Longer Swims

I am set up to swim Windermere towards the end of August this year.  The electric boat is booked, and my support crew organised.  It’s going to be a bit of a novice affair all round:

(1) Me – novice swimmer – never done an OWS greater than 2.5 hours, and that was in a wetsuit in the Dart 10 K last October.

(2) Jeff – a friend, not a swimmer (well not a marathon swimmer anyway), but he’s happily agreed to support, both for Windermere and for the channel next year.  Thanks Jeff!

(3) Rafe – was Best Man at my wedding 10 years ago, has a PhD in nutrition, so hopefully will be looking after my nutritional needs.  Thanks Rafe!

(4) Mike Ratcliffe – Personal Trainer at the Sports Centre where I swim.  Used to be a seriously good triathlete back in the day, and would happily knock out 2 hour 30 10Ks in the pool.  He will be swimming wetsuited, I will be under English Channel rules (Speedos, single, non-insulating cap, goggles).

Mike is organising a Kayaker to support him, as it is unlikely we are going to swim the whole thing in tandem.

I have been trying to get some slightly longer swims in before the event, using the unheated, 100 yard, Jesus Green Lido in Cambridge.  Swims thus far:

(1) Opening Day, 13 degrees, 5600 yds, 1 h 27 mins,

(2) 18 degrees, 10000 yds, 2 h 45 mins

(3) 19 degrees, 12000 yds, 3 h 26 mins

(4) 19 degrees, 15000 yds 4 h 10 mins

So that last one is 560 metres longer than I have swum before, and in a 100 yard pool at a cooler temperature.  It was a typical English Summer day, with persistent cloud cover, occasional blustery rain, and even more occasional glimpses of the sun.  Turned out that this was enough to give me some mild sunburn all up my back.  Just as well it wasn’t sunny or I would have been toasted and wouldn’t have noticed until too late.  Note to self – get some serious suncream in!  The swim felt pretty good, and not too boring as I threw a few bits of hand paddles and pull buoy in there to make it more interesting.

We are off camping this weekend, so I will be able to get an hour or so in the sea at Southwold, temperature unknown, before a crack at the full windermere distance the following weekend (10.5 miles – 185 lengths of Jesus Green Pool, 672 lengths of my regular pool).  It should take about 5 hours 15, which sets a lower boundary on what I might expect from the real thing, which is going to be wavier (probably), and colder (definitely) than Jesus Green, which is, at 19 degrees, a little on the warm side now.

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