Just Try One More – 36,000-meter Workouts
Penny Dean accomplished something no one had ever done before or has accomplished since: simultaneously hold the English Channel and Catalina Channel records (7 hours 40 minutes from England to France in 1978) and 7 hours 15 minutes from California to Catalina Island in 1976).Dean trained for her channel swims with a rare intensity.
She did two 36,000 meter workouts in preparation for her channel crossings, one in California and one in France. The former professor from Pomona-Pitzer College talks about her two monsterous workouts:
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Did you stop? Did you hydrate during the swims?
Penny Lee Dean: I drank ERG every 10,000 meters. I didn’t touch the bottom. My 100m splits were put on a board so I could read and figure out my 500 and 1000 and 1500 times in my head.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Did you have any doubts that you were not going to finish it?
Penny Lee Dean: No, not at all. I had done a 10,000m workout in Sweden and a 25,000m workout in Belgium [before] so I was ready.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was your average pace and overall time?
Penny Lee Dean: I averaged 1:21 per 100m. My total time was 8 hours 11 minutes and 16 seconds, 20 minutes faster than the 36,000m workout in 1976 done in Lakewood [California].
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Did you try to negative split or swim in some kind of pattern?
Penny Lee Dean: I tried to keep the same pace and finish with everything that I had the last 1500 which was 20:00. The first 1500 was swum in 19:30.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Was there a coach on deck the entire time?
Penny Lee Dean: Yes, Mr. Meslier, the coach of CREN, was on deck the whole time. My mother was also there and recorded every split.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Did you have pace swimmers helping you or did you swim in a lane all by yourself?
Penny Lee Dean: I had three pace swimmers who jumped in any time they felt like swimming. I don’t remember if it was a pattern, but I think it was.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Is this something that you would recommend to others similarly minded to set a record?
Penny Lee Dean: Yes. I would recommend to have every split recorded and to have people there. People came to visit from the town who cheered. That was special.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: After you finished the workouts, how did you feel physically and mentally?
Penny Lee Dean: I was tired, but I felt great. My arm wasn’t hurting. My time was faster and I knew I was faster than Catalina. I was excited. It took two days to recover before I swam a long workout in England. I used these days to travel and get settled in England.
Professor Dean launched her fourth open water swimming book on Amazon in December, entitled “Just Try One More“. The book describes Dean’s training and development to accomplish something no one had ever done before or has accomplished since: simultaneously hold the English Channel and Catalina Channel records.
Just Try One More is Dean’s fourth book following Open Water Swimming: A Complete Guide for Distance Swimmers and Triathletes (1998), How To Swim A Marathon (1985) and History of Catalina Swims (1980).
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