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Swimming + Me | #6

Ever since we opened the doors to The Swim Shed there are countless things that give us a daily buzz…but the one that brings us the most happiness is helping people achieve what they didn’t think was possible for them.

Our last clients today were the brilliantly funny and enthusiastic Blackmore’s, Ashley & Ros and their dog, Stanley, from Cambridgeshire.

It was their final coaching session and check-in with Keith before flying to Copenhagen next week to compete in their first Ironman!

I especially love being around first timers in anything. The energy, excitement and naive enthusiasm is palpable. We have all been there at some point or other, on and off, throughout our lives. If I were a doctor I’d prescribe it to everyone…a daily dose of naive enthusiasm…for life!

It’s infectious being around folk whose belief has been nurtured and then grown and expanded to meet the expectations of the task ahead. For Ashley and Ros that’s Ironman Copenhagen next Sunday. They have tended to a whole allotment of belief since the beginning of this year, weeding out those ruthless negative thoughts! Sharing a cuppa with us last night their belief and excitement was cranked up so high I had to hold myself back from damn well entering the blinking Ironman myself!

Keith and I were once told, by a very wise and successful friend, that in whatever task or endeavour you are embarking on, to ‘stay close to the fire’. By that they meant to surround yourself with those who have successfully done what you are looking to do & have a sterling attitude and an energy about them. Staying close to their ‘fire’ it is a natural consequence that their belief will rub off on you that you can do it, whatever it is for you. Move away from the ‘fire’ and you begin to cool off. You cool off about your ability to achieve and doubt starts to creep in.

It's a massive pleasure to be able to share an account of Swimming & Me with you, from the wonderful human that is Mark Robinson! Mark is living proof that you can ‘stay close to the fire’ even if you are being coached across the waters all the way to Canada! For those of you lucky enough to have met and shared time with him and his beautiful wife, Lisa, you will agree that he is living life on naive enthusiasm!

Thank you for your swimming insights Mark.

I know that there are so many of you competing over the next month and heaps of you that have already notched up the most incredible achievements this summer. I won’t name anyone individually because I will be mortified if I inadvertently forget someone!

Stay in touch with Keith & I and keep us in the LOOP. We have received some brilliant pics of peeps swimming, cycling, running, kayaking and picking up finishers medals in some fab places. We love it!

Keep believing,

Jane x

Mark finishing Ironman Zurich, Switzerland


Me and Swimming.

I can honestly say I never thought I would one day swim properly, well, somewhat proper. In school classes when we swam we did steady lengths and I dreaded this class. For many years after, swimming meant getting in a lake, getting wet, and getting out. If I did travel any amount of distance my head would be high out of the water and turning side to side with every stroke..

In 2012 I decided to change my lifestyle and get fit. I was pushing 230lbs, and not capable of one push up. Of I went and succeeded to get into the 170's. I made it! I was fit. I did some running and lifted some weights but felt I was in need of a stronger form of motivation.

That's when I discovered Molly Jane Lewis's videos on Ironman. That was it! I needed this BUT wait.... I can't swim with my head in the water!

A Facebook message to Keith and I was on a plane from Canada. That whole trip is worth an essay in itself, from bike crashes to doing a race. I spent a few months after trying to figure it all out and then out of the blue one lunchtime swim in December 2013 it all happened. I could swim with my head in the water for more than 50m.


Eventually in July 2015 met up with a bunch of Shed-heads in Zurich and conquered an Ironman. When I look back it's the swim that stands out.

To do a 3.8km swim in an allotted time was a massive achievement for me. When I think back to it I see myself gliding along, I was enjoying it! I was exited to be in the lake and felt a feeling I cannot describe with words, a different kind of accomplishment than anything before.

Crossing the Ironman Zurich finish line

Last year I took on some work commitments that took me away from training. Recently though I am happy to say I'm back to it. The time off made me realise how important the training is in my life. The pain and tiredness brings such a natural high. Sites of Ironman again are aimed at 2019.

My swimming takes place in cottage country in Ontario in the summer and a local pool in the cold months. Canada's lakes are beautiful and so many of them.

If anyone wants to experience swimming in Canada just reach out to me and I'll help make it happen.

Mark Robinson

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