hours a week as a nurse) and busy family life.  The old saying "no news is good news" fits this posting.... the good news is that my training is going very well for my next attempt at the English Channel in August.  Today I swam for five hours and weight lifted for 30 minutes... I've been training six days a week.  Three of those days are major training days and the other three days are easy.  My goal in the next two months is to continue to train hard and stay healthy.  Crew training is nearly complete....I am so excited to have my brother David, sister-in-law Jeannie, and nephews' Christopher and Kyle as my new crew.  Also, I have had several family members and friends helping to "spot" me when I swim.  I can't thank them enough...everyone has been so supportive. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

First day of open water swimming in Maine

Today, I had my first open water swim of the season at Pine Point (Maine).  The Atlantic Ocean temperature was 43 degrees and the air temperature was 60. I acclimated to cold water without any difficulty....no signs of hypothermia.  My rule of thumb is to combine water temperature and air temperature. The combination must be 100 degrees or higher for me to swim without symptoms of hypothermia.  Every swimmers' body composition is different.  Some swimmers may need a combined temperature of 120 or they may develop hypothermia.  Wind chill is also a factor.  I will have double swim sessions three times a week (pool in the morning and ocean in the afternoon).  As the ocean temperature increases, I will extend the hours swimming in the ocean and decrease my pool swims.   The other three days I will swim for a couple of hours each day.  It's countdown to the English Channel....I can't wait :-)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

English Channel Training

I will be swimming the English Channel in four months. My training is going very well and I feel encouraged with my progress.  Today I completed a five hour pool swim.  Tomorrow I will be swimming for six hours and cross train for one hour. During my last few months of training, I will not use pool toys.   Transitioning from pool to ocean will start within the next couple of weeks. The ocean temp in Maine is 40F degrees with a wind chill of 45...still a bit chilly for open water training.  During my transition period, I will swim at the pool for a few hours in the morning and then swim at the ocean for a short swim in the afternoon.  When the ocean temperature reaches 50 degrees, I will have longer swims in the ocean. My goal is to transition completely to the ocean by mid June when water temp averages 52 degrees. I train 5 to 6 days per week.  On days that I work as a nurse ( work 4 days per week), I will swim for one to two hours after work. In July I will swim a few long ocean swims of eight to ten hours.  On the other days I will swim shorter swims.  I include weight training as part of my program. Also, crew training will resume in a couple of months for final preparations.  Between swim training, work and family life, there isn't enough time in the day....but I'm loving it.  :-)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mountaineer to Swimmer

                                
Badia Bonilla is one of Mexico's greatest mountain climbers.  She took time out of her busy schedule to participate in the "Swim for your Heart..Feb 14" in Mexico. Congratulations to her and her husband Mauricio for reaching their eighth summit.            


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Swim for your Heart....a global event.

On February 14, swimmers throughout the world participated in  "Swim for your Heart" to bring awareness of heart disease and prevention. Because of the successful response, February 14 has been declared a yearly swim event globally.   If you would like to represent your country in next years' swim, please visit the website http://swimforyourheartfeb14.com/      This website will promote heart disease prevention in the swim community globally.  It is currently under construction....please visit this website in a few weeks.  Articles will be written by swimmers who  promote a healthy heart lifestyle.
   If you would like to submit an article, please forward to their website.  Thank you.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Swim for your Heart...Feb 14

Good luck to all swimmers participating in the "Swim for your Heart..Feb 14" swim.  There has been a tremendous response from the international swim community. Together we can bring an awareness of heart disease prevention.   A special thanks to Mexican marathon swimmers Antonio Arguelles and Mariel Hawley for organizing 1400 swimmers to participate in Mexico.  And thank you to "Big Rick's Outdoor Swim Team" for helping to spread the word of this swim and for their participation in England.  Also, a special thank you to the other countries and to the USA swimmers.  And finally, this "Swim for your Heart..Feb 14" was prompted by the tragic death of Fran Crippen last October during a FINA Open Water 10 Km World Cup. It is a wonderful tribute to him.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Swim for your Heart..Feb 14

All swimmers are invited to join the global effort to bring an awareness of heart disease and prevention.  On February 14, go for a swim....it can be an organized swim or during your normal swim workout.  And discuss with other swimmers the growing health problem of heart disease. Prevention is the key to saving lives. Cardiac research is important...please donate to your local Heart Association.  This will be a yearly swim event...I hope you join us in this worthy cause.  Thank you.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Swim for a cause...February 14

Many swimmers throughout the world will be swimming on February 14 to bring an awareness of heart disease in their country. As many of you know, heart disease has killed many young athletes. My 34 year old brother died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack...Robbie had broken several swim records. In England, English Channel swimmer Mark Rickhuss died of a heart attack at the age of 41. In his memory, his friends started a swim team called "Big Rick's Outdoor Swim Team". They have raised a substantial amount of money for their Heart Association in England. They are to be commended for their hard work and continued effort to raise money for heart disease. Please visit their website. And in Mexico, Antonio Arguelles has organized 25 swim clubs and 1400 swimmers to participate in the Feb. 14 swim. Every swimmer will have the opportunity to have their blood pressure checked, blood glucose and cholesterol levels tested prior to their swim. Also, every swimmer will receive a swim cap with a logo of a "red heart". And two cardiologist will be helping with this major Heart Awareness Campaign. I am inviting you to join us in thought and action on February 14. On that day, go to your local community pool or open water swim.....and tell your fellow swimmers that you are swimming to bring an awareness of heart disease and make a donation to your local Heart Association. Together we can make a difference

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Countdown to English Channel Swim

I am so excited that 2011 is finally here.... I've been training hard for my English Channel attempt in August. I've had several emails from swimmers asking about my training program so I will try to give a brief outline of my schedule. Like many other swimmers I work (4 days a week as a nurse) and have a very busy family life (husband, kids, grand kids), so I have to carefully plan my training. Currently, I've been training six days a week.....three days a week are 4+ hours of swimming each day with cross training of one hour, the other three days are 2+ hours of cross training and 1 hour of swimming. Also, I weight train every two days and it includes upper body and core strengthening. My cold acclimation is easy living here in Maine where it's currently 30 degrees....my cross training is outdoors and I wear very lightweight clothing so I am intentionally COLD. I take one day off for rest. NOW for the confusing part......every two weeks I add one hour to "one"of the long day workouts. I make sure it's added to a "back to back" workout days....for example: On Saturday I will swim 5 hours and Sunday I will swim 4 hours. A few weeks later I will increase by one hour the Saturday workout.... Saturday 6 hour swim and Sunday 4 hour swim. This will continue each month until I reach a 10 hour swim on a Saturday and 4 hour swim on a Sunday. I continue with my routine workouts on the other days. A marathon runner doesn't run a marathon everyday likewise a marathon swimmer doesn't have to swim a marathon distance everyday. But it is very important that every week,a long distance of swimming should be met. I will start my transition from pool to ocean in April when the water temp is mid-forties. It will be a gradual transition where I will swim mornings at the pool and ocean swim in the afternoon. I will have a few night swims in July. Early August I will continue to train hard and I will start my taper when I board the plane to England. I will be celebrating my 60th birthday in a few weeks and I have surprisingly discovered that my endurance has improved again this year....Go figure!!!!!