The Isle of Jersey is one of the Channel Islands located 110 miles south of London and 14 miles off the coast of France. The island is five miles wide, nine miles long, and 41.5 miles around — should you ever want to swim it. On August 25, 2006, Don Walsh from New Jersey, USA, and Alice Harvey, from the Isle of Jersey did just that. Here’s Don’s story.

Coming Home

Sometimes the final yards of an ocean race can seem longer — or more difficult — than the mile (or whatever distance) you’ve swum. The swimming was easy…it’s trying to get to the beach that’s daunting. For me, the quickest way to get into shore is to hitch a ride — or bodysurf — a wave to the beach. Of course you can take advantage of this only when the tide is right and there are waves to ride. But bodysurfing is a lot faster than swimming to the beach. Plus, you get to rest while the wave brings you to shore. If you’re not proficient at bodysurfing a wave, here’s how to do it.

This week’s Drill of the Week is from Don Walsh, who gives private swim lessons at The Atlantic Club in Wall Township, NJ, and who is a an on-deck coach at Go Swim summer camps.

When I served in the Air Force, I had to pre-flight my aircraft before each flight. No matter how well I knew the routine, I always followed a checklist to ensure that every item was checked and mission ready. The consequences of missing an item on a pre-flight could be very severe, even life threatening. While forgetting an item in your race-day swim bag may not have the same impact as missing an item on an aircraft, you still don’t want any surprises before a race. Here are some of the items that I include in my pre-race checklist.

Dining Out, by Don Walsh

As open-water swimming becomes more and more popular, race directors are hosting longer and longer events. If you’ve entered one of these distance swims (longer than, say, 2 miles), you’ll need to take in some kind of nourishment, solid or liquid, during the race. If you’re like me, you have plenty of experience sitting at the dinner table and eating and drinking. I mastered that art long ago! But trying to swallow a few ounces of Gatorade in choppy seas can be a real challenge if you’ve never tried it before.

10K for the USA

On Saturday September 6, 2003, I swam in the second annual 10K for the USA in Atlantic City, NJ. The field for this 6.2-mile swim was relatively small (55), but included swimmers from all over the globe.

The Shadow Knows…

As much as we’d all love to have a coach with us every time we go to the pool, that’s just not going to happen. So how can you improve your stroke on your own?

A few weeks ago, my good friend Don Walsh told me he was going to recieve the Distiguished Service Medal for his service in Vietnam over 30 years ago. I asked him to share his experience with our visitors, and the article that follows is his story.

Don Walsh

Don Walsh has been competing in open-water races for the past 25 years. He’s raced in rivers, bays, and in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, at distances from one mile up to 28.5 miles (swimming around Manhattan Island).