Now that you have your slot for your big day, be that solo or relay, you will need to train. A good starting point would be to use a training group (see Dover Channel Training section below). Remember that your training requires significant dedication and strength of mind, especially for a solo swim. You should first start by analysing your own stroke and make sure it is as efficient as possible and aim to acieve a 3km per hour swim speed. You can then start to build up your stamina & distance in the pool over the winter months. By the time summer comes around you will be ready to start distance swimming in the sea, again buiding stamina and confidence. Just remember, you want to be as comfortable as possible in the sea on the big day.
Dover Channel Training is probably the longest standing training group in the UK and hundreds of swimmers train with the group each year. Through training with the group you will learn the ‘process’ that will give you the best chance to get to France on the big day. That process includes cold acclimatisation, building up for your qualifying swim, night swimming, feeding (for soloists) and building the physical and mental muscle memory you need. On top of that, you will be training with like minded people, training for the same thing. That can be the difference that makes the difference. Training runs from the first weekend in May until the last weekend in September. Training starts at 9am each day (arrive early to sign in etc) and you would need to be registered on the website before you arrive. Length of training goes up as the water temperature increases. You will be welcome to join the sessions for the whole season (for those of you who are close enough to do so) or on a drop in basis. For costs & further information visit Dover Channel Training. More information and a selection of other training options can be found on the training section of the CSA website.
You won't go far wrong by reading what previous swimmers have had to say about their swim experience.
Don't forget that the preparation isn't all about the swimming. You will need to carefully consider your travel plans, accommodation and documentation. The CSA FAQ page can help you with a lot of this.