Sunday 12 September 2021

Photo of the day - 12: First sea swim of the year - at Eastbourne

The concert band I play in were due to do a gig at the Eastbourne Bandstand. Given that it is right on the seafront, I decided to get there early enough to go for a quick dip in the sea. I had been wanting to go for an open water swim all week, and with Swim Serpentine less than a week away I was keen to take whatever opportunities I could. It was quite an easy thing to do. I parked on a side road off the seafront road and walked to the sea front to start my swim. Given that it wasn't very warm, I wore a wetsuit - in this case my swimrun wetsuit with calf sleeves. 

As I have gotten into the sport of swimrun I have found that the kit you use for this sport is really handy for swimming in general. The calf sleeves and pull buoy (which is strapped to my thigh) give extra buoyancy to the point that you don't really need to kick your legs when swimming front crawl. The hand paddles also make your stroke efficient and you go that bit quicker than if you had none of these items. 

The other things I have that really make life easier are a pair of swimrun shoes. They are basically minimalist running shoes that are light and don't weigh your legs down in the water, and then they drain quickly when you get out of the water. The ones I wear are Vivobarefoot Tempest. Other brands exist like Salomon or Inov8. They were great because I could walk down the road with them and then just get straight into and out of the water while wearing them. 

This was my first sea swim of the year. I don't know why I'd left it so long. I had made a previous attempt a few months ago in Brighton, after cycling there from London. But I didn't have my wetsuit with me, and even though it had been a hot day the water just wasn't hot enough for me. So I only succeeded in getting knee deep into the water before I called it a day! 

This time I had the gear and that gave me a lot more confidence to have a go and deal with "the challenge". The water was a bit choppy, and that made sighting a tricky as I kept being wafted off the path I was trying to follow; but thankfully The Wish Tower when swimming one way, and Eastbourne Pier when swimming the other way, made life a lot easier. I had a big tow float with me, which is necessary, particularly for visibility among the various paddleboarders and other swimmers. So all in all I felt safe during my one-mile swim. 

When I got out, quite a few people stopped and asked me how my swim had gone and admired the fact that I had been in, given the temperature. That gave me an even greater sense of achievement. I highly recommend a little dip like this, particularly before something like a concert, as I came out feeling quite relaxed, refreshed and ready to jam.

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