A selection of swimming time intervals

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100 milliseconds: Contraction time, aka male shrinkage time in 5 degree Celsius water.

Zero, aka Go, aka Scratch: The fastest group, the elites, the last wave to go in an open water race. It’s ok to hate them.

0 seconds Rest Interval (R.I.): When you are not making your 100 max repeat times. You want to die.

1 second R.I.: It’s inevitable that this rest interval will soon become zero seconds.

1 to 3 seconds: When you come second in a race by this interval range, it’s good enough to convince yourself that you are as fast as the winner.

2 seconds R.I.: Maxed-out but holding it.

3 seconds R.I.: On a 95% set. Nothing can stop you. You are a swimming god.

4 seconds: Trent Grimsey’s average feed time for his record-setting English Channel solo.

5 seconds R.I.: Not quite enough time for water. Better finish the 1k set first.

10 seconds R.I.: You’re being lazy and sandbagging if doing repeat 100’s. Acceptable on fast 200s and slow 400s.

10 seconds: 10 seconds feeding equals 10 minutes extra swimming in the Channel.

20 seconds R.I.: Lasts 60 seconds for Masters Swimmers.

30 seconds: Considered to be a quick water entry when the temperature is under 5° Celsius.

Master’s Minute: Enough time to go to the toilet, have a drink and a quick chat. Not actually a minute.

50 seconds: The time to get to the closest swimmable arch on the Copper Coast from the beach at high tide, at Gararrus.

2 minutes and 55 seconds. The interval by which Trent Grimsey beat the previous English Channel world record.

3 minutes: The amount of time it takes sub-seven degree Celsius water to go from awful to fine. Or to kill you.

5 minutes: The period of time from the onset of despair to being told I’d made it through the tide.

<15 minutes: A fast open water kilometer.

~15 minutes: A good urination interval for marathon swims. That warm patch you swam through? Was mine.

27 minutes: From my house to the Guillamenes car park.

60 minutes public pool evening open session: A lifetime in hell.

1 hour: The longest swim from France back to the pilot boat, after a Channel swim was over. (My claim to fame).

1 hour: the amount of time open water swimmers start swimming as soon as the water temperature rises to 10° Celsius.

1 hour: Remember all those long feeds you took? Another hour to the Cap.

1 hour and 55 minutes-ish: Approximate time of Olympic 10k open water swim for Male swimmers.

2 hours-ish: Until you reach the Cap. Unless …

3 to 5 hours: Sandycove Island Torture Swim.

6 hours: Minimum English Channel qualification swim.

6 to 10 hours: Sandycove Island Swim Club Channel qualification swims.

6 hours and 15 minutes: The approximate duration of single tide.

6 hours 55 minutes: Trent Grimsey’s 2012 English Channel record

10 to 12 hours: Starting-level weekly training times for Channel swimmers

13 to 18 hours: the range of “average” English channel solo crossings.

15 to 25 hours: “Proper” English Channel weekly training hours.

17 hours and 14 minutes: Suzie Maroney’s record Two-way English Channel.

21 hours and 45 minutes: the first successful English Channel swim time.

>24 hours: The small group of open water swimmer who have swum continuously for more than 24 hours.

28 hours and 21 minutes: Phil Rush’s record Three-way English Channel solo.

28 hours and 44 minutes: Jackie Cobell’s record-setting English Channel Solo.

Exactly 36 hours: Lisa Cummins two-way English Channel solo, on her first attempt.

52 hours and 30 minutes: Kevin Murphy’s record for the longest continuous-time open water swim on his three-way English channel attempt.

8 days: The usual length of a neap tide for most Solo Channel swims.

22 days, 2 hours and 13 minutes: The cumulative time Kevin Murphy has spent actually swimming the English Channel, just on his successful Solo swims.

27.3 days: The duration of a sidereal lunar month which determines tides.animated tides

4 and a half months: The English Channel swim season.

2 years: Duration an English Channel CS&PF swim counts as a qualification for a Manhattan Island Marathon Island entry.

2 to 3 years: Current wait for a preferred English tide and pilot.

38 years: The interval between Kevin Murphy’s first and most recent successful English Channel Solos.

70 years and 147 days: Age of Roger Allsop at the time he set the record for the oldest successful English Channel solo.

82 years. How long the Newtown and Guillamenes swimming club safely has stewarded the Coves before the recent blight on the location.

83 years. How long the Newtown and Guillamenes swimming club is in operation.

138 years: Duration since Captain Matthew Webb swam the English Channel and started this Channel swimming nonsense.

Eternity: The time since the last feed. The time until the next feed, or the Cap.

4 thoughts on “A selection of swimming time intervals

  1. 49.5 years – the age of my bones. Factor 5 – the times longer it takes to recover from strain. 1hr 54mins – the time it’ll take to recite The Tempest to myself on a long swim. An indeterminate number of hours – the time it’ll take me to learn it by heart.


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