Scilly Swim Challenge Updates

Preparation and relaxation

30/11/2018 20:20
Apost from 2017 by Beth French, the first person to swim mainland to Scilly and our swim ambassador
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The Scilly Swim Challenge is a hot ticket, has been since its inception. So it was only natural to expand. And with the 2 day event, it is even more inclusive and accessible. So, what next?


The waters around the Isles of Scilly look like the Caribbean but are fresher than that at any time of year. Its one of the challenges swimmers face in the September event. So, upping the anti- going in May..... only a degree or 2 cooler, but what a difference that can make! The hardy winter swimmer is on the rise and as yet there is pretty much only the Cork distance week to set your sights on and that is a gruelling matter of attrition. And a week.


The beauty of the isles and the challenge of tackling channels is a perfect antidote to those who aren't afraid to the cold, who want to test themselves and their resolve. The care and support from the crew of the challenge is second to none, which means that you are free to push yourself even more.


Not wanting to teach grandmothers to suck eggs, but I was thinking about how I would have approached swimming in May, given that I am a confirmed skins swimmer. It is doable- I did my 6hr qualifier last year in 11.4'c water, so here are my top tips.....


1) Relax
It seems obvious, but the excitement of an event, especially a challenging one, tends to raise the heart rate. I start to focus on slowing my breath, deepening my exhalation at least an hour before I am due to get wet. It takes the edge off the adrenaline, which will only serve to tighten muscles, restrict blood flow and so make you feel colder.



2) Relax
On entering the water, breathe out long and hard and start swimming. Lengthen your stroke, focus only on the out breath. The body will be doing the inhale bit - short sharp inhalations. Focus on the opposite to avoid hyperventilation. Long, slow out breaths. Also try and soften your lower abdomen. You store a lot of blood in your legs. Even if you're not using them much with a wetsuit, relaxing your pelvis allows better blood flow through your femoral artery, making you feel looser and helping avoid stiffening up when you get out to walk.



3) Relax
Smile. It's fun, if a little daft, what you are doing. And smiling has far reaching physiological and psychological benefits. Your body will adjust better to the different environment if you are happy and relaxed.



4) Drink warm drink before you start
I find it really helps me to relax if I am warm and fuzzy on the inside. If available have a warm drink; Ovaltine, hot chocolate, even hot water. Caffeine raises the adrenaline so doesn't help points 1-3 so personally I would avoid coffee. The water will wake you up plenty!!



5) Pack carefully
Getting warm and if skins swimming, dry (ish) will help you be ready for the next swim. I swear by Eskeez thermals as they are designed to cope with water and I found on my Scilly challenges that they dont feel wet on the 5th and 6th changeover. 



6) Enjoy yourself
Its gonna be great, but one of the best things about the Scilly swim challenge is that it is a personal challenge. More of a group expedition that allows personal endeavour, but very much an expedition rather than a competition. And with the select group you have going this year, I can guarantee you will know everyone by the end of the day. Be open, be honest and have a ball.

Travel Discounts with Isles of Scilly Travel

30/11/2018 19:06
Discounts are now available for the Scillonian III ferry and Skybus flights.
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The discount of 10% is only available for phone bookings (+44(0) 1736 334220) and not on their website.
Participants and supporters will have to clearly quote  "Scilly Swim Challenge" at the time of booking for these discounts to be offered and refunds will not be given to those booking on line or via the reservation centre who have not quoted the cupon code. 
Bookings within the following dates are eligible.
  • May event: discount available for travel from Saturday 18th May to Friday 31st May (excluding Saturday 25th May)
  • July event: discount available for travel from Thursday 25th July to Tuesday 30th July  (excluding Saturday 27th July)
  • September events: discount available for travel from Saturday 31st August to Saturday 14th September (no excluded dates)


More details of timetables and routes at www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk