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For the purposes of this discussion, we should distinguish between waves (or swells), breakers, and chop. Waves travel in one direction and make you go up and down. Breakers are what result when waves reach shallow water. Breakers crash over your head and try to grind you into the ground. Chop is the result of lots of little waves with no apparent direction to them. Imagine putting 100 kids in a pool with no lane ropes or gutters – the end result is “chop.” It is also what you often get in windy conditions.

Michael Oram on "Channel Grease"

Used with permission - from the channel swimming chat group.

The "Channel grease" as it used to be called was a mixture of about 90% lanoline and 10% Vaseline. You either brought it readily prepared from Boots the chemist in Dover high street or prepared it yourself by heating the lanolin gently while stirring in the Vaseline making sure it all gelled together. See the chat site archives for a more detailed answer.

How Navy Special Ops Survive Training Missions In Freezing Water

During Navy Special Ops training, candidates complete exhaustive missions under extreme stress, limited sleep, and in freezing water conditions.

For the last 25 years, the US military has used an ingestible thermometer pill to monitor the core body temperature of service members during physically demanding missions.

CorTemp pill (HQ, Inc.) was developed in the mid-1980’s by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the Goddard Space Flight Center. The sensor technology was first used on astronauts to detect hypothermia and hyperthermic conditions during space flight.

The explanation for it's origination: Training sets for the Channel by Micheal Oram

Question - "explain why this set is considered a benchmark for EC swimming" -Niek

Answer - only the swimmers that use the set will be able to give you the reasons, there is a lot of them so hopefully they will give you their answers via the chat site.

Below is the explanation for it's origination.

Training sets for the Channel by Micheal Oram

A little Christmas present for all the 2014 swimmers to start the New Year off with some gentle training - and a chance to put some reality into the Channel Dreams.

The bench mark test swim unit:

The benchmark pool test is for anyone who has a wish to know what their capabilities are and wants a rough idea of how they would fair on a Channel crossing -- solo or relay.

An hour is the target for this swim. Train in an empty stomach and train hard.

If you do it in a less than an hour - good.

If you do it in about the hour you are in the upper bracket.

If you do it in just over the hour your in the "normal" zone.

If it takes you more than 1.5 hours you will struggle.

Open Water Swimming in Cooler Waters – As always, Safety First

Here in the northern hemisphere we are well into the fall season and winter is on the horizon, yet this does not mean all open water swimmers have hung up their suits until the warmer months return. For some, swimming in the cooler, if not cold, water is a big part of the thrill of open water swimming. Here in Southern California there are still lots of swimmers hitting the pacific ocean at places like the La Jolla Cove, Laguna Beach and Santa Monica.

Regardless of where you swim a few standard principles should be followed when swimming in cooler water.

Michael Oram on cold water training

Question: How long are you planning to swim outside in the rivers, lakes and the sea? Till which temperature?
There is no definitive answer to this question.You can swim for as long as you want into the winter and up until the surface is frozen over - you then have to think about how to break the ice if you are still that desperate.
There are a lot of considerations and debatable reasons, all are of your own making.
You just need to be honest with yourself and answer a few basic questions.

Michael Oram on weather predictions

question on Channel Swimmers group:

I'm waiting for the weather to clear for a solo attempt. The weather seems to be clearing, and either tomorrow (Thursday) or Sunday are looking like possible swim days. The big question is, which day? Does anyone have any insight as to which day would be better?

question on Channel Swimmers group:

Michael Oram on Swim timing and Support/safety swimmers

Just a quick note for everyone as I keep being asked questions reference the swim rules just lately.

The rules are on the CS&PF web site - www.cspf.co.uk

Swim timings

For a 2-way swim the timing starts when the swimmer enters the water at the beginning of the swim and continues until the second leg is completed. This is a continuous timing.

2-way swim are however split into 2 separate legs --