Swimming or more specifically outdoor swimming is my addiction. I swim in my local rivers at least twice a week, all year round and have done so for 4 years. This season will be my fifth winter.
I read Waterlog , the fantastically evocative and involving account of Roger Deakin’s summer of swimming Great Britain and then Kate Rew’s Wild Swim and followed a swimming and rowing friend and jumped into the River Great Ouse, St Neots in 2008. I found it cold, I was then a 4 times a week pool swimmer, and borrowed a friend’s wetsuit for autumn swims. In 2009 six of us decided to swim the EC as a relay (6 Swans a Swimming). Wetsuits off, cool water acclimatisation a necessity. We had a blast and enjoyed the 11hrs 58 minutes crossing, raising £6k for Air Ambulance. In the same month I was part of a successful 4 person team – tough conditions meant we took 21 minutes longer. Both swims were freestyle – but I much prefer breaststroke.
A fascination with the EC grew and I had my sights on a solo.
Setting a BLDSA record for the 9 miles Champions of Champions in 2009 was my first hurdle to my solo attempt. I didn’t like the sea but decided I would go for it. My slot was in August 2012. I was not prepared sufficiently, not acclimatised and I should have waited another year to give myself a chance to get to the start physically fit. I enjoyed the training, the infamous Cork Distance Week but did not like quitting after 7hours 30 minutes.
Downhearted but still addicted I have taken my sights off the EC (although I enjoyed a fabulous 6 person relay with Northern ‘n’ Nithered in 2014) and swim for fun, for pleasure, for adventure and for cake. I compete in several BLDSA races each year (always breaststroke) and have swum Snowdon twice, and had a great swim holiday in 2011 in the Outer Hebrides – more here – https://musingsofanaquaticape.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/go-wild-in-the-outer-hebrides/
My plans for 2017 include; 3 x BLDSA swim events (subject to dates not clashing with my responsibilities as Sales Manager for Selkie Swim Co), support for the first Ice Mile swim event in Scotland, following the format and friendly but professional feel of the Eastern Bay Ice Mile event in Loch Dan, Ireland, where I swam my first IISA Ice Mile on 14/2/15 and to have lots of fun, sociable and informal swims with both experienced swimmers and newbies. Happy swimming fellow #TeamSelkie swimmers and Club Selkie members.