Due to the physio treatment I took the whole of Friday off. Saturday was at the lake again.
It was pretty miserable and certainly warmer in than out. I assisted Ali with the 11am assessments. This involves swimming around 200m in a wetsuit. I don’t really call that swimming anymore. But it is quite a long way when there is no lines and no edges to hold onto!
Still I was in the water. And that makes me happy. The lake was 17 degrees. It felt quite warm in the water in a wetsuit. But it is still about 10 degrees colder than a swimming pool. And lots of people find swimming pools a bit chilly.
After the assessments were completed I had arranged to swim the 750m loop with Jane. Her event is in two weeks and she just wanted to make sure she could swim the distance.
I kept my wetsuit on as there were more assessments afterwards. It is hard enough to get a wet suit on before it is wet (a dry wet suit!). Let alone when it is a wet wet suit.
Jane swam really well for around 500m. At this point she was a bit breathless. She was concerned about this. I reassured her that if she and run along way she would be breathless and she would not think anything of it. I did not think she was having a panic attack. She was tired. It is a long way is 500m when there is nothing to hold onto. The wet suit is buoyant and she was able to lay on her back to recover a little.
We swam for another 50 m. This took us to the bank. Jane stood for a while to catch her breath again. She swam another 50 m or so and had another little rest. She started to walk but I stopped her. “Jane” I said, “No walking. You will only beat yourself up for not swimming it all. You can rest as much as you need to but we are swimming it all”. Jane’s big smile told me all I needed to know.
She swam the distance!
I advised her to swim the 200m round the buoys the following week. Then she can come in every 200m for a rest but is still swimming the distance.
With that she exited the water and I joined the next round of assessments.
In total I was in the water for around 2 and a half hours. I swam around 1.5k in that time. It is great helping others with their swimming. Plus I was in the water and it kept me from over doing it.
The following day I had arranged to meet Victoria at 10am on the tops. Her swim intentions were for 2 hours in the morning and a double dip opportunity for the afternoon. Mine were to see how my elbow held up.
Kaz (returned from her holidays) agreed to BBB. (Be beach butler). I picked her up and off we set.
The tide was high but had turned and was on its way out. The beach was still fairly empty as it was quite early and the weather was cloudy and a bit over cast.
We secured an arch but the sun was out so we set up swim camp outside. I have to confess I was a bit trepidacious. I was not sure how my elbow would fair. Still there was only one way to find out. I agreed with Kaz that even if my elbow was ok I would only swim for 90 minutes. That way I could double dip with Victoria.
We got in the water. Victoria always makes a fuss and screams. I joined in just for the fun of it!
I dived in through a wave and Victoria plunged in soon after. With Kaz briefed to provide us with our drinks (aka feeds) at half hourly intervals we set off toward the Burstin and then back toward the 3rd falling rock sign. This was the swimmable beach. There are rocks that you cannot see and we have various markers that we use so we don;t swim into them. I have previously swum into them and it hurts. And you bleed. And the salt water gets into the grazes and stings. So not something to be repeated!
The first half hour flew by. Nuno had suggested that I half my distance and only use 70% of the effort I would normally. There is a saying in swimming that if you slow it down you speed it up. I was concentrating on my rotation in the water and the length of my stroke as I swam toward the Burstin. On the way back I was thinking of high elbows. It seemed that I was flying through the water. It felt easier toward the Burstin. I think this was because I was thinking of rotation. Kaz observed later that we were going quicker toward the falling rocks as the waves would move us on.
Victoria was flying too. She was swimming strong. With all that room (the whole of the English Channel if you will?) we still managed to bump into each other. This caused great hilarity. Our laughter carried onto the beach and Kaz asked us what we had been laughing at.
I exited the water at 90 minutes leaving Victoria to swim the last 30 alone. I wanted to stay in but mindful of the advice (and knowing that there would be a double dip opportunity) I got out. Victoria nailed another 2 hour swim.
Stuart had joined us on the beach. Kaz and Stuart went off together as they needed to do some bits around town. Victoria and I walked back up to our cars together. It was at that moment that I realised 3 things. 1) Kaz had my car key. 2) My phone was in the car. 3) The van key was in the car.
Victoria messaged Kaz and I joined her in the Beatle. We arrived at the van and had to sit out for about 30 minutes waiting for them.
We then had beans and cheese on toast before our next dip. Fortunately Kaz has a key for the van so was able to let us in!
Kaz again was BBB. The sun was out for the next dip although there was a stiffer breeze. The tide was low which gives a long swimming stretch. Victoria as usual made a fuss. She was a sleepy badger and was not really feeling the love! With short shrift from Kaz (and me!) we got changed. Victoria had only one cossie with her so she had to put on her wet cossie. I had a dry one!
The plan was for an hours dip. “That is only 2 half hours and you will be fine once you are in”, said Kaz. Proving in one sentence that she can add up and…. Actually I am not sure what else that proves!
So that is what we did. It was fantastic being in the water again. There were some lovely warm bits. But also some really cold bits.
Victoria nailed three hours in one day. A most audacious swim. She was well pleased with herself. I had swum for 2.5 hours. No pain killers at all.
I made sure that I did some post swim stretches.
We then took some photo opportunities on the beach (as we had the official photographer back).
I have said it once and I will say it again. Although the channel is a “solo” it is far from a solo effort. My swim buds and land crew (BBB) have supported me though my tears (earlier in the week) but also with lots of laughter. Mind you that is easy as we do find ourselves laughing at anything! Bumping into each other as you swim would not immediately strike you as funny. It hurts (Well it hurt Victoria as I walloped her) but we laughed.
So thank you again Swim Buddies. In the words of a famous Frank Turner song “if you’ve got my back I’ll go on”.