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Don’t let the distance scare you from diving In at the Deep End

In September 2020 we’re running our first ever Dream Swim Challenge at the Eton Dorney Lake.

Many of you may feel wary to try a different kind of challenge. But whether or not you’ve swum in open water before, there is no reason to feel daunted about diving In at the Deep End with us.

Our aim here at DC is to give you the platform, motivation and opportunity to achieve something you always wanted to do, but never thought you could. With four distances to choose from, In at the Deep End is the perfect chance to take the plunge and smash your fitness goals while making a big impact for the truly special charity, Regain.

This blog post gives you all the info you need to prepare for the challenge, including key need-to-knowstraining tipsopen water swimming advice and your free training plans, designed exclusively for In at the Deep End.

Training for your open water swim

In a nutshell, you need to train like a champion and look like a fish. Training with your goal and prize in mind, preferably in open water, will help you achieve the ease and grace of a fish on the big day.

Open Water is different – We strongly recommend you train in open water as much as you can, as open water swimming is different from in a pool. The water at Eton Dorney will be cooler and murkier than a pool’s and you won’t have the wall of a pool to kick off from, like you do when swimming lengths.

Please see and download our Open Water Swim Advice sheet here to help you prepare to swim at Eton Dorney.

Benefits of swimming

Swimming is an awesome sport and we’re so excited to have a Dream Challenge dedicated to it. As a low impact form of cardio, it works every muscle in your body without the shock of feet against ground. It burns up calories, lifts your mood, lowers your stress levels and helps you sleep.

As In at the Deep End gives you four distances to choose from, each with its own training plan, people of all abilities, ages, shapes and sizes can get involved.

Aren’t inspired yet? Watch this eye-opening TED talk on what open water swimming can teach you about life.

Achievable training plan for each distance
We have put together three brilliant training plans: one for each distance. The training plans we provide are especially designed for beginner participants taking on In at the Deep End and build up week by week.

We also have an exclusive tetraplegic training plan for the 1km distance, designed by the amazing Ben Clark, who is also tetraplegic and an invaluable supporter for Regain. Please see and download your 1km tetraplegic training plan here.

This way you can ease into your preparation and as long as you follow the one for your chosen distance, you’ll be well ready and buoyed up by the time the challenge comes around.

• 2.2km Training Plan
5km Training Plan
10km Training Plan
• 1km Tetraplegic Training Plan

Which distance should I choose?

It's up to you which distance you choose to take on; but the 1km distance is for tetraplegic participants only. You know your own body and what you are capable of.

Whichever distance you choose, you do need to be a confident swimmer and you must be able to swim your chosen distance by the challenge date. However, it is by no means a race and you can totally swim at your own pace.

These distance break-downs might help to envision how long each would be and what to aim for in your training:

2.2km - this is the equivalent of swimming 88 lengths in a standard 25m swimming pool. It should take around one hour/one hour 30 mins to complete.
See and download the 2.2km Swim Training Plan here

5km - this is the equivalent of swimming 200 lengths in a standard 25m swimming pool. It should take around two hours to complete. See and download the 5km Swim Training Plan here

10km - this is the equivalent of swimming 400 lengths in a standard 25m swimming pool. It should take around four hours to complete. See and download the 10km Swim Training Plan here

We recommend checking out the training plans if you're unsure which distance to register for.

Dressing for the occasion

You must wear a well-fitting wetsuit for In at the Deep End 2020. This will help keep you warm and also make you more streamlined in the water.

Obviously, swimming feels different when wearing a wetsuit, rather than just trunks or a swimming costume/ bikini, so we recommend you wear one during your training as well.

Wetsuit hire - If you don’t own a wetsuit, you can hire one throughout the season.

The Zone 3 T’s and C’s page gives all the details you need about hiring a wetsuit, once they’re available in April.In the meantime, you can train in a pool and cross-train to build up your strength, fitness and technique, before donning a wetsuit and practicing in open water.

Get the right fit - When looking for a wetsuit to wear, please make sure it fits well. Too loose and it will fill up with water, too tight and it’ll restrict your breathing.

The arms should fit well above the wrist, with a few ruckles under the armpit to allow the shoulder to move freely and the neck should be low enough to limit neck rub.

Check out Zone 3 wetsuits here for wetsuit recommendations and hire.

Plug up - We also recommend wearing ear plugs to keep water from getting into your ears and irritating your skin. You’ll still be able to hear everything and you’ll prevent yourself from getting blocked ears. If you don’t have any ear plugs, SwimEars are a good one to go for.

How we support you
Still feeling nervous? Please be assured, we provide full challenge support from the moment you register, right until after you’ve conquered the swim.

In the swim up to the challenge
We send you several resources to help you prepare for the event, as soon as you book your place:

  • Training plan for your chosen distance - and because we’re nice, you can download your training plan and open water swimming advice sheet from the event page and this blog post even before you commit to the challenge.

  • Regular email updates with information about In at the Deep End.

  • Fundraising ideas for every season of the year, to motivate and inspire you throughout the coming months.

  • Facebook group for all participants, so that you can exchange tips and updates with each other and make friends before you swim. You may even want to arrange to meet up with fellow swimmers who live in your local area, so that you can train and fundraise together.

  • Office support – our Dream Team are on hand to help out with any enquiries you may have, from 9 – 5 Monday to Friday. If you have any questions, we’re all ears. Simply email us at events@dream-challenges.com or call us on 01590 646410.

On the big day

  • Medical, health and safety support - It goes without saying that we'll have full medical and challenge support at Eton Dorney Lake, including a team of professional first aiders, fully trained life guards in kayaks and at the banks of the lake and swimming specialists.

  • Equipment - We provide you with a swimming hat, swimmer number and timing tag, along with a floatation device for our 5km and 10km participants. This way, we can keep track of you throughout your swim and ensure your safety.
  • Four marked courses on the lake – There are four distances for you to choose from, so that we can welcome swimmers from all currents of life and abilities to be a part of the event. The start waves for each distance will take off from different places on the bank of the lake and each course will be clearly marked with buoys.

  • Tetraplegic support – Tetraplegic people are more than welcome to take on the challenge. We have a specially designed 1km course for tetraplegic participants, supported by the celebrity swimmer, Mark Foster.

  • Feedstations – You don’t need to swim the whole distance in one go! You can take water breaks throughout your swim at our Feedstations by the side of the lake.

  • Post-challenge meal - Once you’ve completed your chosen distance and collected your medal, we’ll have a hot meal ready for you to tuck into. No doubt you’ll have built up an appetite!
  • Warm-up – It’s essential to warm up your body before diving in and starting the swim. We’ll have the most fun warm-up you’ve ever experienced at Eton Dorney, around half an hour before our first start wave sets off.

  • Facilities – There’ll be showers, toilet facilities and a changing room for you to change in/out of your swimming gear. We’ll also have an Information Point, Event Registration and a supervised Bag Drop, where you can leave your stuff while you’re swimming.

  • Entertainment and encouragement – With your friends and family, Swim Makers (aka volunteers), our Dream Team and Regain representatives all there at Eton Dorney to cheer you on, spirits will be high from start to end. We’ll also have pre-challenge motivational speeches, music and stalls at the venue, so the atmosphere will be electric!

The cause
The best part of In at the Deep End 2020 is that it’s all for Regain Sports Charity. Regain is the only charitable organisation dedicated to improving the lives of people who have become tetraplegic in a sporting accident.

One minute these individuals are fit, active and healthy; the next they are paralysed and in need of support for the rest of their lives. Regain helps these people to regain their independence and get back into sport after their accident. Because Regain is a small charity with a very specific cause, your funds will go a long way into helping them carry out their work.

We hope this blog post has helped you to feel less nervous about taking the plunge. Please remember that the challenge is designed for swimmers of all abilities and we are here to support you every stroke of the way!

Learn more and register for In at the Deep End 2020

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