Return from the Cold Water Swimming Championships

Hi folks,

have just about defrosted enough to update you on what was a really fun event!

It was heartwarming to arrive at registration to be greeted by lots of organisers and participants wearing funny hats and treating you like you are one of ‘them’. Lots of familiar faces, Carl Richards, Howard Keech, Paul Massey, Karen Throsby and lots of SwimTrek guides (for anyone who has been on a Swimtrek holiday).

The event itself was extremely well organised. We all received our event cards and meeting details so it really was impossible to escape oops, I mean, miss your swim. There was a huge marquee with various swimming business’ advertising their stuff e.g. SwimTrek, a stand selling customised t-shirts/ hoodies, pedal driven cinema and oh, a stand selling beer …

There were food stands selling pancakes & hog rolls (hogs were cooked on a spit right there), tea, coffee, hot chocolate and free refreshments including soup for the swimmers. The smell of food was so inticing after each swim …. a well earned treat.

The water was 3 deg C. The weather was overcast but the Lido was buzzing and alive with colour.

The sprints started with front crawl at 9 am and continued until 12 noon – they did the sprints in 10 yr age categories so we were well mixed up throughout the day. We waited and watched as participants went about their sprints and cheered on anyone we remotely knew. Once it was your turn to go and get ready, you just went about it, everyone else did and with a smile on their face…

The sprints were fast – cold on the initial jump and then waiting for everyone to get their shoulders under so we could count down to “Go!” . They were over fast the cold never had a chance to get into your core.

My most cherished moments were getting out of the pool after each sprint and having a friendly face greet me with ‘Liz, I have your are your sandals ..’ I thank the volunteers profusely, I love you all!

Then a race to the hot tub and/or sauna – no fear of suffering for too long!! Again, superb organising!

The competition for the Best Hat for the Heads Up breast-stroke was tough! We did have our token effort with Craig The Viking, Rob the Parrott (it was a parrott wasn’t it??) and Gábor the Dragon. Ok I was a Dragon too but thats no surprise to some 😉 More hats can be seen on the facebook link for the South London Swim Club:!/pages/UK-Cold-Water-Swimming-Championships-2011/118643761513087

It seemed everyone there was there to have fun, which is just as well because the teasing from the commentator was shameless!

The relays started at 12 noon – they were great fun, as any team event should be – cold well forgotten! A special thanks to Howard for joining us on this one!

The endurance swim was next at 2.30 pm and I have to say, utmost respect to everyone who did this. It was a tough swim. Especially with Craig and I standing there with pints in our hands cheering the rest of our troops on! All our swimmers did great: Lisa, Finbarr, Gábor, Sylvain, Rob. Truly proud of you all! A few swimmers were pulled out – training in the cold makes all the difference.

Well done to Lisa and Sylvian who got medals in their individual sprints. Lisa came 2nd for front crawl and Sylvain came 2nd for Heads Up breast-stroke.

And to Donal, so sorry you couldn’t be there. You were sincerely missed by all.

For those interested next year the Championships will be held in Latvia, the following year, 2013 will be back in London. I’d highly recommend it!

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