Aqua Sphere Long Swim Series 2009

AquaSphere Long Swim SeriesCompleted the Dorney Lake long swim today. 1h26, which I was happy with considering it was 16 degrees and I wasn’t using a wetsuit. For anyone looking to experience a mass start long swim in open water ahead of a triathlon or swimming event, I’d recommend this series. Dorney Lake is a great setting – my Channel Swim team mates also did the Bournmouth sea swim – and the organisers said they are looking to add another sea swim and one to two lake swims to the 2010 schedule.

Twitvid: at the start.

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Cool swimming

As London revels in a mini heat wave – 31 degrees and rising – a great place to cool off are the Ponds in Hampstead Heath. With the London Triathlon looming large, and the English Channel Swim on the horizon, today I headed for the Heath and some more open water practise.

I swam in the mixed pond, located off East Heath Road with it’s own off-street parking and costing only £2 for an adult swim (see Heath map). There are changing facilities and toilets if required, and the Ponds have life guards on hand to ensure safety. Arriving at 5.15pm was a touch late and – given the weather – bathers were out in force. Moreover, the water is very murky due to the shallow depth so siting was doubly difficult. I opted for swimming lengths on the west side, using the reeds and bushes for guidance (the left of the photo below). Unfortunately the water wasn’t as cold as I needed – 20 degrees today – so my quest for gaining 15-18 degree experience (without wetsuit, in prep for the Channel) continues…

Hampstead Heath_Mixed Pond

Swimming in the Med

Here’s where I went swimming a few days ago.

St Pauls, Lindos

St Pauls – near Lindos on Rhodes Island – provided fairly hospitable surroundings for my first serious swim in open water. I swam for an hour out of the bay and into the sea, then back again via some caves at the bay’s mouth. The choppy waves took a little getting used to, as did the current on the way back in. Mind you, the 35-degree heat kept the water comfortable. The salty water had the potential for rapid dehydration so I employed a tip from Ruth and Ewan (two of my Channel Swim team mates): breathing with my lips pursed preventing – as much as possible – any water entering my mouth.

I managed to fit a second shorter swim in whilst fishing out at sea later in the holiday – colder and rougher, although clearly tame in comparison to what the Channel Swim will bring!

St Pauls from the Acropolis, Rhodes Island

St Pauls from the Acropolis, Rhodes Island