Swimming + Me | #3

Henley Swim | Open Water Swimming

The lakes are all open. British Summertime is here. No more excuses not to strip and dip!

Whether you are in training for an open water swim event, or want to experience the expansive freedom of wild swimming...then wrestle an hour free to join us on a Friday night.

You can soak up a TOP hours swim coaching and have some watery fun with like minded dippers all for eight quid.

Before you rush to sniff out your budgie smugglers, sit back and have your swimming appetite whet by our dear friend, Sara's, account of Swimming + Me.

MY SWIM HISTORY CONSISTS OF MY 100M BACKSTROKE BADGE AT JUNIOR SCHOOL... UNLESS YOU COUNT A SWIM UP POOL BAR ON HOLIDAY?

It’s only on writing this that I’ve realised that swimming has changed my life. Not in an earth shattering way but it’s opened up a whole new wet and watery world for me, quite literally, as I’ve now started travelling more for a swim.

To date I’ve toured the Lake District in a wetsuit, island hopped my way around the Scilly Isles without a boat, swam from Asia to Europe (not as impressive as it sounds, Turkish grannies do it!) and taken part in a swim-camp in Malta. This year I’m off to take a dip in Copenhagen harbour.

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m a 40 something female, chocolate-obsessed jogger whose PB’s are sadly from my teens. I’m not fast and I am definitely not a swim shark.

In fact my swim history consists of my 100metre backstroke badge at junior school and then nothing for nearly three decades… unless you count a swim up pool bar on holiday?

I FINALLY DISCOVERED A LOVE OF OPEN WATER SWIMMING.

Running was my thing. But after yet another injury in 2010 a few friends and I decided to try a local super sprint triathlon. It sounded simple enough apart from the fact I couldn’t do crawl or breaststroke. I still can’t do breaststroke.

The swim, all 8 lengths of it, was bloody hard work and I was delighted to get out the pool without needing the lifeguard, even though he was rather handsome. But I’d really enjoyed my first triathlon. So much so that three months’ and one sprint triathlon later, I got carried away and signed up for a half-ironman for the following year. THAT’S when I finally discovered a love of open water swimming, albeit mainly because I found I couldn’t sink in a wetsuit!

And the rest, as they say, is history. From then I’ve gone from one madcap event to another. In 2012, I did my first swim only event. Having found out what I could actually achieve if I followed a proper training plan, I entered the Eton Dorney 10k - something shorter may have been more sensible for a first swim but I was on a role now.

I SEEM TO HAVE DEVELOPED C.E.D (COMPULSIVE ENTERING DISORDER)

Most of my training was done in the local pool because the nearby lake didn’t open early enough in the year. As I was a bit worried about meeting the cut-off time I decided I needed to see what I could do before the event. Four hours and 400 chlorine-filled, shoulder-aching lengths later I was as ready as I’d ever be.

I’m never likely to win an event but I seem to have developed CED (Compulsive Entering Disorder) over time. I just can’t help myself. This coupled with an only problem eg “it’s only X miles” has got me in to all sorts of trouble.

So far this includes an ironman distance triathlon, a 100k ultra run and the Bridge to Bridge 14km swim – all never to be repeated, well not for a while anyway. Anyone else fancy the Isoman triathlon next year? The bike (the bit I like least) is only 61 miles. I’m seriously tempted…

Sara Long

So for now, keep us in the LOOP by using #theswimshed for all of your swim adventures and watery escapades!

#TheSwimShed #Triathlon #swimmingandme #openwater

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