Roll on the season

Roll on the season
Roll on the season

Summer is coming………..Sometime!!

This weekend swimmers in the UK look forward to getting into the water to do some meaningful distance. The start of the season is nearly upon us and many swimmers across the land are relishing the moment that they can ditch the pool training and get into some open water, after hours of lap work, drill work and partners complaining that they smell of chlorine. Well some of us at least. The lakes, if not open already, will HOPEFULLY be opening in the next week or two.

Well that is the plan, but like all well laid plans, something can happen which can potentially derail even the best of them. Yes, it has happened; someone forgot to tell the weather gods that Mud Island is due a few days of summertime. Either that or the gods have unionised, taken up employment with Southern Rail and are currently on strike until further notice!!!! (Those in the South East of the United Kingdom will know of what I speak). Between the Beast from the East Mk I and the Beast from the East Mk II, and the fact that someone seems to have left the tap on up there, lakes are still well down on the temperatures that we would be hoping for at this time of the year. I have started to see on Social media that some swims are thinking of Plan B – what ever that may be – and some lakes are proposing delaying their opening time. Lets hope that this is not the case. Some of us have to do 6 hour qualifying swims!!

Well, I say enough of all that, and this weekend, let’s get some distance into these weary bones. Sadly not in the lakes but at least it will be in a 50m outdoor semi-heated pool. Yes, the Guildford 12 sees swimmers from all over the country descending on Guildford’s lovely outdoor lido for:

12 Miles, in 12 hours,

1 Mile

on the hour

Every Hour

for 12 hours

Guildford Lido Fun in the SUN –LETS HOPE

So the set for the day goes something like this. 1600m warm up. Main set- 10 x 1600m. Warm down -1600m. Simple really. the only real challenge for the supporters is to be able to count to 32.

This is the baby sibling of the 2 Swim for Life where the same format happens over 24 hours. Still, 12 miles is not a bad training swim to start the season off. As well as being a nice little challenge, it will be a great way to catch up with fellow swimmers from around the country in between swims. It is not a competition per se but there are some seriously competitive swimmers out there and yours truly seems to have ended up in the fast lane again. One way or another, it will be a fun day out. It could turn into Type 2 Fun (fun after the event) but fun all the same. For some, this will be the culmination of a winter of training and will be their only event this year but for others, this will just be another training swim at the start of a long summer ahead of wallowing in rivers, lakes, ocean around the world. I will be one of the latter with my big event being in August so between now and then, I have signed up for the following:

Guildford 12 – above format – aim is to survive

Jubilee River swim – 9.8km River – aim this year to go under 2 hrs 20 min

Humdinger Swim – How many 1km laps you can do in 6 hours – aiming for 22-24 laps

Henly Marathon – 14.3km swim river swim – aim is to not get eaten alive by duck mites and to beat my time from last year

Swim Norfolk – 11.5km Norfolk Broads swim

Henley club to pub

Culminating in the Loch Lomond swim – BLDSA signature 35 km lake swim which will equal the very first distance swim I did 10 years ago. Some say it is harder than the English Channel. All I can say is that it will be different. No challenge in this game is ever the same.

So you can see that it will be a busy summer and there will be quite a few 3 – 5km swims and a few 6 hour swims for good measure. By my side for most of them will be the Slimhippo – lets hope she can count to 32 in between nattering with other supporters. She is  my greatest supporter in the world, without which I would never be able to do any of this. I think sitting in a boat overnight watching a fat hippo float around a loch for 10 hours is a lot more difficult than it sounds. I would rather be in the water than watching. Big appreciation for all who support swimmers like me. We thank you all form the bottom of our hearts. She will also be taking the Hippo out of the water to do some walking events at the end of the year. Whew!!!  That seems like a pretty busy summer, and enough to be getting on with!

Well, I obviously thought differently. After my first tentative strokes in the English Channel 10 years ago and then embracing long distance swimming as my passion and then using this to help out people over the years with their swimming, it has recently been brought to my attention that this is not the right way to approach it, no matter how well-intentioned my assistance is. I could get sued! Do I have any insurance? Have I done a health and safety course? Do I have any qualifications to teach….  (You gotta love the society we have created for ourselves, otherwise you would just cry in despair.) Well the answer is NO. What do I know about swimming in open water? Last year a high powered group of open water swimmers came up with a new Open water swim coaching course. Mmm. Maybe now is the time to formally learn. The interesting thing about this course is that someone has thought it through and the course organisers believe that experience actually counts for something. So I am now embarking on an Open water swimming qualification. I have no idea what to expect, but another qualification will always be useful. I am particularly interested in the psychology of ultra endurance swimming and would love to share what I always preach (WHAT THE MIND BELEIVES, THE BODY WILL ACHIEVE). There is so much swimmers can do to get through the tedious times in the water using just our mind. So on top of swimming, there will be a bit of studying to do and who knows where it will lead me. What ever the future holds, I am just looking forward to enjoying the journey.

So roll on the weekend and hopefully the summer. Looking forward to catching up with lots of swimmy peoples and getting a bit of mileage into my body.

This is going to be the start of a great summer ahead!


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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