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Chris Collin-Jones

Penarth to Weston-Super-Mare 8-10-23

Swim time: 6 hours 38 minutes

Start: Penarth Slipway (Wales)

Finish: Anchor Head Weston-Super-Mare (England)

Observer:     Ed Morgan

Swim Crew:  Leighton James

Pilot:             Ceri Davies

Tandem wetsuit solo with Stephen Burke

Swimmers report:


I have been open water swimming for about 8 or 9 years. Taking part in various races, but not having taken part in any for some years. Swimming every spring to autumn in open water, and then returning to the prison of the pool every winter. This year my friend convinced me to enter the Flat Holm to Barry swim. So all of this summer I had been training for this swim . From 5k to 12k swims. Most of these have taken place in the river Usk in Brecon, but also Langland bay, Tenby and North dock Llanelli. The Flat Holm swim in august turned out to be a fabulous day. The swim from the island to the coast was very choppy. I particularly like these conditions to swim in as I find them more enjoyable. This also turned the swim into a 15k not 13k. The following day after the swim I was contacted by Stephen, who I had met previously in the swimming pool where we both train, he also took part in the Flat Holm swim. He asked me to take part with him in his Bristol Channel swim. At first I was reluctant but as he pointed out I was is peak condition now, due to the swimming I had done in the summer, and it's was only 5-6 k more than we had swam the day before, I was convinced. The weeks leading up to the swim I was getting very stressed as our original date got cancelled due to bad weather and the original skipper injuring himself. So the date kept being moved further towards October. The problem for me with this is, I work 6 days a week and 9-5 so as the nights get shorter my open water swims get shorter, and unlike Stephen I need open waterto swim my 10ks I cannot swim 10k in a pool as lfind this extremely mind numbing. So I was concerned that my swim fitness was going to drop and I wouldn't complete the swim, or the swim would be cancelled until next year due to weather and time of year. Finally the day arrived, First weekend of October, like a beautiful summers day and the sea flat calm. We started from Penarth slip, and I remember saying to Stephen, remember this is a jog not a sprint. We fed every half hour with 250ml isotonic drink, sometimes with an energy gel sometimes with a mars bar. From the 3rd feed onwards I also received a salt tablet in my drink to prevent cramping as do suffer badly from cramping on my longer swims. I also took 2 paracetamol around 1 or 2pm just to stop any aching pains. On reaching western beach we both were in jovial mood particularly as we came ashore in knee deep mud. I also felt that I had a hour or two swimming in me. This has now convinced me to do longer swims next year. And I am in talks with Stephen over our next challenge. I would like to thank Leighton and Ed who accompanied us on the boat to feed us. And also to Ceri from Bristol Channel Swimming for the boat and knowledge. lt was fantastic day and I look forward to pushing myself into further swims

Observers report:


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