WHAT SORT OF WATER CONDITIONS SHOULD I EXPECT?
It does vary from swim to swim.
However due to the size and length of most swims, the waves can certainly become daunting. Your skipper/pilot will make the decision if it is safe to swim.
WHAT WILL IT ALL COST?
This will vary swim to swim, but to give you an idea, a swim the length of Loch Ness/Lomond/Awe is currently £2000.
WHAT WILL I GET TO PROVE MY SWIM?
Your swim information will go on the exclusive Loch Swim Alba Swim Record and you will receive a completion certificate.
I HAVE BEEN GIVEN POSITION 3 ON THE SWIM WEEK, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
When you book a swim, you will be given a swim window (which is the optimal window)
For example: You have booked a swim on week commencing 12th August and you will be given a swim position, let's say number 3. If the weather is good and swimmers get away as anticipated, you will get your turn (3rd swimmer) on the 14th or 15th August.
But what if the weather is not suitable?
You must understand that these dates and this position are flexible and not set in stone. It will be your pilot's aim to give you the very best chance to swim and you in turn, will need to be flexible. You will need to be guided by your pilot, who will want to get you across, but only if there is a reasonable chance of achievement.
So arrive early and give yourself lots of time, do not arrive at the last minute and do not book your return ticket for the day after the dates you have been given. If you do, you could be going home on that perfect day for your swim.
It is very much a question of waiting patiently for your good day.
IS THERE ACCOMMODATION AVAILABLE LOCALLY?
There are a variety of accommodation providers at each swim location, if you are unsure or require recommendations please just ask.
WHAT ABOUT EATING/DRINKING DURING THE SWIM?
Don't forget to bring adequate supplies of your preferred food and refreshment.
(Full supplies list here)
Whilst training it is recommended you find the best way to feed during your swim. Whether this be from a cup, bottle or squeeze pack handed to you (without direct contact) or from a feeding pole or bottle on a line, ensuring you are prepared during your swim.
DO I NEED TO USE GREASE?
Most Swimmers use grease.
Some cover themselves liberally to keep out the cold as much as possible... others just apply grease to the 'rubbing' areas (neck/shoulders, armpits, groin, etc).
Grease ('Channel Swimmer's Grease') is now very difficult to obtain locally and you should experiment to find out what is most suitable for you and be prepared to make up your own blend.
ARE SWIMS RESTRICTED TO DAYLIGHT?
You should be prepared to swim in twilight (or in the dark) for part of your swim. Bring (or arrange) a supply of suitable swim lights.
WHAT IS A 'STANDARD' SWIM COSTUME/ CAN I USE THE MODERN SWIMSUITS?
This very much depends if you are planning on having your swim recognised by a governing body e.g. BLDSA or MSF
CAN I TAKE MY OWN ASSISTANTS / FRIENDS / SUPPORTERS WITH ME?
Yes, we would encourage you to bring a few select support crew.
We will need to be made aware of numbers at the time of booking due to the numbers permitted by the commercial license of the vessel.
However, please bear in mind it is a long swim and for those prone to seasickness it can be very unpleasant.
DO I NEED SPORTS INSURANCE?
You are very strongly urged to get as much protection as possible. Sports, accident, life, property and other insurance are your responsibility and are very strongly recommended. Unforeseen accidents are a real possibility.
Open water swimming is extremely demanding on your energy and your mental determination.
WHOSE DECISION IS IT TO COMMENCE A SWIM?
Remember that on the day you choose, it is ULTIMATELY YOUR DECISION.
As to whether you embark on a swim or not, please don't blame the pilot. You are not being bullied, cajoled or persuaded. Your pilot is only offering you his best judgement and considered opinion, and no-one is stopping you from obtaining a second, third or even a fourth opinion.
You have the right to say NO, right up until you jump in and then you are committed.
If you decide not to accept the pilot's advice you must be prepared for him to offer the opportunity to another swimmer.
DO I NEED A MEDICAL?
Yes. Loch Swim Alba require you to complete a medical, health and fitness declaration
This is to be completed by you and can be found within the resources on this site. However should you have any worries, then please do consult your General Practitioner.
You must complete your medical on or after the 1st January of the year you have chosen to swim, and returned at least one calendar month before your swim week commences.
The medical declaration will be sent out to at the new year.