Bridge to Bridge
For the second season in a row I made the trip out to Henley on Thames for the Iconic Henley to Marlow ‘Bridge to Bridge’ 14km sportive swim. This year I was accompanied by five enthusiastic Fit&Abel swimmers, four of whom were completing a 10km or greater swim for the very first time.
The Henley on Thames bridge is the starting point for this marathon swim. The bridge was constructed in 1786 and sits picturesquely on the river Thames. It is a beautiful site from upon the bridge and the same can be said from under the bridge as swimmers soon discover. How many people can say they have bobbed in the river Thames under a 227 year old bridge ?
Close to 300 swimmers started the event this year; We all start as one, a mass of green caps , wetsuits and bathers, swimming with the current on the first 4km leg of the journey . I have said this event is Iconic, it is also very unique. There are four locks/weirs that need to be negotiated enroute. Swimmers must physically exit the water, the event crew supply food and drink at each of the four exit points – for the inexperienced it is perfect training to learn how to sip a drink, have some banana and then get back in and start swimming.
The swim is billed as non-competitive/sportive due to having to negotiate the 4 weirs and because of all the boat traffic on the Thames. It allows canoe escort to be provided to ‘pods’ of swimmers . This does require swimmers to adjust swim speeds to suit a group.
The 14km swim down to Marlow provides some very picturesque swimming; you see beautiful buildings and parks, wildlife and greenery. You can see the bottom of the river and long flowing grass growing and flowing in the current. I’ve seen fish, but no sharks and no piranha . There is a walk way the entire route so family and friends can follow you cheer and support you. And best of all because you have four compulsory stops there is a chance to say ‘Hi’ more than once to fellow swimmers, making swimming as it should be, as much about the experience and a social event than just a swim.
Read the local press release on this years swim http://www.henleystandard.co.uk/news/news.php?id=39087
For more on the Bridge to Bridge see their website http://www.henleyswim.com/bridge-to-bridge/