Thursday 7 September 2017

One day one photo - 7: Swim Serpentine

I have decided to take the plunge, literally! Earlier on this summer I took part in the Great London Swim in Royal Victoria docks. It was a well organised event, and I quite enjoyed the experience. There was a choice of distances and I opted to do 800m (half a mile), as that was a distance I knew I'd be able to get through without too much difficulty. My main issue would be how long I would take. In the end I took around 22 minutes, and I wasn't last - a big improvement on what I did at the Crystal Palace triathlon, where I took almost half an hour to do 750m and I had the slowest swim split out of all 1,000 competitors in the race!

After that I decided to do more open water swimming events. So the Swim Serpentine at Hyde Park, London was the next on my list. (I had hoped to do the Great Scottish Swim in Loch Lomond, but I was actually in France at that time.) I would have like to have done the 800m category at Swim Serpentine, but I was a bit late getting my entry in, so I am doing the one-mile option. It's going to be a challenge. I swam 1200m last Wednesday at the open water swim session in Victoria Docks a few days ago.

It was in the early evening and initially the sun was shining and I felt good. But later on, the sun went down and I had difficulty sighting the buoys in the water. There weren't many people left swimming as many had finished and gone home, so I had no reference. Then I got quite cold, it became windy and I could feel myself being tossed around in the wind. My lungs were just rasping as I was breathing and although I made a lot of effort to stay calm, I was subconsciously panicking. In the end I found my way back to the start/finish gantry, and a life-guard in a boat was there to help with the sighting in the semi-darkness. It was only after I got out of the water that I was aware of how difficult I had found the experience. In fact I was quite chesty when I got out and had to use my asthma inhaler - the first time I've had to do so in a long time.

I like to think that the conditions in the Serpentine will be a lot more clement - at least it will be daylight! I will also wear an extra hat and gilet just to protect against the cold.

Some may say I'm mad for doing this, but I just love the challenge - and hey, the Serpentine is just around the corner from where I work. It would be rude not to do it!

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