“I have a question”

10 Questions Asked when Training for a Marathon swim.

During the past year, I’ve been asked similar questions over and over again, I think this covers the answers to those of you that haven’t asked all the questions yet! 🙂


# 10 – Oh you swim, how far is the English Channel / Catalina Channel.?

As the Crow flies, it is 21miles to cross the channels. But as there are currents in the sea, you don’t swim a straight line. So be ready to swim longer than 21miles. (Cue lots of ooohhhss and aaaahhhs).

English Channel route

My English Channel Swim route


# 9 – What about Sharks / Jellyfish / ships / ferries.?

We swim in their home (Jellyfish/sharks etc), so yes, they could be about. I don’t like Jellyfish, but I put up with them, and as for sharks, I don’t think about them much. The Ferries/ships, they are bigger than me, but I trust that my boat captain/pilot and crew will guide me safely to the other side.


Tanker Dodging in the EC


# 8 – Does it cost much.?

Yes, lots, but it is my choice to sign the contract with the boat pilot and swim, no one makes me do it, so I pay for my hobby (it’s an expensive one) but one I choose. And it’s not always thousands!, some of my swims are local and cost much less. I am not an elite athlete, I work full time and I swim part time!. (work to live motto).



# 7 – You don’t wear a wetsuit.? Why Not.?

Official ‘Open Water Marathon rules’ are no wetsuits, just togs (swimsuit), and goggles, and 1 hat.

# 6 – How do you train for something like that.?

Balancing the work/life/training is something I am very mindful of, but I average about 15hours of training a week, between pool/sea/gym. Sometimes it’s a little more, sometimes less, depending on my plan. I train most days before I go to work (6.30-8.00am), a few evenings, and do my longer training sets at the weekend when I have more time. I take at least one day off a week from all exercise. Recovery is as important as training.

# 5 – Are you not hungry/tired all the time.?

Hungry, yes, it got to the stage, if I didn’t eat every 2 hours, I was hunting for food/snacks. But I do eat reasonably well mostly, not garbage food just for the sake of eating. As for sleeping, I inherited my Dads genes on that one, I don’t sleep much more than 6hrs a night, 8hrs would be a lie in day!, but I do love my weekend power naps!


# 4 – When Are you doing your swim.?

Most swims in the sea are weather dependent. Usually we narrow down a ‘window or week’ of when we want to swim, and then we wait for best conditions, of wind/tide etc. So this answer is always vague, I spent the summer saying I was swimming the English channel at the end of August, I knew it would happen at some stage over a 10 day period, I just had to wait for my boat pilot to call me and say wind/tide were good enough to go out. Sometimes, we get ‘weathered out’ and don’t get to do our swims, but that is the nature of Open Water Swimming, you have to be relaxed and ready and not get hyped up too soon. What will be, will be.

# 3 – How Long will it take to swim the channel.?

The question that is so hard to answer. If you run a marathon, and have done the training, you have an idea of how long it’s going to take you. With Open Water swimming, we don’t always know. The wind/tide/current all have huge parts to play in how long you will be in the water. Everything aligned, and we might have an idea of how long something should take (based on training speeds etc), but changing weather conditions mid swim, could add hours to a crossing, so we always prepare to swim for longer than we think we will do. I trained for a 12hr + English Channel swim, was mentally/physically ready for much more, but I crossed it in 10hrs 18min, everything aligned that day for me. I was fit and strong and conditions were good, and pilot guided me across superbly. I was one of the lucky ones.


2 – What do you eat while swimming the channel.?

We mainly drink (special energy/carb drinks), and sometimes we like treats, I may have had some Barrys Tea and some fruit mid way in the channel!. But our stops for ‘feeds/fuel’ are brief (I take 250ml of carb drink every 30mins – it takes me about 10sec to drink it and get going again). We are not allowed to touch the boat during a ‘feed stop’, so we thread water and drink our bottle that was thrown on a rope, and go!.

Feed Stop

Feed Stop – mid Channel Swim!


1 – WHY do it.?

Why not. We are not here for an easy life, that would be boring.


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Bye for a while

Sorry for lack of updates, I had intended on posting more, but training (and eating) got in the way, there has been a lot of that recently.

After a super trip to Mallorca, BestFest Open water swim week at the end of May, I was set up nicely to swim the sea full time when I came home (albeit, about 9degress colder here than the crystal clear 21deg water there).


Somehow June became a blur, more training and eating, and now its July. How I ‘lost’ a month I have no idea.

So now the time has come to zip up the bags and head to LA for my first big swim of the summer, Catalina Channel is now only a few days away.

Thanks to all the swimmers who have kept me company, for 1k or 10k of training in the pool or sea, it was always appreciated to have people around. Thanks to Mum and Dad for appearing on random beaches with hot flasks and cakes (and recently torches!).

The Training is done, no regrets, I just have to do a long training swim, that’s what I’m telling myself, it just happens that most of it will be in the dark (sorry for the lack of photos while tracking!).

I am due to start my Catalina Swim on Thursday night (13th), about 11pm local time in LA, which is 7am Irish time, start time will be confirmed by Anna who is on the boat and will let you all know with updates, she has access to my Twitter and Facebook accounts. The Tracker link to follow me on Friday (Irish time) is https://track.rs/carolcashell/  apologies in advance to any bosses for the distractions!! The photos may be limited early on as it’s just going to be me, swimming in the dark, next to a kayak, but hopefully by sunrise things will improve for you all (and for me!).

Lastly, I am fundraising for The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, you can click here to donate, thanks to all who have done that so far, again, appreciated. 🙂

I Promise to write a nice blog post when I come back to tell you all how it went. Good, bad, or indifferent.



Tracker Link, I swim from the Island back towards Mainland.


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The Munchies :)

I’m lucky to be surrounded by many Channel Swimmers in Cork, who are giving invaluable advise as I go through the training. One question they kept asking me was how hungry am I, the answer until the last month of so was “I’m fine, eating relatively normally, maybe a bit more on a plate for dinner”.


But now this is getting out of hand, the marathon swimmer munchies have kicked in. I see why they were asking. I’m an endless pit. It’s no longer funny, I can’t keep myself full. I still eat my normal meals (portions are stupid size), but there is no way I could make it from one meal to the next without something in between. A biscuit or rice cake used to take that feeling away before, now I eat them while I look for the next snack. It’s not all junk food and sugary snacks, I eat plenty of fruit and nuts etc, and my dinners are loaded with veg etc, but if someone put a bar of chocolate in front of me, it’s inhaled without even thinking about it. I may have splurged out on a few too many Easter eggs (they were on offer, I couldn’t leave them in the shop!). This did not happen when I was training for Lake Zurich or for Manhattan swims. Is it an English Channel thing? it must be.

On that note, I’m off to find a snack, I’ve been on the laptop for an hour now, and havn’t eaten and all this talk of food….. hmmmmmmmm

PS – for those wondering, my weight is about the same as I was 6 months ago, give or take a few lbs.! I’m in for some land in September when I have to watch portion sizes again..



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March Madness

So I said in the last post I’d keep you all up to date on the training etc, well let me tell you how March went – NOT TO PLAN – welcome to Marathon training!

February ended well, completed my monthly target mileage in UL with Maeve R, a lovely break from tumble turning every 25m, and swimming in wide 10 lane pool, ahhh they have it nice there in their 50m wide lane pool (sorry can’t hide my jealously)!

I rolled into March, plan in place, knowing what I needed per week to get my monthly target done. I still do other things besides Swim, I run (less than I used to, but still some), I have pilates, and fit in TRX when I can. I like my mixed up balance of exercise.

My running club have been following a couch to 5k programme, and the club members help out on various nights as run mentors. I like this, it suits my kind of run training at the moment, so I volunteer to go with the group one Thursday night when someone else was unable to make it. It was a dark, wet yeuky night, a hat and gloves kinda night, and as I was running along with the group, I stumbled off the side of a footpath and fell, splat, onto the ground, one of those falls when you bounce back up so quick in denial that you actually wiped out in front of a group you are supposed to be mentoring! I continued running the rest of the plan for the night, my knee was sore but pants was intact so thought I Just bruised it. How wrong was I. When I got home later I saw the damage I had actually done, I’ll spare you details, but it wasn’t just a bruise, plenty of bandages later and I could already feel the throbbing through my whole leg. I texted Coach and said I wouldn’t make training in the morning, told her I fell and spared her the exact details for now!

For the next 8-10 days I was out of action, from everything. There was no way the knee and all the oozing cuts could go near a pool, no mind any pounding on a road. I was faced with a forced ‘rest week’. March plans now need to be reshuffled.

During my rest week at least I caught up on batch cooking, sending off last of my swim forms, plenty of sleep, and watching my endless sky+ recordings. I enjoyed the break from the non-stop lifestyle I have at the moment, but after a week, I was ready to get back doing something, instead of nothing.!

By Mid March, I was back ‘working as normal’, there was no way I could chase the missed training, so it was a case of draw a line and move on, do what I can for March, and call it as it was, an interrupted month, but not a lost month, it could have been so much worse.

What was great about March, the sea swims, 🙂 the water is still in single digits (avg about 9deg at the moment, a pool is 28deg!). But it’s time to start building back up the cold water acclimatisation.


Sisterly Madness in March! 🙂

Now March is over, the blip in the figures was only a blip, I’m back doing everything I want to, finished the month with my rescheduled long swim, at least I still got that done, it’s great knowing that I won’t have to do 8+ hours in a pool again 🙂

Onwards to April, this is a 5 weekend month, so plenty of opportunity to fit everything in and still take my one weekend off a month (I’ve been doing that all along, it’s a great reset)..

Bring on the Chocolate, I can not wait for Easter Treats!.

Link to my sponsorship page for those asking, thanks CAROL.





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Finding the Balance

Anyone who has seen me train over the last few months, knows I am training for the Catalina Channel Swim in LA this year. What I have also decided to do is tag on an English Channel swim this summer, in late August. So all the training is for ‘2 in 1 go’.!

When I started to increase my training mileage late last year, and was able to complete it without feeling the effects of the shoulder injury (now well healed – thanks to Physio Owen!), I decided to go ahead an commit to the English Channel solo swim that I had booked.

These winter months of training have their own challenges, from the long pool sessions, to staying healthy, to staying awake (I’ve gone from only needing 6hrs sleep, to now needing at least 7hrs a night), to staying strong with cross training, to grabbing fresh air when running, to keeping myself fed (now eating everything in sight), and to not let all that interfere with the work/home/friends life, finding the balance is not easy, but I know in time any minor sacrifices I’m making now will be worth it in about 6 months!.

I’ve had amazing company so far from swimming friends, every little helps, hopefully they will be just as good to me when it comes to the cold sea swims in May and June!! 🙂

So for now, it’s back to training, filling in last of the paperwork, planning 2 big swims is not straight forward, at least flights are booked to LA and research has started on Disney and Universal passes for post swim treat. Anna (my crew for Catalina) is a movie buff so we’ll have fun doing all the ‘LA things’. As for Dover…… apologies to my EC crew, we’ll do fun things when we come home! It may involve a Coors Light or two 🙂

‘Till Next time, I plan on keeping my blog up to date with how I’m getting on, I’m sure there will be highs and lows over the next 6 months, all part of the Marathon adventure, I’ll keep sharing as I hope it will inspire others and I know I’ll enjoy reading all this back when I have time to do nothing but surf the web and stuff.

OH – by the way, I have set up a fundraising page, I am happy to pay my way, as swimming is my hobby, takes me to crazy places, but my choice to do go there, so any money that anyone wants to donate is all going to the Alzheimer Society.



Just Keep Swimming

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Time Out

I know it’s been a while, I’m sorry, life happens, but I didn’t give up on my blog, I knew some day i would come back to it. So here I am, in 2017, making a comeback!.

So, what have I been doing since my busy year in 2013? keeping just as busy, in summary, here’s what I’ve been up to:

In 2014, I was having a quiet year, nothing too long was the plan.  I crewed for the Munster Mermaids English Channel Relay, a super time was had with them on their successful crossing.

Also in 2014 I headed to Key West in Florida, a 20km/12.5mile race/swim around the island. I loved it, a gang of 8 from Cork went and had a blast, it was superbly organised event, one I would highly recommend, but with one huge warning, the Water Temp, no kidding, it was too hot, on the day of the swim, water was 32deg C, air was same, and over 80% humidity, so basically no air. The swim was great, clear water, fabulous sea life under us, lumpy in parts and fast in parts, but by the end, I was sick of the water temp, there were no ‘cold’ patches! I have found my upper limit, nothing over 25deg ever again 🙂 If they moved this event to winter months they would fill it three times over with swimmers. But hey, it’s done now, and I learned my upper limit of water temps!!.

Oh yeah, another thing I did in 2014, In August I started running (eeek)..

2105 – Another English Channel Crewing trip, with Trevor Malones Solo swim, great day again with a successful outcome 🙂  That was followed by a trip to Spain for a swim, with all the usual craic that comes when 30 people go for a 24km sea swim event. Then boom, a nasty shoulder injury during the swim and my plans for 2016 had to change. My winter training was massively curtailed while I pieced myself back together over a 6 month period. Luckily I was distracted with keeping Bernard Lynch company for his English Channel swim in 2016, which I was again crewing for! And oh, yes, a Channel Relay was on the cards, a girlie/friends relay was in the planning for 2016, just to keep winter spirits up.

2016 – A trip to BestFest Open Water Festival in Mallorca in May (Highly recommended by the way), some local swims around Cork (I have 80 miles of the Cork Coast covered now), more training with Bernard, and of course, training for our English Channel Relay. End of August and Bernard Successfully crosses the English Channel, and 10 days later, our Relay Team Coral8 smash the Irish Female Record for a 6 person relay with a time under 9hours.. We were home in time for dinner (I am well aware this does not always happen).

So that brings me to 2017, back to the madness of long swims, things I may have planned in 2015 + 2016 and did not work out for me, are back on the table, so here I am again, cataloging what I am up to, for me to look back on, and to share my highs/lows/learnings with anyone who wants to pick up any useful info.!

Watch this space as to what I get up to this year. 🙂 In the meantime #JustKeepSwimming.



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The Day finally came, On Friday Morning December 20th, I hit my Million Meters of swimming for the year 2013 (since Jan 1st).

POOL : 581,800 (58%)

SEA: 418,200 (42%)

Thanks For all the company everyone, it was a global year for my mileage! Next Years target is set, its not a million!

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Winter Swimming

Sea Swimming dosn’t stop just because it gets cold. Sea swimming just becomes a bit more social and less about the training!… I like winter swimming for these reasons 🙂

It’s now too dark to swim before or after work, so Saturday morning at Myrtleville at 8.15am is going to be the ‘weekly’ dip. BUT, more excitingly are the ‘Turkey Swims’ that are coming up. Basically 10 dates in November and December when swimmers meet to socially swim in Sandycove or Myrtleville. Full details of the Turkey Swim Dates and locations are here (from the Sandycove site).

In the meantime, this Saturday is the end of season (summer season) night out at Bunnyconellens in Myrtleville!, for once we get to go inside Bunnys instead of swimming on by! details

See, Winter Swimming isn’t all bad…..


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Logo Design Competition

Here’s a great competition! 🙂

Myrtleville Swimmers

Centra, Crosshaven and Diesel, North Main Street are sponsoring some of the costs of swimming caps for Myrtleville Swimmers.  However, we need a logo:

We are running a competition, open to artists of all ages, to design a Myrtleville Swimmers logo for the new swimming caps.

The logo mustinclude the words Myrtleville Swimmers.

We suggest it should incorporate some of the fantastic views around Myrtleville Beach – the Dutchman, Roches Point etc. – but that’s up to each individual artist.

All entries must be posted to Logo Competition, Centra, Crosshaven, Co. Cork.

Do not put your name on the logo entry.  Instead, each entry should have a covering page with the name, address, telephone number and email address for the entrant – and age, if you wish.  Each entry will be numbered when opened and the judging committee will see a number only – they will not know the name or any details…

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Swimming Gear!

I have put together a list of places I buy open water swim gear, for a few reasons; now I have all my links in one place and it’s great to share information, If anyone has better links, let me know!.

Here are SOME of the places I buy stuff, I’m not saying these are the only or best sites to use, these are just the ones I use. Happy Shopping!


Casio watch, waterproof, temp and time! nothing fancy, grand size. About £40stg


Casio Waterproof Watch

Casio Waterproof Watch




watch out, this site is addictive for buying and designing your own togs, but with a super price on ‘grab bags’


Splish (Super Thin Straps)

Splish (Super Thin Straps)

Parka Coat

I’m yet to find an Irish or UK Site that sells these, I got mine from the States – it was my ‘best buy’ this past year!


Warm Parka Jacket

Warm Parka Jacket


I have a Panasonic Lumix Camera – There is a BIG difference in prices for Waterproof Cameras. You have to do a bit of research for yourself on this!


Panasonic Waterproof Camera

Panasonic Waterproof Camera

Lazer Stiks

Light stick for the back of your togs for night swimming (or early dawn swimming!)


For the Back of your Togs

For the Back of your Togs

Guardian ‘goggle’ Light

To put on your goggle strap for night swimming !




Loop through Goggle Strap

Loop through Goggle Strap


These are available somewhere locally, just not sure where – Surf Shops probably!


Easy to throw over head to stay warm.

Easy to throw over head to stay warm.


I don’t have one, but lots of people do, not totally sure where to get them, but this is info!


A Coat Like Robie, close to a Parka!

A Coat Like Robie, close to a Parka!


I use the Contigo one touch auto spout bottles. Can be found in The Edge and CH Marine in Cork or google them for local/online buying!


One Touch Open, perfect for Numb hands!

One Touch Open, perfect for Numb hands!


I use SiS feeds and gels, which can be purchased online on most ‘TRI’ sites, or locally in Cork at The Edge


Lots to shoose from within the Range

Lots to shoose from within the Range


The Finis Hydro Tracker.. fits on your goggles. I Havn’t used them, but cheap (ish) compared to others.


A Good route Tracker

A Good route Tracker

Safe Float

A high Vis Safety float to use when in OW (I’ve seen them in action, they are noticable all right).


Swimmers Floats - to be easily seen.

Swimmers Floats – to be easily seen.

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