Inspiration for anyone thinking of an English Channel relay

I’ve just read the article regarding why it is sometimes an advantage being a less experienced swimmer. I couldn’t agree more; it certainly rings true in my case! I never did any swimming lessons as a child, let alone swim for a club. I just spent my childhood summers on the beach, not really swimming but playing about in the surf. I only learnt how to do front crawl properly three years ago because I was too embarrassed to do ‘mummy style’ breaststroke in a novice- distance triathlon I had entered on a whim.
 I had four half an hour lessons and still remember the delight of cracking my first length of front crawl at my local leisure centre after doing the school run. I built this up in the pool over a month or so to about a mile. I was so chuffed with myself. I then wondered if I could do an Ironman distance swim, which I found I could. Not fast, but comfortably plodding along.
As I live a five minute walk from the cliff top it seemed quite ridiculous that I wasn’t doing the distance in the sea, but as someone who had travelled extensively to tropical climates, it was beyond my comprehension I would actually get in those chilly waters down at Fishermans Walk beach in Bournemouth.
At this stage I hadn’t even heard the term “open water swimming”, I didn’t know what a “Channel relay” was and I’d never even seen a Dry Robe. Yet somehow I’ve been able to be part of my lovely Pink Ladies team, and this summer completed a Channel relay swim. Meanwhile, my friends who are ‘proper’ swimmers have said they would never have had the guts to get in that cold deep Channel water. 

So sitting at the Channel Swimming Association dinner last Saturday (3 Nov) evening was quite surreal and such a privilege for little ol’me. I must admit I have fallen quite in love with the romance of The Channel, with the extraordinary feats of physical & mental endurance that the solo swimmers are prepared to put themselves through. I also love that you can never really tell who is one of these heroes just by looking at them. They are people you would walk pass in the street, normal looking people, all shapes and sizes.  My most favourite thing, however, is the special sort of camaraderie amongst open water swimmers. I have met such fantastic people because of this crazy adventure I stumbled upon- I just love the ‘eclectic mix’ of people you find.
Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you to H2Open for being part of my wonderful adventure. It’s great to have a magazine that is just filled to the brim with your particular hobby. 

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.