Monday, 2 August 2010

Capsized in Keswick

Since my last post mid July I have had around ten open water swims, the first couple after Charlies swim being in The North Sea at Seaton Carew near Hartlepool, which as always expected after the balmy lake felt absolutely Baltic! at 55F. I have also had a very beneficial sprint session at Ellerton Lake with Chris Pearson.                                                             
Last week for the first time since 2008 KGB accompanied me with the kids to Seaton, to watch me swim in near perfect conditions, the water was a little patchy ranging from 55F to 58F, though it was more or less flat and very enjoyable, I wanted/needed to ensure I kept up the colder swims prior to the upcoming BLDSA event. That said, KGB purchased a wetsuit last Wednesday and was keen to test it out which meant another visit to the lake.
On Friday 30th after a day at work we drove across Country to the Lake District for the Derwent Water BLDSA 5.25 mile swim, on arrival we checked into the very very nice bed and breakfast 'The Lookout'  just outside Keswick Town Centre, it was a delight especially after the recent episode at 'The Dover Dump. I had been made aware that Dan Martin was also to be in attendance in order to support Alice Harvey a young, very talented swimmer from Jersey. (she has already swam around Jersey and Jersey to France). It came as a great surprise when Cliff Golding called and explained he was also with Dan and Alice, it made my day knowing Cliff was soon to be with us. After showering we walked into town, met up with the gang and headed to an Italian feed spot and a couple of beers, followed by an early night for much needed sleep.

As usual the early start routine was to attempt to force down breakfast (I find it difficult to eat anything before 10am) then take the short drive to the Lake for registration, numbering and re introductions firstly to Dave Neal who again we hadn't seen since 2008 who had kindly offered the use of a kayak. I also met Karen Throsby and her partner Peter. Karen is due to swim the English Channel in just two weeks time and has undergone a very methodical, detailed and extensive preparation. Below Karen (L) Alice (R).
At the five minute warning all boat crews deployed on the water, KGB was using Dave's sit on Kayak storing flasks of hot maxim, wearing her new wetsuit to avoid the cold should the rain start. Swimmers were then counted into the water before the event/race was officially started by Pam Morgan the BLDSA President. The course was to be a triangular route with two left turns, basically over two miles out, left for the width of the lake then left again and another +two mile stretch back to the start/finish point.
The first leg was with a slight head wind, I found myself adjusting my stroke slightly to compensate for the mild chop, I spoke to KGB after about forty minutes and told her I would feed at the first turn buoy, it was nice to eventually see her pouring my drink which she handed me at the turn after about 70 mins. The depth of the lake then dropped severely, I was swimming through dense weeds and at one point scraped my hand across the lake bed. I took another feed at the next buoy before we turned to head south.

A short time later I was passed by Alice, this was nothing to worry about, if anything it would make life easier for navigation as KGB could just follow, being that the finish was nowhere to be seen. Well....that was the plan.

Then it happened...I was swimming along minding my own business trying to stay in the zone, the water was a steady 62F and I was on the home stretch to complete my longest open water swim of the year, when without warning over went my kayaker into the water, capsized and soaked to the skin. I could see her trying to right the kayak as the flasks bobbed around one of which disappeared from sight into the depths. A few minutes later as KGB struggled to climb aboard we were joined by one of the safety craft, too late I'm afraid as we were now ready to recommence our efforts.

My mind was now wandering I could see Kelly was drenched and did not look too impressed or warm, we were being blown of course, with Dan and Cliff well off in the distance. About half and hour later I took one more feed and plodded on, we had drifted into a cove and could not see the finish line until we were more or less on top of it. Once we finally sighted the piers I stroked home in a time of 2 hours 40 minutes, around ten minutes sooner than predicted, which considering the unexpected incident wasn't too bad at all.

We waited around for all swimmers to finish before the presentation, followed by final goodbyes to friends old and new. I had completed the swim without injury, made an excellent recovery with no adverse effects to the time in the water on what had turn out to be a damp grey day. Overall brilliant training and another step en route to bigger goals.

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