Tips for swimmers, written by swimmers who did it!

On the day of the event, your organisation (or lack of) can make the difference between completing or failing. If you are organised you’ll have less stress and everything is set up to get you to the start of the 12th mile. Factors to consider


  • Arrive early
  • Position tent for a clear route to lane
  • Bring the right kit. Swimwear, goggles, plenty of towels, food and clothes. You also need a chair, skin care products and shampoos/shower gel.
  • Know your neighbours but ignore talk about training distances and times; you can’t do any more training and slow and steady will definitely complete this challenge
  • Organise your stuff: food, clothes, costumes, spares, valuables.
  • Torches and fairy lights in case of poor light.

When swimming

  • Organise your lane as soon as possible.
  • Swimming in a ‘train’ is easier, especially if you change the lead every 8 lengths or so.
  • The more in the train the better but let those who are faster/slower do their own thing.
  • There are no prizes for being the fastest in the lane or the pool.
  • Swim within yourself – aim to arrive at the next mile with enough energy
  • Be in the correct lane for your speed. This may mean swapping lanes but as there are the inevitable drop-outs there will be room in most lanes.
  • Don’t get hung up on the numbers on your watch; don’t worry about a difference of 30 seconds from one mile to the next
  • Your buddy can use a stopwatch to judge when to prepare nutrition and be there at the end of the mile

When not swimming

  • Feed for 3 miles forward
  • A mile swim is going to take ~400 calories out of you. Be ruthless in replacing them
  • Get into a routine quickly e.g. from pool to tent chamois down, dry off whilst eating, dress, skin care, rest. With 5 mins to go Vaseline face, get to pool on time, check lane mates, off you go
  • Skin care: you are going to be in bleach for 12 hours. Be paranoid about this.
  • Treat yourself to a shower at regular intervals
  • Prepare for mood swings as your body cools down
  • Rest as much as you can. Successful soloists tend not to jump around between swims


  • They work hard. It’s not a day out for them
  • They should know your routine
  • 2-3 buddies in shifts works better than 1 for the whole 12 hours
  • Friends visiting throughout day lift your mood and can relieve the buddy for a while
  • Need a good sense of humour
  • Should know when to push you or pull you out of the event

Next event -postponed until further notice.

Apologies to all.

Have a look at what Outdoor Swimmer Magazine said.

If you want to subscribe to the magazine, you can find out more here.