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Blenheim: Sink or swim?

Our good friend and local Ironman Bryan Tillyer affectionately refers to my husband as ‘The Swim God’ ! Translated that means that my husband, Keith, has pursued his passion for swimming and set up his own swim studio, where he can swim, coach swimming and participate in swimming activities and events morning, noon and night!

My pride overflows when I begin to think and talk of Keith’s qualities and accomplishments. Not only a triathlete and Ironman, he has positively enhanced and influenced many lives through his love of being a passionate swimming coach!

The chemistry of Keith’s knowledge, enthusiasm and experience in coaching coupled with his students commitment and dedication to practise, consistently produces relaxed, confident and competant swimmers and athletes.

Men, women and children come through the doors of The Swim Shed from all walks of life, from 18 to 88 years of age, from novice swimmer to seasoned triathlete…but with one thing in common…they have a desire to improve their swimming.

Now the reason for writing this blog…

I can honestly say that having a ‘desire to improve my swimming’ is a sentence that has never entered my thoughts, been uttered by me in idle conversation or has ever featured on my ‘Things To Do Before I Die List’. In my world, in my life to date (all 43 years of it!), desire and swimming are two entirely separate issues.

The Oxford Dictionary tells us that ‘desire’ is an unsatissfied longing or craving. I do not disagree with that. There are an infinite list of things in my life that I desire to do, have or become. However, a desire to improve my swimming isn’t one of them…or should I say wasn’t one of them, until now!

Read on.

To paint a picture, whilst holidaying abroad, a typical day on the beach would see ‘The Man From Atlantis’ (a.k.a. Keith) effortlessly swimming laps of the bay all day long. I on the other hand would be happily ensconced in a good read, topping up the tan.

Every once in a while my urge to put down the book and submerge myself in seawater was not born from a desire to join Keith for a leisurely spot of open watering swimming, but rather to either a) cool off or b) have a wee!!

Back on home turf I confess it was Keith who taught the children to swim. Keith with his endless patience and passion for swimming, always the first to volunteer to trek off down to the local pool with the children, to spend more time immersed semi-naked in chlorine, dodging floats and inflatables!

I was more than happy to stay behind and cook a full Sunday roast, wash the cars, mow the lawn, paint the house, walk the neighbours dog…anything but get undressed and wet in public!

Being a novice swimmer (I can just about scramble, breathlessly to the end of a 20 metre pool) married to a Ironman/Swim God/Big River Man has similarities to that of being the vegetarian wife of a butcher! And they say opposites attract!

However, there has been a turn of events. Last June I attended the Blenheim Triathlon to do some marketing work for The Swim Shed, whilst Keith was out training for the U.K. Ironman! I was so caught up in the emotions and excitement of the day that, to Keith’s delight, I came home and entered myself online for the 2011 Blenheim Triathlon!

That was back in June 2010. It is now January 2011 and I have managed to procrastinate/avoid having my wonderful husband coach me into the pool for the best part of 7 months!!

This is going to be the biggest challenge of my life, not just improving my swimming, but getting to grips with open water swimming. It will also be the biggest challenge of Keith’s life too!

So as the first weekend in June creeps nearer I confess that I am being pushed by my fear of not making it across the lake at Blenheim and pulled by my desire to improve my swimmimg so I can enjoy the event! (did I just say that?).

Over the next 131 days (OMG!) I shall use the pages of The Swim Shed blog to diary my journey from practical non-swimmer to sprint triathlete, in the capable hands of my husband, swimming coach, Keith Lewis! I shall liken it to Strictly Come Dancing…Strictly Triathlon!

Love and smiles

Jane x

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