FINALLY!!! something to focus on

FINALLY!!!  something to focus on
FINALLY!!!  something to focus on

Another Swim to sign up for. A new one on the circuit.

2016 is marching on at a pretty rapid pace and up until now, I have been getting frustrated that I did not have a decent distance swim to take part in this year. I had been planning on doing Lago D Orta in Italy but after a mix up in dates, I missed that opportunity. So all I had was the 10Km Jubilee and a few other minor 10km races and shorter ones. Not distances that I am happy with but they were swims all the same.

Last weekend, things changed. I had been in touch with the organisers of the Lago D Orta 14km swim and they had mentioned that there were thinking about doing a double length of Lago d’Orta. Making it a 27km swim – possibly with one tumble turn. Something a bit more up my street. Something I want to do and something to get my focus back again. So this week I will be looking to get all my ducks in a row to enter this Swim. EEEEEkkk!!!  these swims are becoming expensive. Still worth it though. if there are any companies out there that would like to sponsor me with this adventure. I would be most grateful. I will – as usual, be doing all the swims this season for Charity so Any help would go a long way.


Stunning Lago d’Orta

The Lago d'Orta Course

The Lago d’Orta Course

This is the first time that this swim has been done and it is being based on a similar Format to the Zurich marathon swim. There will be both team and Solo swimmers doing the same course. There will be a cut off of 11 hours 45 minutes. if you have not finished by then, you will be pulled out by the organnisers. it will be an international affair with swimmers coming from all corners of the planet – hopefully.

Upon receiving this request to take part, I got in touch with some Italian Friends of Mine who Run A Swimming Community in Italy called “Attraversatori di Pozzanghere” A quick google translate comes out with the name of “Crossers of Puddles” A really great group of Poeple that I have met and competed against in the past. They are at the hardcore end of  Open Water Swimming with One of them beating my time in Zurich by Nearly 2 hours. They have asked me to be their Guest of honour at this event so it looks like I better get a bit of training in!!!! I also know of at least one other Swiss based british swimmer that will be entering. if you follow my blogs. Martyn, met up with me in the middle of Rapperswil Lido before I swam lake Zurich. It will be grat to see him again.

Next step was to get the Slimhippo on board again. Luckily, if it involves iternational travel to new destinations, Audra is a bit of a soft touch, so getting her to agree to come along was not too difficult. She also, very kindly offered to do my support again. Lets hope – for her sake – that conditions will be a bit more conducive to a Nice kayak arond the lake than they were in Apache lake Arizona. Even if we do have head on 25MPH winds on the one leg, it just means that the next leg they will be behind her, could make my task of keeping up with her a bit difficult

So now with hotels and Flights booked, I am just in need of a Medical certificate so that I am able to enter and then it will be nose to the grindstone to get fit again.

Winter Training.

After a lovely start to the year, it seems to be running away with itself again. I have not been posting much as I have not been doing a lot of noteworthy swimming. This does not mean I have not been doing anything. Most Saturday mornings see me leaving the house at 5.45am  (yes, you read corectly AM!!!!!) to get to the Hampton pool where I join up with the Teddington masters. We generally do between 5 – 6 km in the session. I started with them toward the end of November last year with the aim of increasing my speed. I think it is working. When I joined, they put me in lane 3 – I was fastest in the lane and generally led the lane – very happy with myself. BUT, they did not tell me that was the slow lane so Now I have been promoted to the fast lane and spend my 90 minutes Killing myself just to keep up with the last people in the lane. Well, If I wanted to increase my speed, this is probably doing it.

Hampton pool

It is by no means the most enticing thing to do in mid winter when there is steam coming off the pool or, when you swimming backstroke, you breathing in snowflakes. But it is heated so there is a bit of consolation

In a typical set, the lane group will be set something like 10 x 4 lenths on 2 min 20 seconds. For most in the lane this means about 8 – 10 second rest after each 4 lengths. For me, it is just 40 lengths of hard slog with NO rest whilst trying to keep up and more importantly ALIVE. I will be keen to see what I can do in openwater when the lakes open again

I also try and do at least 2 – 3 of my own sets during the week ranging between 2 km and 4 km. Here I generally alternate between technique training and endurance training. I will need all of this if I am going to make a good show as Guest of honour for the “Crossers Of Puddles”

As the season progresses, I will start to up my distance again during the weektime swims and then when the lakes open again, I will slowly get back to my 8 – 10km sets. As the summer wears on, I will most likely go and doa  bit of paddling in the oceans around the British Isles and I will inevitably enter a few 10km races locally to keep my fitness up a bit.

Blue lake, Wales

Another swim I would like to do is not an organised Swim, per se, but something I have wanted to get to and have a wallow, ever since I saw it mentioned on the TV series, “Secrets of Britain”  it is an old Slate mine on the edges of Snowdonia national park where there is a quarry

Blue lake in Wales. Entrance through the cave.

Blue lake in Wales. Entrance through the cave.

I probably intend to just have a wallow here rather than a swim but it does look amazing. I am still trying to plan this year but it is looking like I will have a fair amount of international travel so this trip might have to be put on Hold AGAIN but I so desperately want to go there and have a swim in it.

Luckily, it is a bit of a trek to get there so Hopefully it will not be rammed with like minded swimmers like me but, I fear that most people who are into Wild Swimming in this country will get to their desired destination via any means necessary.

In other news

Recently I have been following a few friends of mine who have been doing a few swims around the Globe and a Big Conratulations to another Zim boy who has Swim the Channel, Bryan Tate, well done to you and your team on finishing the Rotnest Island Swim in Western Australia. A swim that is on my Bucket list and I really hope I get there one day.

I also have been following two very good friends of mine on their swimming endeavours in South Africa where Tracy Clark and Roger Finch Joined up with a few other South African swimmers to swim to Robben island in 2 hours and 29 minutes. They then flitted off to some place called New Zealand, Apparently they are quite good at sport out there – especially Rugby. Tracy an Roger  are currently waiting on a weather window to swim the Cook Strait between North and South island. Good Luck to both of you. I think you need to stop having so much Fun and actually do some swimming.

I look forward to meeting up with Tracy to hear all her adventures and swim with her along the Jubilee River in June.

There are many other swimmers out there who are training hard for their International swims that are pretty much Over before our season even kicks off, Emma France, Hope the Training is going well and you are well on track to Crack the SCAR swim in Arizona. To date, this must be one of the nicest swims I have taken part in,

To all the swimmers out there Training for swims in the European parts of the world, Good luck, Stay Focused and dream big.

About the author

Ameteur Endurance athlete and marathon swimmer Having taken up marathon swimmng in 2008 with the challenge of the English Channel, I then continued on to Cycle up Britain, Kayak across Scotland and run a few marathons. None of those held the draw that marathon swimming held so in 2014 I was back in the water to Swim one of Switzerlands iconic endurance swims, lake Zurich. In 2015 I opted to take on my biggest swim to date. SCAR challenge.- 4 lakes in 4 days with distances Ranging from 6 miles to 18 miles.

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