After the disappointment of 2020 with all the cancelled events, it felt like some normality was returning when I saw this swim advertised in April at my local lake. With only 11 weeks in which to train it may have deterred a lot of people but I thought it the perfect ‘warm up’ and training swim for the 7 mile Ullswater swim I was taking part in 4 weeks later on 17th July.

Because of the COVID lockdowns my swim fitness was nowhere near the level it had been in 2018/2019 but thanks to Total Body’s Race to Victory Challenge and my personal challenge of swimming 100K during May, I was feeling pretty confident that my shoulders would last the distance.

The 10K swim was due to start at 5.30am and with a 30 min drive to get to the venue it meant an early start. Luckily I’d had the foresight to register the night before and pack my kit as my alarm clock didn’t go off, so instead of a nice leisurely breakfast and drive with plenty of time, I was instead, running round the house in a bit of a panic, not good at 4.00am on a Sunday morning when the rest of the household is trying to sleep.

Once at Spring Lakes, there was a hustle and bustle as the 180 competitors stood around nervously waiting for the 1K, 2.5K, 5K & 10K events to commence. I, along with a handful of others, had chosen to swim in ‘skins’ (non wetsuit) whereas the others were all wet suited and booted. I wasn’t sure I’d made the right decision as the water temperature had dropped from a comfortable 22 degrees to 19 due to the rain during the week and the outside temperature wasn’t exactly warm but I’d done all my training without a wetsuit so decided to give a go.

At 5.30am prompt the 24 10K swimmers took to the water 2 at a time in 10 second intervals. The water felt warmish and it was fairly calm, there was a little breeze but not enough to cause any chop so going was good. We had to swim 4 laps of the 2 lakes but when I reached the feed station at the end of the first lap and my watch read 2.7K it was clear that we were going to swim more than the advertised 10K (someone clearly hadn’t marked the course correctly). I know some athletes favour gels during events but I’ve never touched them they don’t really appeal I’ve always preferred to stick to good old jelly babies and electrolytes in my water. This event was no different and I looked forward to my little sugar rush at the end of each lap.

I had initially intended to swim with a friend but I lost him on the first lap and I found lap 2 quite hard as there were no other swimmers around me. It’s quite easy to lose your pace when you are on your own so when I met up with another swimmer at the end of lap 2 and we swam the final two laps side by side it was nice to have that company.

I was ready to finish by the final lap, my swimming costume was rubbing my shoulders and I was beginning to feel the cold, but one final push to the end, I think I even managed a sprint from the last buoy and I’d made it.

It's the longest swim I have completed without a wetsuit so far.

This entry was posted on June 21, 2021

start of quote It is better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back and regret end of quote
Jackie Joyner-Kersee