We caught up with Erica Rose in Chicago where she has begun a focused training program for the Great Channel Swim this August. Erica's excitement and energy were very evident.
Q1. So how do you feel?
A1. I'm so excited! It's such an amazing opportunity - I am thrilled to be a part of it.
Q2. How are you training for the Great Channel Swim?
A2. The focus of my training for the English Channel is building up my swimming yardage so that I am prepared to compete in a race that could last as long as nine or ten hours (obviously, I hope it won't take that long, but I need to be prepared). I will be training in Evanston, Illinois under the supervision of coach Bob Groseth. When it starts to warm up a little bit here in Chicago, I will incorporate lake swims into my training routine so that I become as familiar as possible with the feeling of swimming in very chilly water. I love to train and I am looking forward to the challenge that lies before me.
Q3. Are you nervous?
A3. Right now, I am much more excited than nervous about crossing the English Channel. It is something I have wanted to do for several years and to have the opportunity to do it - along side some of the world's very best open water swimmers - is an honor and a thrill for me. I'm sure I will become more nervous as August approaches, but for now, I'm very excited.
Q4. What are your goals?
A4. My main goal, of course, is to have a successful channel crossing. This will be my first time swimming the English Channel and I am very aware of the many challenges I might encounter along the way. At the same time, I know that I am not merely crossing the channel... I am racing across it! My goal is to be as competitive as possible with the other women who have been selected to compete in this event. I am among an incredibly elite crowd - and while I am honored and excited just to be part of the group, I am also focused and determined to represent my country as best I can in this prestigious event.
Q5. What would be your goal time?
A5. I don't think I can set a goal time right now. I want to be competitive with the other girls during the race. The speed we swim will be quite dependent on the weather we encounter on race day. The fastest time a woman has ever done is just under 7 and a half hours. If we get a good day, I would say there is an excellent chance that the record will be broken this summer. If it's a tough day, it will take longer. I just need to be physically and mentally prepared for whatever conditions we face.
Q6. Can you handle the cold water?
A6. I am not overly concerned about the cold water. I have raced in cold water before and I tend to handle it well. That said, I know it is a factor that needs to be taken very seriously and I do not want to underestimate the impact it could have on my performance. I will practice as much as I can in the chilly waters of Lake Michigan this spring. I did the Polar Bear Plunge here last year... it can't get much colder than that.
Q7. What is the longest swim you have done to date (both in terms of time and distance)?
A7. The longest swim I have done to date is the 88K (54.6 miles) Hernandarias Parana race in Argentina. I have done that swim twice. The first time, it took me just over 10 hours - which makes it the longest swim I have ever done in terms of both time and distance. I'm definitely hoping that crossing the English Channel will take less than ten hours this summer.
Top two photos of Erica were taken by Dr. Jim Miller at the 2003 and 2005 World Swimming Championships. Lower photo was taken by TYR which has sponsored Erica for years.