This month I asked a swimmer to provide a guest post and Alice has kindly agreed. Swimming is an activity for all, not just those who have spent their teenage years plowing up and down the swimming lanes. If you’re experiencing any doubts on your swim journey or if you are thinking about trying open water swimming hopefully Alices story will inspire. Dan
I loved swimming when I was a kid. There’s even a cine film to prove it. Aged 2, in a swimming costume
, on a rainy and windswept Brittany beach I demand to go into the sea. Finally my mum (who is wrapped in a coat), picks me up and lowers my feet into the waves. I’m delighted…
Somewhere between there and adulthood, I lost my connection with water. That childhood adventure was replaced with wearing suits and high heels and sitting at a desk 12 hours a day, punctuated with the odd escape to the gym to run nowhere fast on a running machine.
Thankfully a series of challenging life events, including being knocked off my bike by a lorry and breaking my leg skiing (and told I couldn’t run again) meant I got a fresh perspective on the concept of a healthy and rewarding lifestyle. Part of that was finding a leg friendly sport to help get me fit!
So three summers’ ago I signed up for an open water swimming course with the Outdoor Swimming Society at the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park. That’s where I met Anna who had a place in the Great London Swim.
One early morning I (nervously) went along to the historic Serpentine Swimming Club, to find out what this swimming thing was really about. Everyone was really friendly. I was introduced to a group of women training for the Lake Zurich marathon swim. I’d never heard of it, but their coach explained it’s a 26km swim across the lake, without a wetsuit, and in the relay you alternate – an hour on, an hour off – amongst your team.
All these ladies looked really fit and very happy. I was a little bit in awe. There and then, standing in my second hand wetsuit, overweight and having never swum more than about a kilometre, I decided I was going to swim across Lake Zurich too!
Three summers later that’s exactly what Anna and I are doing.
We’re really excited. It’s our first proper non wetsuit swim and it will be the furthest either of us has ever swum.
Neither of us has ever trained for anything as big as this before.
We have training diaries and a real coach (Dan). I also have a special bag for my swim kit now and Anna and I have matching swimming costumes. That’s how serious it is.
During the swim we will have a ‘support boat’ and on it will be the ‘support crew’ (our mate Sue).
Some days it feels like an incredibly slick operation. On others (like when I simply forgot to swim the last 800m of my training set last week), not quite so much!
Now we are halfway through our training and swimming stronger and more consistently than we ever knew we could, eating more food than we ever thought possible, learning about pacing and good technique, discovering drills with silly names like Wonder Woman, rediscovering our stomach muscles, swimming in a variety of wonderful pools, lidos and lakes, and when we’re not face down in the water, meeting lots of lovely fellow swimmers along the way.
Essentially though, this is about two girls who grew up in South East London, started swimming in the hope of being able to swim a mile, got hooked, became friends, and wanted to have an adventure.
It’s pretty wicked.
You can find out more about the South East London Ladies Swimming Club (our team name for the Lake Zurich relay) via the links below – We’re basically using our Zurich adventure as an excuse to shout about how accessible, friendly and brilliant swimming is to anyone who will listen.
Any support is much appreciated!