15/11/2011 by Carl Reynolds
Rather foolishly perhaps, or maybe I hanker a secret desire, I have agreed to accompany two friends to a swim bootcamp next June. The camp is based around Sandycove Island, or Goat Island as it’s also known locally. It’s a ten minute drive south of Kinsale and is, in my opinion, a better venue to train for a channel crossing than mucky Dover Harbour; despite the delights at Dover of a regular interaction with the wonderful Frieda Streeter, aka The General.
Now, I’m with Frieda on the subject of swimming across the Channel – why? I have no desire to…but I know several people who do. I can swim for a long time – maybe not as long as a Channel crossing – and I love swimming in open water. Especially if there is a swell, sea weed and other wildlife to be seen. So, just like two years ago when I accompanied Big C over the Channel as one of his boat crew, I’ve agreed to go with Sarah and Bryn to Ireland next June and get up at 5.30am to swim, cook them breakfast, sleep, swim more and then swim some more. It’ll be getting on for 100km in a week. But why am I telling you this?
I’ve agreed to swim an hour in the chilly ten degrees C water of Tooting Bec Lido with Stephanie Voss – who’s also decided to cross the Channel next summer and will be at the same bootcamp. As I am one of the few who swims more than a mile at this temperature, she asked me to swim with her. I said, “yes”, as long as she slows down a tad. So to ensure I can – the last hour I did was at 12 degrees – I decided to do 3000 yards (50 mins) today as a wet run for Sunday morning. And for the first time in a while, I shivered a little. Despite this I’m now confident of giving her some company on Sunday morning, despite knowing that the temperature will be down to 9 degrees C. (For the uninitiated reader we don’t don wetsuits – just a hat or two.)
Kate, aka Mrs Ape, meanwhile did a kilometre in her usual leisurely style of 30 minutes and looked positively radiant afterwards.