This post arises from the blog’s fifth anniversary in January. Such milestones tend to make one consider various things. One that I have been ruminating on without any conclusions is the history and evolution of the blog and its place in open water swimming. I have recently come to (hesitatingly) accept that LoneSwimmer.com is probably the world’s most popular non-commercial open water swimming blog, whose readership has continued to rise year on year on year. That’s a scary thought for an average swimmer and to be honest I don’t think I will ever really understand it regardless of what anyone says. I am somewhat content in knowing that if another word is never published on LoneSwimmer.com it has helped and influenced many people beyond what I ever imagined.
I deferred this particular task because while increasingly essential for the site it was also a tedious task (for me, not for readers I hope). Previously, while the top menu linked to fixed Index pages for the Cold Water and How To articles, the English Channel and Marathon Swimming link was merely an internal site search result. Consequently many articles weren’t caught by the fixed search terms. I needed to search and itemise all those articles properly for easier referencing for readers (because I literally cannot remember very many of the articles I’ve written). In order to do this, I had to comb through my published articles index. One result is that I’ve deleted or hidden many blog articles that I no longer consider useful, with the total number of articles now available whittled down from about a thousand to about six hundred, and thus making the overall content stronger. Some posts display erratic formatting resulting from the theme change subsequent to winning Best Sports & Recreation blog for the second time in 2014. Finding and fixing these is an even longer task so if you find any such please let me know and I’ll fix them asap.
Loneswimmer.com was always intended to be a blog about one open waters swimmer’s swimming life rather than specifically about marathon or even cold water swimming. My original and continuing ethos is to write down the stuff I’ve learned and am still learning about open water swimming in the hope it will be of value to others. I am also always eager to correct and acknowledge any mistakes. While I struggle as do all blog writers to create ongoing content, there yet remain some subjects I’ve haven’t covered sufficiently, and in the case of a particularly and personally terrifying subject, one I have yet to find the courage to address at all.
Along with this index comes a new change to the site. Over on the right hand sidebar is a Make a Donation link as suggested by many friends and readers over the years, and something I’ve previously resisted for the most Irish of reasons, pride and “not wanting to get above myself“, (as critics here say). If you feel that any of the almost 1000 previously published articles in the blog history has been interesting or valuable and you want to express that gratitude, the Make a Donation will allow you to so do. It’s not obligatory of course and LoneSwimmer will continue in the erratic way it has previously. Any donation of any size is gratefully received and I can at least promise it will go either toward the site (I’d like to migrate away from WordPress.com and those horrible ads they impose that you may see over which I have no control and gain no revenue), or to actual swimming to feed back into content for the site).
So very many people are open water swimmers but we are still like a secret club in many ways and without a sufficient written history, something which is only now changing. I’ve considered my cold open water swimming articles the core of the site since the second year of writing, so when I collated all the Channel and Marathon swimming articles, I was quite surprised that the number of specific articles was even longer than the cold water articles. Apart from some of the How To articles this index includes many of the site’s most popular articles, particularly the long swim reports covering my friends Trent Grimsey, Sylvain Estadieu, Stephen Redmond and Finbarr Hedderman. Thanks once again to those people for allowing me to provide such fascinating first-hand accounts of the largely hidden world of marathon swimming. There are also two of the controversial series covering the MIMS 2013 swim, and the long series reflecting on the Diana Nyad debacle which so damaged our sport. I’ve included the specific marathon swimming articles I’ve written which also appear in the How To Index, and a number of miscellaneous related articles.
While regular readers will have read many of the most popular articles, I hope that from this collation most of you will find something in these archives which will provide entertainment and/or assistance (or at the least facilitate your online procrastination).
ideally I would like to rewrite almost everything here. But if this is your first time here, can I suggest you go make some coffee? You may be here a while.
General Principles of Marathon Swimming
The Unwritten Rules of Open Water Swimming. Concerning open water swimming more generally, I feel it’s important, in the light of frauds in the marathon and ice swimming worlds, to explicitly specify an ethos of open water swimming.
Two Golden Rules of Open Water and/or Marathon Swims. A regular reading of the blog will demonstrate that I like to itemize all the relevant factors I can think of with regards to various subjects. But then I subsequently also like to distil to essentials for brevity where possible. These Golden Rules came out of the same principle as the previous “Unwritten Rules”. Both Golden Rules were later integrated into the first Global Rules of Marathon Swimming.
Introducing new Global standardised Marathon Swimming Rules. All this fed into the work of Evan Morrison, Andrew Malinak, Elaine Howley and myself to write the first ever Global Rules for marathon swims done outside existing organisations.
Guides and practical How To articles
July 24th, 1883. The life and death of Captain Matthew Webb.
A guide to Dover for Swimmers – Part 1 – Dover Harbour. Visiting and swimming the most famous open water swimming location in the world.
A guide to Dover for Swimmers – Part 2 – Varne Ridge Caravan Park. One of the places in the world for open water swimmers run by two of my favourite people in the world.
A guide to Dover for Swimmers – Part 3 – Bits ‘n Pieces. Useful miscellaneous information for Dover visitors.
How To: Remotely follow a swim during Channel season. Following a Channel swim remotely.
How To: Sample marathon swim feed schedule (MIMS). Not prescriptive, but a feed example. Adjust or even discard based on experience.
How To: Marathon and Channel Swimming Swimmer and Crew Checklist (updated for 2013). Tried, tested & updated.
How To: Select a Channel pilot & boat. A much requested item for Channel Aspirants.
How To: Generic marathon swim Observer’s Report. May be of use for your new pioneering swim.
How To: Understand Important Factors in Marathon Swim Feeding. One needs to understand feeding parameters to make informed choices.
How To: Crew selection in marathon swimming. I feel strongly that many swimmers still neglect this most important aspect of Channel swim planning. By the way, if you want me to crew for your swim, use the Private Contact form on About page.
How To: Apply lubrication for distance sea swimming. Marathon swimmers have to learn everything. Inspired by the FINA World Number 1 who had never needed to previously use any lubrication.
Use of choline supplementation in marathon swims (or ultra-endurance events). Nutrition and supplementation for marathon swimming is still a subject we are trying to improve. This is a consideration of one possible supplement.
Evidence-based Carb loading plans – possible strategies for a marathon swim. A post from the early days of the site, considering different ways to adapt diet prior to a marathon swim.
How do you poop when swimming the English Channel? Or any marathon swim? Because I know you want to know, as your search terms give you away.
Limiting Factors in Marathon Swimming – Part 1 – Physical Factors. What stops marathon swims and swimmers? An exploration of the limiting physical factors.
Limiting Factors in Marathon Swimming – Part 2 – Environmental Factors. Further consideration of the limiting factors in marathon swimming.
Limiting Factors in Marathon Swimming – Part 3 – Psychological Factors. More consideration of the limiting factors in marathon swimming.
English Channel Swim Reports
Sylvain Estadieu’s English Channel Butterfly – Part 1. The inside story of the first man to swim the English Channel doing butterfly.
Sylvain Estadieu’s English Channel Butterfly – Part 2. With most of my series swim reports, coverage of the actual swim will start in the second part.
Sylvain Estadieu’s English Channel Butterfly – Part 6 – Le Français Volant. Concluding the story of Sylvain Estadieu’s English Channel butterfly swim.
Trent Grimsey’s English Channel World Record – Part 1 – From close-up. The inside story of the new English Channel solo record, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Trent Grimsey’s English Channel World Record – Part 2 – Record Day dawns. Coverage of Trent’s actual swim starts on the second part.
Have you skin in the game? Wave swimming in English Channel swims. Extensive discussion of a controversial aspect of English Channel swimming.
Announcing: marathonswimmers.org. A major announcement in the world of marathon swimming.
Brief lessons from marathon swimming – I – Never eat a curry the night before a long swim. First of a likely continuing series of brief lessons I’ve learned from marathon swimming.
The Seven Ps of Long Swims. A guiding principle for any marathon swim Aspirant.
The English Channel from Space. Swim across that? Are you serious?
Captain Webb’s English Channel chart. The first English Channel crossing charts.
The sound of Dover, Port of Kings. Will only be appreciated or even understood by someone who has actually swum in Dover Harbour.
Crazy water in the English Channel. Just how rough can the English Channel get?
How stands the wind for France? Written, like some other articles, while waiting for a weather window in Dover.
The bond of the English Channel. Reflecting on friendships made in English Channel swimming.
Havoc. A very brief personal reflection on the after effects of a Channel swim.
What’s the best possible English Channel record? My own thoughts based on various discussions and first hand experience.
The loneswimmer autograph book. A fun ongoing small project of mine that’s become better known in the marathon swimming community.
Guest Article: Dr. Karen Throsby, on the complicated issue of fat amongst Channel swimmers. A valuable article on a subject of interest to marathon swimmers.
Kevin Murphy on the North Channel. King of the English Channel Kevin Murphy’s brief consideration of the North Channel.
Why is the English Channel the Everest of Open Water Swimming? English Channel swimmers can be defensive when the English channel is dismissed by those who haven’t swum it.
Just Wow. Frenchman and quadriplegic Phillipe Croizon crosses English Channel.
North Channel & others
Tom Blower and the first successful North Channel swim. An external account of the first North Channel swim from the Sports Illustrated archives.
Finbarr Hedderman and the North Channel – V – “That’s It, I’m Done.” Into the second half of the swim.
Finbarr Hedderman and the North Channel – VI – The Sharp End. What happened at the end.
Mercedes Gleitze and the Vindication Swim. A story from the early days of Channel Swimming by the first person to attempt the North Channel.
Guest article – Wayne Soutter’s historic & new North Channel route swim report – Part 1. Wayne Soutter’s pioneering North Channel Mull of Galloway swim account.
Wayne Soutter’s historic new North Channel route – Part 3. The concluding part of Wayne’s account.
“I Know Nothing” – Amazing Stephen Redmond talks about 2011. Stephen Redmond was the first person to complete the Ocean’s Seven series of swims.
44 Miles of Hell – Stephen Redmond’s Molokai swim report. Stephen’s own account of his Molokai swim.
Stephen Redmond’s own Cook Strait report & GPS – Widowmaker swim. Stephen’s own account of his Cook Strait swim.
“Kampei Time, Baby!” – Tsugaru Channel by Steve Redmond. Another personal account from Stephen Redmond.
Two men. Two Channels. Two Heroes. Two heroes andl friends of mine, Robert Bohane & Stephen Redmond.
Six hour swim in sub-eleven degree Celsius water – my longest very cold water swim. Just one day of Channel training. Just one day In hell.
Considering Diana Nyad, the Lance Armstrong swim of marathon swimming?
The Diana Nyad Controversy, a personal reflection – Part 4 – Assisted or Unassisted? Assisted. The jury has spoken.
The Diana Nyad Controversy, a personal reflection – Part 5 – Probity & Integrity. One of the most passionately-felt articles I’ve written.
Manhattan Island Marathon Swim
A report and analysis of the controversial 2013 swim. Another series that made a few people angry but which wasn’t refuted.
Finally here’s an actual swim report of my own from the MIMS 2012 swim. Ever since I’ve been referred to by the MIMS organiser as “an Irish blog“!