08/01/2012 by Carl Reynolds
What a morning! Startled by the alarm at half seven. Thinking what am I doing. It’s still dark, I can barely open my eyes and I’m going to immerse myself in Baltic waters. Mrs Ape, who has considerably more expertise at getting up early than I, was making tea and porage before I had inserted the first of two matchsticks. Needless to say I sat in the passenger seat and winced at the theatre of the south circular. A mix of those off to church, those just scraping into another hour after an all nighter and the lost – the weaving SatNavigators.
The car park was surprisingly empty. A couple walked in just ahead of us. We hadn’t seen them before. Mr&Mrs Bayliss did 6 and 4 lengths respectively and they’re only been coming a short while. A couple more polar bears to add to the pack.
I was in before the missus; with the aforementioned Bayliss’s in cold pursuit. Mr passed me and got out at six, his Mrs seemed to be the same speed as I. I saw Mrs Ape aqua gliding towards me and thought, “She’s in for a long one”. It’s something in her presence in the water that gives it away. I thought 12 would be enough, but joined Hilary (who gets faster as the water gets colder – something to do with Archimedes she says) on her first two lengths and got out at 14 lengths. 1400 yards and cold. Talking just about intelligibly, but with numb feet. Mrs Ape keeps on swimming and does a personal best of a thousand yards at 5 degrees C. Meaning she was in for about five minutes longer than me.
The sauna was jolly. Many jokes and jests were being made. There’s a spirit of euphoria about the place. 50 odd SLSC swimmers are off to Latvia in a week or two for the World Cold Water Swimming Champs. I didn’t make the team – so you can only marvel at how hard the team is! Meanwhile, Nancy told me that she read Musings in the middle of the night. Hopefully not too soporific?
Outed from the sauna, by the post race influx, but now very toasty, we joined the throng outside the cafe and had cake and coffee. The results were announced, announcements were relayed and Yvonne was cheered, for her remarkable feats, for her years. Live long Yvonne.
The Latvian bound team have hats. And what hats. Hats that’d bring a smile to the face of Dr Suess. Our team will be, ‘The Cats in the Hats’.
Martin came over in his cossie. Shivering a little, but bright eyed. His first km at 5 degrees C (and I think his first swim at this distance below 9 or 10?). Magnificent.
And according the the Latvia swim log – Mrs Ape could be the first woman to swim a km this year. Anyone up for the challenge?
Today’s pictures by Mrs Ape