IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
edited March 2012 in Beginner Questions
Can this really be a marathon swimmers forum without a discussion of logistics? I'll start:

My first beyond-10K swim will be in October for Swim the Suck. I'm just beginning to understand the logistics required. I needed a kayaker (thanks wifey), I'll need nutrition (hey! that's another discussion topic!), I'll probably need to organize more stuff that I'm not thinking of.

Then I hope to attempt a little something I'm calling an Inter-Island Swim in the Catalina Channel in summer 2013. Holy crap, I'll need a boat, a pilot, a coach, a bunch of swag for my helpers, oh, and helpers...

You guys have done all this stuff already...help us newcomers out!


  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin
    edited March 2012
    You need Freda Streeter's swim list for starter (or a local equivalent) ! Let me dig it out and get back to you.

    Edit: Mike, short of time, gone all day tomorrow, will get it Saturday hopefully. Remind me if I forget.

    http://www.loneswimmer.com The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited March 2012
    Honestly, the best way to figure this stuff out is trial by fire. Freda's list will help, and possibly mine, but there's no substitute for experience. It took me 3-4 big swims before I was a well-oiled machine. Swim the Suck is a great place to start.
  • AnneAnne La Jolla CA USACharter Member
    Evan is right... it is trial by fire! You can learn a lot about yourself during your long training swims. Once you've done a few of those you'll start to know what you need, like and don't like. Try out different feeds and feed intervals, practice swimming at night, try out different goggles, chafing goop and sunscreen. When it's all said and done, on game day keep it simple would be my best advice. Work it all out in advance on your training swims and on game day don't think, just swim.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    Volunteer to crew and/or observe... the closest you can get to a swim without getting wet.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    Thanks all.

    It would be hard for me to volunteer, unless I can find someone on the east coast close to DC doing some sort of long swim. (Why aren't there "channel" crossings on the east coast?) I'll be retiring from the military and starting a new job, thus I'll be starting all over from the bottom with respect to vacation days.
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    Anyone who's seen me in action on a boat will know that crewing's not really an option (pass the bucket and stand back) - but I did find it useful to talk to experienced crew / observers before my Channel swim. They have a great insight not only into what the swimmer might need, but also what you can do for your crew to make the process easier for them.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    Mike, NYC Swim hosts 2 marathon swim events... MMS and Ederle. Both are escorted by motorized boats and both require official observers. www.nycswim.org

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    edited March 2012
    I know the NY swims! I meant specifically a crossing.
    I do have Ederle on my radar. That's the 17-miler, yes?
    My 2012 season is still a work in progress. New job new home. But I hope to have a more concrete 2013 season.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    I am working on a Plymouth to Provincetown swim with a few others. Hopefully we can work out all the logistics this season, and it will become a regular offering.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    @IronMike I agree with Dave... MIMS and Ederle aren't technically channel crossings, but in terms of crew experience, in most respects they are equivalent (perhaps somewhat more predictable conditions in NY Harbor & rivers than in an actual channel). Catalina is really the outlier - because of the overnight aspect.
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    edited March 2012
    Agree Evan. My parenthetical was just a thought in the middle of my typing.

    Edit: Looking at a map of the northeast, there seem to be lots of islands one could swim to or from. I was wondering why I can't find any established crossings in that area...
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Observing MIMS last year was a great experience! got to see a well oiled crew/swimmer team in action (between barfs)
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    I wish I'd had a chance to crew before my first swim, but I was lucky to have the great Craig Lenning around to answer my million questions, to give me my first sample of Maxim, to suggest training tips (20k pool swim, anyone?), and to generally help keep the motivation going. The best way to learn, without crewing, is by asking a million questions and just getting out there and trying. Long training swims are a good start. And good training partners help, too!
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin
    edited March 2012
    Freda Streeter's English Channel Swim Prep List, via 'Charlie' (Round Jersey) Gravett. I haven;'t touched the original but everyone has their own changes, and it's a useful checklist for crew.


    Swimming Costumes
    Swimming Goggles and Spares: One pair clear goggles (if you swim into the dark you will need them)

    Swimming Hat and Spares
    Old warm, loose clothes for after the swim
    Blanket or Old Sleeping Bag

    Fruit Sugar
    Mouthwash (make sure your crew mix 50/50 or it will burn your delicate mouth)
    Tea Bags
    Maxim Electrolyte
    Chocolate Bars
    Cadburys Chocolate Rolls
    Milky Ways go down a treat and do not stick to the roof of your mouth
    Food for your crew
    Cups or Feeding Bottles
    Bottled Water (Plenty)
    (Use only litre bottles; your crew cannot manage to pour from
    Larger bottles)
    Please put chargers for phones and cameras on board
    Purchase a cheap throw away underwater camera to take on board, if conditions are right and you have a swimmer going to the beach with you, they can put the camera down their costume and take pictures of you finishing or on the beach (make sure it has a flash, in case you land at night
    Food for your crew

    Compiled by Freda Streeter ‘The Channel General’


    I have selfishly and ungraciously purloined this check list from Freda; she is to me the most knowledgeable Channel trainer and for that alone is worth listening too. It may not all be pertinent to a Round Jersey swim but much is and if you’re ‘going on’ to the ultimate day out – take it with you. You won’t regret it!
    ‘Charlie’ Gravett

    http://www.loneswimmer.com The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    Looking at a map of the northeast, there seem to be lots of islands one could swim to or from. I was wondering why I can't find any established crossings in that area...

    If it hasn't been done, that means you can be the first! Take one of those untouched crossings and make it yours, Mike!
  • jenschumacherjenschumacher Los Angeles, CAGuest
    To Freda's list, I add sunscreen (plus plenty for your crew...they may not think about it and will thank you later) and zinc oxide for a sunnier swim. After a Hawaii swim my lips just about fell off from not having any and I couldn't eat solids for days; won't make that mistake again! Also a laminated feed schedule is helpful for your crew.

    In terms of crew logistics, I always insist on a pre-swim crew meeting (and if people cannot make it they have to skype in) - especially helpful if you have crew that are not particularly experienced. I try to get the observer(s) there also and they help lead the meeting. Points of discussion are the day's schedule (time of arrival to boat, departure, swim start, etc.), boat rules and pilot likes/dislikes (for Catalina, no coolers on Outrider, no bananas on Bottomscratcher, etc.), things crew should bring, things crew can and cannot say (ex: do NOT answer me when I ask you how much further!), things you as a swimmer respond well to (encouragement, cheering, or maybe something else), tentative schedule of support swimmers if you have them (and kayak schedule if kayakers present). Be as detailed as you can and just like your training, go through every foreseeable aspect so when the day comes, it's like your crew has already gone through it.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin
    Family tip: As your partner/significant other steps into the water, with nothing a horizon and choppy water in front of them, chasing a dream years in the making... you blubbering should not the last thing they see as they swim off!

    (Not my partner, but something I saw in Dover last year). @-)

    http://www.loneswimmer.com The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    You should also encourage family members and loved ones to refrain from referring to an upcoming Catalina Channel swim as "that shark swim" ... (I'm happy to lend out my wonderful Mum for motivational speaking engagements...).
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    I'm going to try and volunteer for Tampa Bay. We've got family in the area and need to go visit them, so what better way to combine two things I love? Will check out Rob's distance matters site to find out about volunteer opportunities.
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    And btw, Swim the Suck went well. My uncle kayaked for me, when the wife and I couldn't get someone to cover down on kid-watching. Feeding went great and my uncle (and his son) asked me about a month later if I needed them for my Inter-Island swim!
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