31/01/2017 by Carl Reynolds
And for the nth time we fetch up at Tooting Bec Lido for the Cold Water Swimming Championships; a gathering of those bold enough to get in the cold and sprint across the 30m width of aforesaid lido. I did the 30m Freestyle in 20.8 secs and came an unrespectable 19th overall; 26 secs for Fly, but in mitigation I just wanted to do it fluently; and our relay – which was more a promenade for our hats – saw us swimming our last leg while most of the other teams had already finished. But we did beat the Institute of Advanced Cake Studies…probably because they had a ringer from Brockwell Lido. Thanks to Joh and Nicola for being ace team mates.
Kate won the Best Hat and won a gold medal and a DryRobe Advance; Joh got a Highly Commended for her seaweed hat; my hat failed to light up as I expected (I’ll need to work on that); and Nicola’s hat disassembled during her crossing, alas. The next morning saw us at Tooting for a frigid dip; delicious sauna and endless natter; and Joh and Nicola in the Serpentine.
The championships take months of planning by assorted volunteers at the South London Swimming Club – especially Margy Sullivan, Sue Rentoul and Claire McRobbie – and consistently attract Finns, Poles, Americans, Russians, Devonish and a host of others from here and there; including the East German Ladies Swim Team.
We stayed with lido legend Tonie Greig; who took us to some grand drinking places in Tooting Market; Thai and Lebanese food; and plied us with tea, coffee and games of cribbage and rummikub.
Thank you for giving us a wonderful weekend.