The two P’s to Achieve Your OWS Goal and The Elusive English Channel!


News Flash!!!!!!!!

Ceinwen Williams ready for her Channel Dare!

….has just been delivered that Ceinwen Williams, the 3rd of the West Australian team has successfully achieved her solo English Channel goal.

And this is no easy feat!

Quick fact:

Did you know, more people have climbed Everest than swum the English Channel? It’s that tough!

Water temperatures of 16 degrees Celcius may sound tough enough to endure for 13hrs…

but that is just the beginning

… and for most who attempt the English Channel it is only one of the factors that determines a succesful crossing.


“How do you feel swimming at night…. say starting at 2am?”

or: “What if I suffer with seasickness swimming in the rough seas?

And you have to consider the following:

Strong currents, cold water, large waves and swell, the extreme distance and quite a bit of water-born ‘pollution’ make for an extremely tough challenge which only very strong swimmers are able to undertake.

…So there isn’t a standard bullet point answer!

Instead, there are almost always multiple things to work on in open water swimming, and they all have to be executed properly to see improvements and master the art of open water swimming, particular if you wish to join the English Channel club!

So in swimming, you have to follow the two P’s: Prioritise, and have Patience.

Are you training in the open water?

Amazing when I ask this question in an OWS Clinic for triathletes…. 80% are not?

My answer: how do you expect to improvve in your OWS drills and excute your race strategies if you are not practicing in the environment that you are racing in?

Ask any one of the 7 West Australians I have been coaching for the English Channel and they will tell you point-blank that the no.1 priority I have stressed over and over is training in cold water, training in the open water in the ocean, river, lakes.

Nothing can replace experience.

And with experience comes confidence!

When you get your priorities down, then it’s time for some patience!

In business, in open water swimming and in triathlon, it is just as in life, nothing comes easy, and usually it doesn’t come quickly either.

Having the patience to acclimatise to the open water conditions.

Not everyone is comfortable out in the open sea like myself and other passionate OW swimmers. So you need to get in it to build your confidence. No  more black line or touching the bottom can freak people out!!!!

In 1990 when I became the first West Australian person to swim the English Channel… I remember vividly a Japanese girl who also had the same dream to achieve her solo goal. She was not a swimmer.

“Shelley what am I going to do?” was Freda Streeter’s comment to me at a training day down at Dover Harbour. I looked over and saw this strong and tall Japanese woman doing breaststroke, head out of the water.

The mind is a powerful tool. And you need to be patient. And the Japanese girl did achieve her goal in 28hrs!

Could you be so patient?

What is your biggest swim training challenge?

Let me know your challenges in the comments below.

Cheers Shelley Taylor-Smith

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