Friday 8 September 2023

One day one photo - 8: Swimming in Canary Wharf

Swimming in Middle Dock, Canary Wharf

Happy Friday! And what better way to start the day than by having a dip in the Middle Dock at Canary Wharf. I got there a little later than planned after having had issues with the battery in my motorcycle - more specifically it was the tracker which was draining an inordinate amount of energy from my battery, so there was a delay while the battery was getting charged.

Once I arrived at that familiar stretch of water among the tall glassy buildings and the suits of the Docklands financial district, I felt a sigh of relief at the knowledge that I couold don my wetsuit and be in the cool relaxing water.

And cool it was! It's worth noting that the water in Middle Dock is generally colder than that in other nearby open water venues like the Royal Victoria Docks and the Docklands Sailing and Water Sports Centre. It is generally two or three degrees see colder. I am not entirely sure of the reason why; it may be to do with the depth. In any case, as we are currently enjoying a mini heatwave this was not an issue as the water was still 19 degrees Celsius. 

Now in its second season of open-water swimming, Canary Wharf is the newest London venues for this pursuit. I must say it's my favourite. It's easy to get to by motorcycle, bicycle or public transport - the tube station is right at the venue, as is the Docklands Light Railway. There are lots of cafes and bars nearby, and you are guaranteed an audience from the bemused al fresco diners! the venue handily has benches where you can change outdoors, plus there's a basic changing room for those who want to change in privacy, and there are indoor public toilets where you can also get changed. Plus, the folks are very friendly - not that folks in other venues are less friendly. I just like the folks here because last year they gave me extra credits for free. I had done a mini SwimRun challenge, in which I swam at all the local venues in one morning and ran between them, and Canary Wharf was my final venue. The staff there were so impressed at what I'd done that they gave me three or four free swims. So all the last few swims I have done in Middle Dock have been free of charge. 

Today I opted to wear my SwimRun wetsuit with calf guards, meaning that my legs had extra buoyancy, so I didn't have to do much work to keep in the optimum position in the water and I didn't have to do much kicking either. Just gliding along with gentle arm strokes of front crawl put me in the sweetspot. 

There is a 400m and a 200m loop and this morning they were only operating the 200m loop - which I think was more like 350m! No worries. The water was very clear, making it really easy to see other swimmers just by noting their legs when I had my face in the water. Given the weather, all the swimming slots were fully booked, so there were many of us in the water and we all went around visible as a clutch (or whatever the collective noun is) of tow floats. Some, myself included, were doing front crawl, while others bobbed along doing breast stroke. It's all pretty democratic as regardless of speed or stroke, skins or wetsuit, we all come out refreshed and having had a relaxing time in the water. 

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