Swimming Stories.

A while has passed since I last wrote. One reason is my website was down so I was not able to post what I had written.


But also the sea swimming opportunities have been hampered by poor weather. High winds and high tides do not make for the most safest of sea swimming.


At Folkestone where I swim most often, if the wind is in the right (or rather wrong) direction and there is a high tide, getting in and out is less than safe. You stand the risk of being battered into concrete if a wave catches you and knocks you off your feet. 

The caravan opened on 12 February. It had been my intention to go down that weekend with the girls both to celebrate my birthday (early) but also to sneak in a few nifty swims. Sadly the weather was so atrocious on the Friday it made driving somewhat risky. 


Given that I cannot swim if I am injured or dead, I decided to postpone the weekend away. In fact the weather was appalling. There would have been no swimming in the sea. What I did manage to do though was some good quality pool sets, ending the weekend with a 7k swim.


I had up until then lost my swimming mojo. I was a bit fed up with doing CSS paced swims against a bleeping timer. And I use the word bleeping for two reasons. Both because it does bleep but it also saves the unnecessary use of a swear word. It was in fact driving me bonkers. I was beginning to feel like an Amazon ware house employee. (Only I did not have to move quite so quickly). Ali had suggested I just swim without it. How obvious really. So I had a couple of weeks doing drills and sets based on feel rather than measurement. 


I rediscovered my joy for swimming after that and had some good sessions. 


For my birthday properly I did spend the weekend away and did not swim at all. I got off the wagon and enjoyed a number of bottles of wine and quite a few gins with Melton. We went away and had a really good time! 


Directly after this I recorded a new CSS time with my swim buddy Claire. Although a bit slower than previously I did not mind as I was enjoying swimming again.


Then to bring us up to date, the first Saturday in March found me on the beach with Mr Earthquake et al. There were several new swimmers (some of whom had Dry Robes. Cue photo opportunity) The regulars are Dan, Grantley, Neil and myself. Glenn was missing this week but we were joined by a group from Birmingham. 


The tide was in (and it was a 7.2m spring tide) but there was little wind. Victoria had waited for me and we entered the water together. The sea is still a balmy 8.7 degrees. It was warmer in than out at 10.30am. It is the first time either myself or Victoria had been in the sea for some time. It was fantastic. Not so cold it takes your breath away but still invigorating. Victoria had had a swim lesson in the week and is learning how to swim butterfly. Regular readers will know that Ali and myself do a version of Butterfly that we call Moth.


rough seas














We spent some time learning from Victoria how to do it. It was great fun and made the time fly! (butterfly!) We were in for around 30 minutes. The sea was really high and reached up to near the top of the harbour wall. We could not stand up so very easily (well ok I could not stand up- Victoria is taller than me and she had head and shoulders out of the water). 


Getting out was quite tricky. We were not sure what the beach would be looking like when the tide was out. As we got in we had been aware of  a step down from the ramp. (That had not been there before).  We had dived in from the edge as we got in. As we got out we were whipped about by the waves but made good on our attempt. 


As usual we went to the Lifeboat for dinner. A lovely feast. 


In the afternoon the tide had gone out a bit. The arches looked different again. The steps up to them (and the step on the ramp) were all visible for the first time ever. The step we had dived off would be lethal if the wind was up and the waves high. 

The sea was fairly flat so we went in and had a brilliant swim. It felt colder than in the morning. 


more steps


















I was pleased with my days swimming activity. 


The next day Sunday 2 March I went down to see the sea. The tide was predicted to be 7.4m and high tide was at 1145. We met at 10.30. The tide was already in the arches and was due to come in. The waves were large already and crashing against the arches.  The others were already in when I arrived. I decided against it. I would have struggled to get in and as the tide was due to come in further and the waves would only have got bigger, I certainly would not have got out. My own assessment was that it was too dangerous for me. Good luck to the others and I did feel a pang the green stuff but it was not worth the risk. I have a big swim to do later in the year and a twisted ankle or knocked out teeth would almost certainly impair my training!  It did look like huge fun though and I know I would have enjoyed it once I was in. 


A 5k swim instead was on the cards. Not nearly as much fun of course. 



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