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Outlaw Virgin

Swimming with the current

Hartybeastby HartybeastOct 8th 2012
Completed Hamption Court Bridge to Kingston bridge swim yesterday, first open water swim since July Outlaw. Original event cancelled in July due to too much water, however as yesterday dawned defintely feeling that this was going to be a unique experience. Taking the ferry up stream the sun was causing the surface of the Thames to mist poetic but showed how cold the river was promising to be.
On the way upstream the first wave passed us, how effortlessly they looked could only hope of looking the same to other onlookers when it was my turn.fter usual queue for the loo, got registered and had around 25 minutes to get ready, saw many anxious faces and heard many hushed nervous discussions between friends and loved ones.
Getting into the water caused a huge intake of breath as cold water perculated into the wetsuit, it wasnt as bad as I thought and soon warmed up. Staying close to the bank to avoid being swept downstream before the off proved to be a challenge and highlighted just how strong the downstream current was. The usual muted cheer marked the off and the carnage which marks the strt of any open water event commenced.
Concentrated on keeping calm, not getting flustered by the proximity of others of the flailing arms knowing that within 2/3 minutes open water could be found as the swimmers settled into their rhythm. Sighting into the sun proved to be difficult even with tinted goggles but the huge inflatable bouys at least were soft. The first indication of the speed we were swimming ws when we were overtaking walkers on the towpath following the event, the second was taking a sighting off an orange inflatable bouy only for 10 strokes later finding myself on collision course with it.
Still am amazed that as the end nears you can be in completely open water with plenty of space and yet everything closes up again like the start, swimmers seem to appear from nowhere and you wonder where they have been.
Passed some fishermen and thought they've no chance todaym however when getting out many of the swimmers had fishing line around them, at least we can remove it, however did spare a thought for the fish and water birds who aren't as dextrous as us.
Whilst trying to get some life back into my legs one of the guys mentioned that it was only 1030, as we'd set off at 0950 that meant a 2.25 mile swim in around 40 minutes, so thats what swimming properly feels like, however getting back into the pool will deflate that euphoria and drop us back into reality. Never mind at least i can brag about a sub40 minute swim to colleagues, they dont need to know about the swim being downstream with a strong current.
If nothing else good for the confidence and is a good base to start winter training. Roll on the dark, cold and wet nights cant wait.

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