As a child; going to LA (Littlehampton) for weekly swimming lessons with my mum and sister, swimming on holiday, body surfing the waves at Mother Ivy’s bay, the unheated pool at school. All these childhood experiences have meant that I have always been comfortable and confident in the water, which is something that I have always taken for granted.
Since the start of my involvement in the Sea Lanes project, I have begun to reconnect with swimming and the grounding that it gives. I’m swimming two or three times a week at the moment with the Sea Lanes project providing my initial motivation. But I’ve realised that there is something so much more than the desire to see a project delivered successfully which keeps me coming back.
Over the years I’ve had numerous injuries to my calf muscles meaning I can no longer run. I never ran a lot, but I was used to being active and always found enough exercise to keep some of the weight off. I found that I was looking for something without really knowing it. I was missing being active, so swimming has been a revelation. It is a low impact sport so doesn’t overly strain my ageing body! It is both social and solitary, whilst really helping my health. Mentally there is the social side of swimming with a friend, together with the peace of being alone with your thoughts and no prospect of uninvited interruption. Physically, it is great exercise with swimming in open water being particularly invigorating.
It has been a laugh too, somehow Harry (who could barely swim 10m front crawl 12 months ago), and I have set up an Instagram account called ‘Fat and Thin go for a swim’ following an impromptu wild swim in the river Wye at Hay Festival as a way of documenting our swimming adventures.
I’m ‘Fat’ by the way.
We have certainly amused ourselves, friends and family with our silly adventures of super hero alter-egos and being #swimready constantly… Not all heroes wear capes, but they do wear goggles!
Being active and outdoors has me feeling alert, strong, fit and healthy again. It is addictive. It has been really enjoyable to re-connect with the outdoors and indeed myself. I want to continue to swim faster and further.
What advice would I give to anyone thinking about swimming? Do it. What are you waiting for?
From my experiences to date I would recommend;
- Teaching your kids to swim
- Getting a good pair of goggles – you can’t go wrong with Zoggs Predator Flex 2.0
- If you are going to be swimming outside then being visable and staying safe is really important;
- Get a swim cap, preferably a Sea Lanes one 😉
- Familiarise yourself with sighting and the tides
- Seeing a coach and get your technique checked out – if like me you have not swum for a while you are going to be rusty
- Find a swim buddy or group to go swimming regularly with and stick at it