The Varne Ridge English Channel Swim Camp was David and Evelyn Frantzeskou’s dream! David and Evelyn own Varne Ridge Holiday Park where hundreds of Channel swimmers from around the world have stayed. David and Evelyn were inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2015 for their services to marathon swimming an honour truly deserved. Roger stayed here to train in Dover in 2010 and the year of his English Channel swim in 2011. I also stayed here for my Channel swim in 2013 and it was during this time that I met Roger who was in residence to crew for a fellow swimmer. A wonderful friendship was formed almost instantly! Not only with Roger, with Dave and Evelyn (mum and dad) too. In fact it is Dave who gave me the nickname ‘Diva’ before my Channel swim – this nickname has stuck in Channel circles.
Since our respective successful English Channel swims, Roger and I have stayed at Varne Ridge many times to crew for other swimmers. There is a lot of waiting around for a Channel swim and it was during these times Dave shared his dream with Roger and I. To host swim camps at Varne Ridge to help better prepare up and coming English Channel swimmers. Dave and Eve have over 20 years experience of hosting Channel swimmers and have seen it all. Together with this knowledge and our swim experience, we came up with a programme! Roger and I both feel so priveleged that David and Evelyn have entrusted us with the Varne Ridge English Channel Swim Camp.
We held our first camp in October 2016. Dr Otto Thaning asked if he could come along and mentor our swimmers and give talks. Of course!! Otto wanting to come along and support us absolutely meant the world to us and completely captured what we wanted our camp to be about. Camaraderie, sharing our experiences to better prepare our swimmers both physically and, most importantly, mentally! Stuart Gleeson a Channel swimming boat pilot with several years experience joined our team to give a talk and to be our Captain on our Channel training swims. All our swimmers came away feeling we had achieved this and more! Because we limit our numbers to a small group, we can give swimmers so much more.
We work as a close team. The only thing better than achieving these swims ourselves, is helping a fellow swimmer achieve their dream!