A strong crew is key to any big swim. Swimmers don't stress that enough. A strong crew that knows what they are doing, understands swimming, has experience on the water, and really knows you makes all the difference. A crew that knows you so well they can predict every move.
It's also important they know eachother and practice, practice, practice working as a team. My team helped eachother and worked together.
Each member has a job on the boat, but what's key is that they can all do all the jobs. Things happen. Crew members get sick or need a break, the other members have to take over and help out. So, while it's important everyone has jobs, no one has jobs as long as it all gets done.
I was beyond lucky to have the best team possible. They believed in me when I didn't, they made it fun, I knew I was safe, and they pushed me. Without them, I would not have made it to France. They took care of me, and most importantly, I trusted them with my life.
My fiance, training partner, best friend, and love of my life. A open water swimmer, water polo player, and swim coach. Originally from Northern California, Joe, has tons of experience around the water. We are the same speed, which is perfect. Has lots of experience in cold water as a swimmer and lots of experience crewing on boats. Because he trained with me a lot, watched me swim from the deck and support boats, he knew my stroke, my pace, and knew what to say when. He belived in me every step of the way, no matter how hard it got.
Job on the boat: Stroke rate, pace, and reports, plus when needed- SUPPORT SWIMMER*.Funny messages on the white board + encouragement always. Tracks our 25 minute pace + 5 min sprints between feeds. GO sign + STOP sign controller.
*Joe jumped in when I really needed it- without him in the water keeping me going it would have been even harder in the moments when I felt the most scared. He told me to put my head down and swim next to him until he stopped.
My best friend, swim buddy, and biggest fan. Krista hails from Colorado, a pool swimmer turned open water swimmer as well. Krista and I met on a pool deck. It was love at first sight. Instant besties, BFF's, and dance partners for life. Krista always makes it fun for me. She's always there to hug me before I get in the water, and always there to celebrate after, no matter what. She takes care of me. I couldn't ask for a more supportive friend.
Job on the boat: FEEDS! Krista takes care of my water + food + any scheduled/needed pain killers. She keeps track of what I've had, what I need, and gets it ready. She remembers all of our inside jokes, posts the perfect messages, and is a lot better at 20 questions than me.
My dad. :) Always ready for an adventure, he supports my crazy plans more than I thought possible, and believes in me more than I can describe. I am lucky to have a dad that goes to such lengths to cheer me on.
Jobs on the boat: * Cheerleader. Encouragement, jokes, and funny drawings on white boards. :)
When I went into this crazy plan- I went with some of the advice about family, and especially parents crewing: that parents shouldn't be lead crew members because they can't be objective and are often too emotional. It's obviously hard to see your child in agony, extreme fear, or pain.
So, originally when I asked my dad to come on the boat, I talked about this with him- turns out, my dad knew I can take it. So, he was the craziest member of the team! (I still very much think family isn't always the best plan for a crew member- my sister would have had a heart attack from moment one, but it's really all about knowing what you're getting into. Be honest about the worst case senarios, the really hard calls you might have to face, and pick a crew that offers the least amount of stress in it all. The best crew is the most supportive team you can gather. They should know you well, in and out of the water, and be ready for everything that a channel swim can bring.
CREW = AN AMAZING & KEY PART TO A SUCCESSFUL SWIM.
I got really lucky with mine.