Saturday, August 22, 2009

From WILL: One last post

So here we are. One week has passed from the big swims. Jeff and Alicia are living the high life in Paris. Cathy and I are hanging out in London and Adam and Amy are in Jasper, wishing they had taken more vacation (right?).

This swim would not have been possible without all of our families and YOUR support from the start. Thank you for your encouragement and posts!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

From Adam: WOW

The table and chairs are no longer moving- so I thought I'd add a few more thought.

The English Channel crossing was an amazing day filled with excitement, pain, humiliation, and extreme happiness (when my hands were scraping the sand).

This goal could not have been met without many great people participating/supporting in this journey.

My amazing family was not only able to put up with me waking them at all hours to go swim around and around lakes (and pools)- they also made the trip here to share in the fun.  Amy, Todd, and Zach were also the best support crew on the boat a swimmer could have.  No matter how many times I asked them- they would not tell me how far we actually were from the white cliffs in France.  Thankfully they let me remain delusional thinking I had about 20 minutes remaining- for THREE hours.  Abby, Stacy, and Emily had to return early for work- otherwise I might have convinced Abby to fess up about the distance.  Mimi may have had the toughest task of the day- keeping Lance, Luke, and Ross in line back at the house (wonder how many bananas she had to dole out

Thanks to the Jasper swim crew- who put up with many long, exciting workouts in preparation.  Don't worry the hard pool workouts will continue (thought up some doozies out there).  We also had some fellow crazy people who accompanied me on open water swims in Christmas and Patoka Lakes- for up to six hours at a time.  They made training fun!  Thanks to them and more importantly their families for letting them come out to play.

Two very good friends- Jeff and Will.  What great swims they had in tough conditions doled out by the Channel!  Good thing they didn't fill me in on all the details until after my swim.  We had some great fun training together with the crew at Dick's dock at Morse reservoir in Indy.  Thanks for being such good friends.

Thanks to Mel, Kris, George and the ISF (Indy Swim Fit) gang for mentoring and support.  What a great crew!!
I'll no longer fear the 3rd fifty (buttercup).

Amazing all the emails and comments on blog throughout this time from great supporters/friends.  I couldn't believe all the support from Jasper, Indy, and across the country!  Those thoughts were very helpful getting through those times of wonder- yes there were a few of those times.  They were actually relaying messages to me throughout the swim from the blog- thanks.

Thanks to everyone- now get out there and tackle your goals!!!

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From Adam

Hello all:

We made it home and I'm getting a quick bite to eat before going to
bed after a big day. A bigger blog will be posted in the morning.
Thanks for all the awesome comments.


From Jeff: Land HO

Adam has landed in France. Time is around 10:45ish. 100% success for
ISF in the Channel. Way to go Adam. More to follow I'm sure once he
has his wits about him and we have our celebratory pint at the White
Horse of course.

From Jeff

Ada is one mile out from a point south of Wissant. He's trying to
catch some sort of tide into the beach. Expecting one more feed and
about 30 minutes more of swimming.

From Jeff

Adam is fighting tough and hanging trying to catch the tide into Cap
Griz Nez. Having technical difficulties on our land lines at the
moment, but are doing 30 minute checks with the boat crew (Todd) to
see what it looks like. May be another hour and he's home free. COME

From Jeff: Wind is Picking Up

Adam is now battling stronger winds --they're up to 15 knots -- and
he's fighting the tide, but the man is swimming on! Go Adam.

From Jeff:

Adam's crew reports he was downright chatty during the last feed -- a
great sign. C'mon Adam, go get your rock!

From Jeff:

Adam's crew has switched up their game plan a bit. He's getting
Gatorade every other stop now. He's nine hours in and still hanging
tough. Go Adam.

From Jeff: Six Hours In

The latest report from the boat is that Adam is still swimming well,
keeping his stroke count up, and is keeping nutrition down.

From Jeff: He's Halfway to France

Adam has entered the second shipping lane, so he's halfway there.
Conditions are still pretty good, although the wind has kicked up, but
he's still fighting and doing well. Keep the encouragement coming!

Update from Jeff: Adam's Progress

Adam's still chugging along, but has come up on a rough patch
(expected in the Channel) and is having difficulty keeping down
nutrition. We need some positive words from the faithful to pull him
through to the other side. BRING IT HOME ADAM!!!!!!!!

From Jeff: He's Flying!

Adam's coming up on the 3.5 hour feed. Well into the first shipping
lane. Conditions have gotten better. France can be seen in the
distance. Not quite half-way.

From Jeff: Adam Update

At 11 local time -- 2 hours into his swim -- Adam is still going
strong. There are nine swimmers out today, and Adam has already passed
several. He was last to leave the marina, but is hoping to be the
first one to hit France.

From Jeff: Adam's In the Water

Adam started at 9:04. Todd reported two feeds in, conditions look
good, the sun is out, and there are no white horses.

From WILL: Adam is in the water

Adam is in the water at 9:04am local time

From Alicia: Photos of Jeff's Swim

Thanks to everyone who sent messages to Jeff. It was amazing to hear
how many people were following him and cheering him on. My thanks to
Will for crewing with me. He's a good guy to have in your corner.
Good luck to Adam today!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Update from Jeff

I'm going to have to keep it brief for this evening, but I promise
more tomorrow after I can actually move my arms above my elbows.
Thanks to some great piloting and crewmanship from Alicia and Will, I
made it landing somewhere in France in 11:40. All I know is that it
was a soft landing on a sandy beach which is perfectly fine with me.
Although, I will say that the hours of continuous white horses was not
such a good experience. If anyone is curious about how swimming in a
white horse feels like, roll down the longest hill in you neighborhood
for 5 hours straight and then try to stand up. In any event, chalk
another successful Channel crossing for Indy Swimfit (by the way
congrats on your success at USMS Nats; job well done coaches and all).

I want to thank the countless individuals who have provided us support
over the course of our training and throughout our swims. To say it
is a little overwhelming would be an understatement. However, we're
not done. Please tune in tomorrow for Adam's swim. He goes off at 8
or so in the morning. Will and I will try to keep the blog up to date
as soon as we receive information from the Dawkins' crew. We hope to
be signing the wall and having a pint at the White Horse tomorrow

Take care all and keep up the great support.

You're all the greatest.

From Todd: Late Breaking News

We have just received the call at midnight to meet at the boat
tomorrow at 8 AM. This is fantastic news, as the predicted wind
conditions had already led to our getting a cancellation from the
captain earlier this evening. Amazingly though, the weather according
to the captain has "completely turned around" for the better. Let's
hope and pray it stays the course from now until then.

will keep you posted ...

From Adam


More details to come- maybe from the Man...

They have about a three hour boat ride back.

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From Adam

SPRINTING for the beach!!!- 3/8 mile to go (wonder what he saw on beach).
Let's keep him going.

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From Adam

Jeff can see the people on the beach!!!!

Wonder what they are thinking? (?crazy American)

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From Adam

30 MINUTES OUT!!!!!!

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From Adam

Hour 10:  He is now holding everything down.  They now have a destination-- Wissant!!!
Getting close!  

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From Adam

Just over nine hours and he's in French waters!!!

Triple loaded Maxim is not always sitting well- but he's somehow continuing to hold his pace and stroke count.

They are estimating about 2 more hours.  

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From Adam

They are just past eight hours and looking incredibly strong.  Waves are up to six feet- but Jeff's stroke count is not waivering.  
Will and Alicia are tripling up the Maxim- seems to have helped.  Captain Lance says in three hours we'll be bloody close!!!

The boat will soon be out of Will's cell range- so updates may slow.  Keep the good comments coming!

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From Adam

Jeff is over six hours in!  Sounds like he has run into some big patches of seaweed (almost as good as GU).  He is still catching and passing other swimmers.  Winds are up to 12 knots and white horses have come out to join him, but sounds like he is staying positive.
Will and Alicia are starting to mix up Maxim to keep him going (Strong British Gatorade).

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From Adam: Jeff update

Jeff is still going strong. He has passed three swimmers so far.
Conditions look good - water is 18 deg C and the wind is 11 knots.

From Adam: Jeff Looking Good

Here is the latest from Will:

Over an hour in, feedings are going well, and Jeff is looking great.

From Todd and Adam: Tune in for Radio Interview from the Boat with Will

Hello all:

Hear is some very cool breaking news –
If you live in Indy be sure to tune into 93.1 WIBC at 7:45 EST this
morning (Monday, 8/11) to hear the live interview with Will from the
boat as he and Alicia crew for Jeff.

From Todd and Adam: "It's On" ... part three! Jeff is Away!

Good morning all. As of 8:05 BST(3:05 EST) Jeff has been flexing some
muscle in the channel with Alicia and Will crewing at his side.
According to Will he left from Shakespeare beach, "looking like a
sprinter." So grab a cup of coffee and track Jeff as he racks up one
major stroke count.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

From JEFF: Swim Moved to Monday

Well it was set for this evening at 6 p.m., but the wind picked up over the course of the afternoon and there were white caps from here to France. My pilot (now Lance Oram) said it wouldn't have been worth it to dump me in the water tonight and we'll give it another go in the morning. We're set for 7:00 a.m. tomorrow. Now I can start and finish in the daylight. Good thing is I will be able to see....We hope.

From WILL: False Start

Sorry, the swim was postponed due to high winds (don't you love this?). We went down to the boat at 6 with everything ready to go only to find Lance chillin' in the boat with the bad news. Tomorrow morning looks more promising and we are heading down to the boat at 7AM.

As mentioned in the previous post, Jeff will now be swimming with Lance Oram on Sea Satin. I've updated the tracking link under Jeff's name at the right to point to Sea Satin. Sea Satin has a better tracking device on it so I think you will be pleased with the real time tracking as opposed to the system I stuck y'all with.

Best wishes to Jeff (again)!

From Alicia: And He's On It...

Jeff got the green light this afternoon. Right now conditions are
favorable, so unless the winds kick up, he'll be going out after 6
p.m. local time (1 p.m Eastern). That means he'll be swimming a good
chunk in the dark overnight. He's OK with that -- just ready to get on
with it. Amazingly, he's taking a nap right now. The guy is so chill,
ice I swear ice runs through his veins.

Jeff will be on a different boat than originally planned. He'll be on
Sea Satin with Adam's pilot. If you want to track him today, I think
you should be able to if you click "track Adam."

Thanks everyone for the good wishes. The support has meant a lot.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

From Adam and Todd: Another Day of Waiting

Hello All

Today was a beautiful day here in southeast England with sun and warm
temps apart from the high winds. Our sources tell us that winds in the
channel reached nearly 25 knots, which does not make for any sort of
an attempt. We did enjoy getting a taste of the wind-aided "white
horses" (white caps) in the harbor along with a few good mouthfuls of
salt water for Todd.

After speaking with the boat captain this evening, we will not be
swimming tomorrow morning due to the winds, but we may have an
opportunity tomorrow night. The start times tomorrow are approximately
7am and 5pm. A more likely attempt for Adam will likely come on Monday
or Tuesday. We are trying to remain patient and hopeful for the our
"opportunity for greatness."


Adam and Todd

A few pics....

Long overdue, but I had to gather them up.

From Alicia: Indy Star Feature

Read it here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

From Todd: The Waiting Game Continues

Hello All:

There will be no swimming tonight (Saturday morning) on the channel
from Adam and Jeff. Sunday doesn't look promising either - high winds.
Today, we raided the Dover Castle and enjoyed many history lessons
from Henry II royal lines through WWII secret tunnels. (It shouldn't
be a surprise to you that Will was already up touring around the
castle grounds after his epic efforts yesterday.)

Keep you posted ...


Thursday, August 13, 2009

From Jeff: And So We Wait

After a day of anticipation, looks like we'll be waiting for a bit
longer. My pilot told me this evening that Adam and I were next in
line to go, and it looks like we may get our chance tomorrow
afternoon. I'll know more by midday.

From Adam and Todd: Congrats Will! ... and swimming update

Way to go Will! What an unbelievable display of mental toughness. You seized your opportunity for greatness, whereas we heard 5 of the 11 who started with you touched the boat and abandoned their attempt. That is one fantastic day with the conditions you faced. 

As for Adam, he will not be swimming tonight, but there is a slight chance he or Jeff could go tomorrow around 5 pm - we will let you know.



From WILL: 2 down, 2 to go

We did it! Cathy & Randy pushed me through the hardest event I've ever done (even harder than childbirth, well at least it was for me) and I finished in France just south of Cap Blanc after 11:45 of swimming. It all started at 3:30 from Shakespeare beach just as the wind picked up (all the other smart swimmers went at 2:30 from down the coast). I swallowed some salt water early, rode 4hrs of nasty waves and puked for the next 4 hours. Cathy was so supportive that she puked too for that period just so I wouldn't feel lonely :D.

Randy, Allison (pilot) and Jim (observer) came up with the miracle cure of a 4oz. drink of 8x strength Maxim (carb drink) that broke the cycle about 1:30 into a severe bonk that had me unbelievably close to touching the boat and quiting. I got up to nearly 50% mental capacity and only yaked one more time before arriving in France.

Cathy and Randy were outstanding and I would be writing a difference story (with my tail between my legs) without them.

My parents were even able to hook up with me at the beach in France using GPS from the boat! How cool is that!

Sounds like the AIS tracking was not working today. Adam and Jeff's pilots use a different system (not run by volunteers) and it has been extremely reliable.

That's abridged version because I have had to rest my arms 4 times while writing this and eat a box of nutrigrain bars to keep the lightheadedness away. Time for some sleep.

Actually, one other thing, tomorrow looks like a good day for Jeff and possibly Adam if 2 spots are open with their pilots so check back tonight for more news. Cheers!

From Jeff & Alicia: Congrats Will!

Word from Will's boat is that he completed his swim and met his
parents on the beach in France. Details to follow when he returns to

From Jeff & Alicia: Thursday 8/13 Update

Our tide window officially starts today. Just to update ya'll on the
situation here in Dover. Will is swimming right now and should be on
or approaching the French coastline as we speak. He left at 3:30 or
so this morning and we've been receiving periodic text messages
updating us on his status throughout the course of the morning. I'm
expecting to post good news on his successful landing shortly. Adam
and I are still awaiting our call. We did have an opportunity to go
at 1:00 a.m. this morning, but the call came about 8:30 last night
after our pilot had already informed us that the weather was iffy and
would be so through the weekend, plus I would have been working on
about 3 hours of sleep after just getting here on Tuesday afternoon.
Needless to say Adam and I were both of the same mindset and it just
didn't feel right, so we declined. However, today both of us are
raring to go and are simply waiting for the call. It didn't help that
we could see France from the Harbor before our swim today. We
actually thought about hijacking a canoe and asking Alicia to take our
food packs. GIven the circumstances we deferred and decided to allow
our pilots to coordinate the swim. Check with us Tuesday if the swim
hasn't happened, Alicia will definitely need to get her paddle arms
on. That's all for now and we should know more after 7 p.m. this
evening (that's 2 p.m. EST/1 p.m. CDT).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mention in the Indy Star

Today's online edition of the Indy Star makes mention of the upcoming swims.

Read it here.

From WILL: 12 hours 'til swim time

My team is confirmed for a 3:30am (10:30EST) start time tomorrow morning. The AIS tracker may not show up on the website until 12:30 EST or a bit later so don't be alarmed if you don't see the boat on screen. This has been a long time in the works and I'm very glad to have my shot coming now.

Adam & Jeff's Pilot's don't confirm swim times until 7:15 the night before so we don't have any updates on them right now.

We are also pulling for Jordan who will be swimming with Pace Arrow tomorrow morning. Jordan is here from Canada and we met him at the beach on Tuesday.

Thank you for all of your support and pray for good weather.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

From Will: Its getting closer

Ali (my pilot) has set a date for Thursday AM as the best chance for my swim. All of the swims got cancelled for early this morning due to unexpected weather so anything is possible. I'll know better tomorrow evening. Adam is still going day to day, calling each night to determine if he'll swim the next morning. Thursday is the official start of the tide and we are afraid that is when the reservation priority order will start.

Adam, Todd, and Zach and I had a great swim this morning in the harbor. It's about 65deg so that is good news for all. We met swimmers from Canada, Rockford, IL, Australia, and India at the beach. It's been cool to meet people from all over the world who come for this swim.

Jeff just arrived after being stuck on a plane with a flight attendant buzzer that was stuck on for the entire trip from O'hare. After Jeff went swimming we met the coach of a 15-year old Indian swimmer who, with a successful channes swim, will be the first person to swim all 9 seas.

Well Cathy, Randy, & Allison will make it in tomorrow so I'll have a complete crew. It'll be a rush from Heathrow to the boat.

FROM WILL: 1 down, 3 to go...

Stuart Nightenhalser finished yesterday with an unofficial time of 13:48. He was incredibly focused and very consistent in speed and stroke all the way across. The conditions were everything from Morse-like to 3-4 waves with white horses. Excellent work Stuart!
As soon as he touched France the weather went to hell. The boat was never stable from that point on with waves that crashed in the bow and put spray all the way to the 54' long stern. Superman Stuart had no problem sitting below deck noozing and I was above and below trying to figure out the best way to keep my lunch down.

That weather change was a bit of a surprise and most (if not all) swims that were scheduled to leave this morning were cancelled (as todd and adam mentioned). It looks like a Wednesday or Thursday swim for me and Adam is going day to day and will know tonight if he's swimming tomorrow at 1am.

The text update plan didn't work (obviously) because Virgin Mobile sucks. I'm going to shop for other carriers today.

Monday, August 10, 2009

From Todd and Adam: swim attempt cancelled for tonight

Hello all:

Adam just got off the phone with news that the weather was too
unpredictable for an attempt to be made tonight - high winds and
gusts. We were packed and ready to go, but that will have to wait for
our next opportunity, which may come as early as Wednesday around 1-2

We will keep you posted with the latest news as it happens. By the
way, great swimming ISF at nationals! We have been keeping close tabs
on all of your fast swimming, especially you Clarke - "Let's get it on!"

Todd and Adam

Sunday, August 9, 2009

From Todd and Adam: Getting a Good Night Sleep

Hello All:

We would like to officially announce that we had our first round of
fish and chips this afternoon. (We are also happy to announce it
wasn't the first round of ales.) More importantly, we had a great swim
in the harbor with Will and Zach this morning. We couldn't get enough,
however Zach got out after 20 minutes ... breaststroker!

It appears that Adam will be getting the call to go for it Tuesday
morning at 1:30 am ... as Will said, "game on!" We look forward to
posting our progress as we stroke, kick, feed, puke, and shiver our
way across those North Atlantic waters of the English Channel.


Todd and Adam


Adam and I just got our first swim in this morning in the harbour. It was fantastic and the scenery with the Dover Castle in the background was breathtaking. The water was suprisingly warm, measuring 65 close to the shore and there are rumors of 68 degree water closer to France. We got to meet Freda Streeter, "The channel general", who over sees channel swimming training in the harbor and has done so every weekend of the season for decades and she showed us the ropes.

Also, I've added Stuart Nightenhalser, another Indy swimmer, to the blog. He is over here for a swim on the same tide we are. Stuart is swimming tonight at around 1am local time (8PM EST) and I'm going to be crewing for him. I'm also going to try out txt updates to see if that system will work.

The weather in the channel has been quite good lately and there are rumors of bad weather coming in Friday of this week. The official start of our tide is Thursday the 13th and the best spot between us is 3rd so the pilots have requested that we try to go early. Keep watching the blog for dates but it looks like Adam may go early in the week and I may go Wednesday and most of the swims lately have been leaving in the middle of the night.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

FROM WILL: Just arrived in Dover....

Adam and I just arrived in Dover after getting simultaneously screwed on arrival times, custome, rental cars, and phones. Its all good now and we'll be swimmin' in the morning. Life is Good!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Less than 3 weeks to go!

Finally our swim is almost here. Adam, Jeff, and I have a swim times lined up for the Aug 13th-18th neap tide. Between now and then our plan is to update this site with the last days of training, the final swim dates & times (usually set the day before the swim), and technology allowing, real time updates from the boat during this swim.

Thanks to to our families and especially our patient wives for sticking with us for almost 2 years of training. And thanks to YOU for your interest and continued support as we enter the final weeks of this endeavor.

Our taper has finally started after an outstanding swim in Lake Michigan over the weekend. We were able to meet up with a speedy Erica Rose, speedy channel veteran Mallory Meed, and channel guru Marcia Cleveland to kick off one last 6+ hour cold(ish) water swim. The Chicago skyline was stunning as usual and Michael, our kayaker did a great job keeping us fed and safe from boats. We even had a fly-by from the coast guard to wish us well.

Some background on the Swim:
Distance: 20.5 miles straight across but swims can take much longer with the tides
Temperature: Typically 59-62 deg but currently 62.8deg as of this post
Rules: You can wear a speedo, a cap, goggles, and grease (i.e. no floaties or wetsuits). No touching the boat and no buoyancy or speed aids.
History: Just over 1000 swimmers have made it across the channel since Matthew Webb first crossed in 1857. More people have been to space and more have climbed Mt. Everest. See if you are a stats junkie like me.