isle of wight swim

  1. Zoggs - 10 Reasons to take up Open Water Swimming
    Open water swimmers

    Zoggs - 10 Reasons to take up Open Water Swimming

    Check out the newest top 10 reasons to take up OPEN WATER SWIMMING - Courtesy of Adam Walker

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  2. Zoggs Swim Diaries: Isle of Wight Swim in 25 hrs 56 mins
    Zoggs Swim Diaries: Isle of Wight Swim in 25 hrs 56 mins

    Zoggs Swim Diaries: Isle of Wight Swim in 25 hrs 56 mins

    After months of training and planning, Scott Dawson has completed his non-stop 65 mile swim around the Isle of Wight for charity. Here's what Scott had to say after the event...

    How do you describe the best week of your life?

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  3. Zoggs Swim Diaries: Training to Swim Non-Stop Around the Isle of Wight
    Zoggs Swim Diaries: Training to Swim Non-Stop Around the Isle of Wight

    Zoggs Swim Diaries: Training to Swim Non-Stop Around the Isle of Wight

    Scott Dawson shares his story on the lead up to his non-stop swim around the Isle of Wight, taking on an 11 mile open water training swim from Ryde to Cowes and back.

    This is why we train!

    During my working week, I had to go to Cowes on the Isle of Wight for a meeting. As I crossed the Solent on the Red Funnel ferry, the shear enormity of what I have taken on seemed to literally wash over me. At one point, I could see Ryde from one window, and the Hurst Narrows (if I squinted) out of the other.IMG_1455

    It is a long way, the Solent and I will admit that seeing it from this angle did make me feel a tad nervous. I actually smiled to myself. At that point I knew that just planning to swim that relatively small bit from Ryde to Hurst that coming weekend would mean that I have come a long way to achieving my goal.

    A lot of work has gone in over the winter months, with distances being increased in the pool and nutrition tweaked, as I try to maintain my weight. With the help of my wife Polly, and all of the trusty volunteers, I felt ready to do my first big open water swim of the year - 15 miles.

    The problem was, we were not going to make it to the Needles as planned. Mother Nature reminded us who's boss, and we changed our plan accordingly. We decided that I would still start from Ryde, with the aim to swim to Cowes and back. This is around 11 miles, but with the weather conditions we had, it may be harder for the first half of the swim, as the wind would be directly ahead of us.

    As I stepped into the RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) on Saturday Morning, the time was 05:50 am and the car said it was 2.5°C outside. I even slipped on ice getting into the boat! "It's a bit chilly" said Steve Roberts, one of my Kayakers, with a wry smile on his face. I was the lucky one. I had my Zoggs wetsuit to keep me warm, he on the other hand was going to have to sit in a kayak pretty much waist deep in water and in the cold North Westerly wind.

    The reality for me is the water temperature was about 12°c – relatively warm compared to just 5-6 weeks ago, when it was just 9°c. So although it takes a few minutes to get used to it, once I am in, and my Zoggs suit had trapped the water for me to warm up, it is not too bad, so off we went.IMG_1460

    It was 06:35 am, cold and it was tough to get going, as there was more wind than forecast, and swimming directly upwind and into the Solent chop is hard work, and not easy to settle into a rhythm.

    I did, however, just keep my head down, and kept swimming. After 30 minutes Steve signalled for me to stop, and handed me my bottle. Drinking isn’t really the challenge in open water, as I have done this plenty of times before, but eating on the other hand is a skill I am yet to master. Facing the waves guaranteed a soggy energy bar, but turning away from the waves meant I couldn't see them coming, and it was a 50/50 whether I got a nice mouthful of bar or a salty drink!

    Time to go again and we repeated this exercise a further 5 times until we were close to Cowes. With the amount of wind against us, it took a lot longer to get to the Norris buoy, and we stopped 200 metres short as the tide had started to turn and I was making no more headway. Swimming against the tide will happen on the main swim, but not at this point, and the plan will be to be out of the tide in the shallow water when it turns, and not trying to swim against it in 30 meters of depth.

    I got into the medical support boat so I could be checked out (all fine), and we all grouped together to see if there were any obvious observations, that we may want to change for the trip back.

    After 20 mins or so, I got back into the water, and as the tide was now flowing back to East, and the breeze was blowing the same way, the waves dropped off and it took 1 hour less to get back to the start. It was so much easier to get into a rhythm, and the time went by so quickly. The sun came out, and my wife and children turned up on another support boat. The messages got to me that my children Alfie and Matilda were shouting "go Daddy", which really pushed me on. I even managed to increase the pace for the last half mile.

    As far as training swims go, as a team I think we were all fairly happy with how the morning/day panned out. We started when and where we wanted to, on time and with everything happening as planned. What we could control we did, but as ever the weather reminded us, we are at her mercy, and we learnt a lot about surface currents, but we will learn how to use this to our advantage.

    We will have another training swim planned for the end of May, and the aim is to do one big one every month, with at least one night swim planned for July.

    I would like to thank all the support crew, as without them this wouldn't happen. If you would like to support in other ways, you can donate online for Meningitis Now and The Marine Conservation Society.

    You can sponsor Scott by donating here. More information can be found at

    Scott is taking on a 60 mile non-stop swim around the Isle of Wight in August 2016 and will be keeping us updated with his training and the swim itself. You can find more on Scott’s training in our Zoggs Swim Diaries.

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  4. Zoggs Swim Diaries: Isle of Wight Swim
    Zoggs Swim Diaries: Isle of Wight Swim

    Zoggs Swim Diaries: Isle of Wight Swim

    Scott Dawson shares his story on the lead up to his non-stop swim around the Isle of Wight


    12694663_1145821302102781_6245047487464239217_o The Needles, Isle of Wight


    In August 2016, I will be attempting to swim around the Isle of Wight non-stop and un-aided, a distance of approximately 60 miles to raise money for charity. Before that can happen, I need to spend the next seven months training! As well as a lot of endurance work both in the pool and running on the streets of Southampton, I will complete a number of long open water training swims including along the Solent to the Needles, which is the furthest point to the west of the Isle of Wight. I am going to use the tide, and will leave Ryde Sands on the North East coast of the island at the highest point of the tide to give me the best push towards the Needles.

    The Needles is the most critical point of the main swim, because if I get the timing wrong and arrive too early, I will get swept way past the Needles and too far West before the tide turns to bring me back. Conversely, if I arrive too late, and the tide has turned it will be nigh on impossible to swim against it and get round the lighthouse.

    From the Needles, I will head to the Southern tip of the Island, St Catherines Point, where another lighthouse will be a major landmark and turning point. The aim is to pass this point with the tide flowing with me.

    At some point on the main swim, I will have to swim against the tide for a whole 6 and a half hour cycle. Hopefully I will get to the southwest of the Island, and be somewhere near Ventnor before this happens.iowswim

    Although the swim is un-aided (I cannot touch the seabed, or hold on to anything), I will have a support team with me all the way, some in the water and others in kayaks and on support vessels. Within the rules of the swim I can be given food and drink, but am not allowed to make contact with the person giving it to me. The kayaks are there to guide me so that I do not waste energy by swimming in the wrong direction or have to lift my head or stop too much to correct my course.

    The kayaker and the navigation is really important, as this can ultimately determine whether I swim the most efficient route, or ‘the great circle route’. With the record being set in 1984 at 21 hours and 2 minutes, it would be very difficult for one kayaker to do this, and so I have three, who will rotate. The other kayakers will be able to rest on the support yacht. Also following me will be two high speed Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) acting as safety boats, and having two allows for some redundancy, should there be an emergency.

    Both RIBs and the yacht will have qualified and competent skippers, and there will be two medics on board at all times. In total there will be about fifteen people in the team. This may sound like overkill, but if important decisions are to be made about safety, I do not want over tired people making them.

    Having already crossed the Solent in September 2015, I already appreciate that this is a big challenge, and I am under no illusion that this will take a lot of hardDSCN0613 work in terms of planning and preparation, the physical aspect of this challenge is enormous.

    Training since making this decision and, more significantly going public, has been going really well, but juggling family, work and training means being organised, which is easier said than done when you have two young children and a full time job. It has to be said that I am really lucky to have a very understanding wife who is incredibly organised, and I am sure this would have never gotten off the ground if it was left just to me. It is my family that helps when training is hard and thoughts of “why am I doing this?” enter my head. But then I remember that it is not just me making the sacrifices. It has a huge impact on other people close to me. This definitely drives me on, and gives me that will to succeed.


    You can follow Scott on his training journey through Zoggs Swim Diaries and if you'd like to sponsor his monstrous swimming efforts, you can do so on his fundraising page. He will be raising funds for Meningitis Now and the Marine Conservation Society.


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