25/04/2013 by Carl Reynolds
Or a week swimming long distance in all sorts of cold and cool water. Arrived at Palma Airport to be told that my new friend, Diarmuid, was waiting on the shuttle bus for me. A long natter later and we arrive at the perched-on-a-cliff Hotel Sirena, where after a quick turnaround we are dumped in the sea for the SwimTrek ritual hat sorting. Maybe JK Rowling is a secret wild swimmer? Having decided to swim in energy conservation mode, I was in the middle group along with the fabulous Sarah, Cathy, Sian and Maighread.
Diana was along to support Nicky, Maighread to support Lynsey, I’ve been a support swimmer a couple of times (and again this year for the wonderful Ms Tunnicliffe); and with Thomas the German Lone Swimmer there were four of us who were not swimming the channel this year. Everyone else is, or will do. Except for James who’s doing MIMS (“fabulous baby”).
I’d met Mark when he was swimming endless laps of Sandycove Island with Lisa Cummins a few years ago, the two Gary’s were two tough nuts, and Diarmuid is a hands free physio.
And the guides…the incredible Smurf, King of the Channel Kevin Murphy (an encyclopeadia of endurance experiences and wisdom), Cliff Golding (seven channel swims), and Fiona Southwell, Queen of the Brighton Swimming Club, channel swimmer herself and organiser without peer.
To the swims. We had calm, we had chop, we had wind, we had a little rain. The water was 15C, with both cold and warmer patches. We all got stung; myself at 5hr 59m into my 6hr swim. Taking a wild guess at 3km an hour I swam, 9km on Sunday, 12km on Monday, 18km on Tuesday and 3km on Wednesday. 42km in four days.
I feel a little stiff, but discovered a few good things as well –
I have re-learnt how to pee in motion,
The adage, ‘swim feed to feed’, has been made concrete and makes deep bodily sense,
Peaches work; as do half hour feeds,
There’s a smaller, but similar set up at Brighton, for those who don’t fancy having a muddy moustache each week,
I am fitter than I think and the stroke works well.