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Mel Dawson Takes on The English Channel

Posted on September 1st, 2017

Mel Dawson came to us through the swim organisation, uSwim, where she has been training for the epic journey across the English Channel! In the lead up to the big day, Mel has been having regular treatments at our Harris & Ross Manchester clinic. Mel is no stranger to a challenge, but here she tells us how she has prepared for her biggest one yet…

Has swimming the Channel always been a goal of yours to complete?

I didn’t like swimming at school, but I was invited to take part in the first Great North Swim and loved it. I first completed the mile, then took part in other events, gradually increasing the distance from 3.8km to 5km to 10k, then the length of Windermere at 10.5miles.  And now the ultimate challenge, The English Channel.

Tell us what your training schedule has been like. Did you receive any guidance or help in structuring the best plan for yourself?

The training plan has been time consuming and hectic. Really full on, but have enjoyed every minute. Since signing up for the Channel solo, Karen Smith and Dave Quartermain of uSwim have created a bespoke plan, which has been necessary in getting me to swim and be mentally fit; the plan involves pool work and outdoor swims, including an overnight swim of 10 hours at Boundary Water Park and an Ullswater two way of 15 miles.

What has been the biggest hurdle so far?

The biggest hurdle has been understanding and getting to grips with eating whilst swimming, what the best things are to eat, drink and how long between feeds.

Has your diet changed since you started? What do you miss the most?

Diet hasn’t changed, I’ve just increased certain parts, i.e. more protein and carbs, getting to understand the need for them and when to have them.

Have you had any prized tips from those that have completed the Channel in the past?

Phil Hoyland who completed the swim solo last year advised to not think of the distance, just take it one feed at a time.

Has the relationship between uSwim and Harris & Ross, helped you in your training?  

The treatment organised between uSwim and Harris & Ross has been invaluable. Nick’s advice, support and his hands of steel have helped immensely.

Have you learnt anything about yourself since starting your sessions with our Consultant Physio, Nick Worth?   

Looking after the body after swims, especially the shoulders, doing the necessary exercises and stretches as advised.

If you are about to start training for an event or thinking of completing one in the future, get in touch and we will be able to help you on your journey. Advice and regular maintenance will help to improve your performance and wellbeing.

You can either email us on or 0161 832 9000

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