Open water swimmers often joke that they look like down & outs on the beach (or anywhere else they swim in cold water I guess). Something to do with trying to wear all your clothes at once to rewarm. Well in Dover this weekend, Andrew Ogierman and I were a little surprised to be mistaken for vagrants, by another vagrant, AFTER we had got showered & changed to go out for the evening. We tried to persuade ourselves it was because we looked as if we had all our wordly belongings in two large bags. The lady involved was concerned that they would get wet during the forecasted rain and advised that we look after ourselves & try to keep dry that evening.
The bags of course were full of towels for this years Aspire English Channel relay swimmers. They had already endured their first two dips in Dover Harbour earlier in the day, clocking up 20 mins and 25 mins at about 9C, and now had to endure one of my best 5k pool sets before they were allowed to go out for supper. Good training for the Channel methinks. The final 6 x 200m relay was hard fought and the result surprised a few!
I was absolutely impressed by everyone’s commitment to all the swims – no complaints, no skipping out early – and their teamwork with almost complete strangers, in keeping each other going in the coldest water that many of them had swum in.
And after a late supper they had to do another two swims the next morning; 30 mins and 35 mins respectively. I managed to pop down early for a quick swim with the red hats (the first of many I hope) before the others arrived. Despite many swimmers avoiding the beach so early in the season, and with such low temperatures, it was surprising to see quite so many swimmers in the water on Sunday – I think there were around 15 soloists and 60 relay swimmers. And the sun shone almost the whole weekend :o)
Personally pleased that I could still keep up, after a winter of not training and trying to rest the shoulder.
Unfortunately for me , sunday was also the day that my new bunch of triathletes were competing in their first sprint triathlon in the Isle of Man, but I was already committed to Dover when the dates were announced. I was really pleased to hear that everyone finished (well all except the one who forgot to set his alarm clock), and swims all went well. One or two of the guys that had taken part before had substantially improved swim times, and much easier swims, so everyone was happy! Wish I could have been in two places at once.
My entry is in for the september tri, so maybe some of them can teach me to bike & run…..