Saturday 22 September 2018

One day one photo - 22: Swim Serpentine over and out

I was meant to do Swim Serpentine, hopefully to improve on my performance from last year. But in the end I didn't go.

Last year I did two open water swims - an 800m swim at the Royal Victoria Docks and Swim Serpentine. At both events I went there with an open mind, though a little nervous because I had not covered the distances in the recent time prior to the event. So my attitude was that I would be happy to just complete the distances regardless of time. I was especially pleased to have gotten through the Swim Serpentine 1-mile race, as it was sheer mind over matter meant that helped me through.

At Henley-on-Thames for Club to Pub swim. After that it was all downhill!
This year was slightly different because I went into the year wanting to do well. I signed myself up for some summer races - Club to Pub race in Henley on Thames, and also the 1-mile 1500m dock to dock race, once again in Royal Victoria. I was regularly getting down to the pool and doing swimming drills, and by May I had already swum 1 mile.

So when it was time to do the famous Club to Pub race I was confident about my ability to cover the distance, even if I was slightly dubious about swimming in the River Thames. The race went well, and I did a time that was slightly quicker than my Swim Serpentine time from last year - even if I was still at the back-end of the field.

Unfortunately, things went downhill from there as other open water races I did just didn't go well. At the Dock to Dock race the choppy waters meant that I spent over an hour swimming 1500m. I was second-last out of the water, a long way behind the third last swimmer. A para-athlete with one leg finished behind me. I did an aquathlon in the Serpentine and that was a disaster as the organiser, for reasons best known to himself, decided 10 minutes before the start that this would be a wetsuit banned race and I struggled to get through the 500m swim - taking about 25 minutes. I also did the Chantilly triathlon, which was a nightmare given the very murky conditions. I took around 50 minutes to do 800m. For all the drills I was doing and the visits to the different open water swim venues my swim times were a lot worse than last year when I wasn't doing much training. It was really bizarre. Or maybe it's not bizzare. I am just officially rubbish at swimming!

So, by the time Swim Serpentine came round I just wasn't in the mood to put myself through more rubbish swimming. So I didn't go. I had had it in mind to go right up until the day and I had my things all prepared and ready to go. But when I woke up that morning I just though, hmm hmm, it's just not happening for me today. That is how my swim season ended - with a dns.

I have had to face the fact that I am in serious need of coaching. The will is there to swim, but it just isn't great going to races and being one of the last out of the water. I would love to be able to swim 2 miles or 4 miles like I have seen some of my peers do. But really that is just not going to happen unless I get some proper instruction on my front crawl. So the hunt for a coach begins.

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