Race Report from Bill

Finishing time: 2 hours 57 minutes
Finishing position on day: 28
Total Entries on day: 130

Finishing position over weekend: 60
Total entries over weekend: 230

Okay, so here goes… firstly a huge personal success, no not the swimming but getting my legs and backside into my wetsuit *unaided* in about 20 minutes and hardly sweating – a personal record!

The actual event started at 12:00, with a quick acclimatising dip beforehand and some strange Australian beach-style aerobics. The “instructor” is trying to get our legs warmed up, clearly has never seen me swim – they did more in 5 minutes on land than the next three hours in the water!

The start wasn’t that chaotic, but I opted to be something like 126th into the lake. With 10K to go – what’s the point in sprint / thrashing for the first 200 meters? I think I was in the minority there 

Also there seemed very few swimmers (in the 10K or two 5K waves that joined us) that didn’t want to be as close to the bouys as possible. It would have been easy to spot me because I was a long way from those “hugging” the lane. And appart from the beginning of lap-5 where after a quick chill at the breakfast bar I got caught in the start of the second 5K wave (pink hats) I don’t think I saw – or felt – too many hands and feet.

So the overall swim was actually okay… and I enjoyed it (I cannot believe I wrote that), but that was due to the balmy weather conditions that the “pros” were complaining about… 22 degrees on land and 19 in the water. Whilst glad to come out of the water at the end, I felt I could probably of kept going for a little while longer, at least whilst the breakfast bar was open!

I’ve no idea about my splits or anything, because I don’t wear a watch, so I just concentrated on trying to make each set of strokes to be as consistant at as the last. Now for my problems as being an open water newbie, it wasn’t all plain sailing / swimming as I make out – though to be fair it mostly was.

I had almost catestrophic (no not really – just trying to make more exciting) equipment failure about 6K in… With my patent sighting technique and the fact that I like my goggles to be reasonably loose, it meant that eventually my cap started coming off and taking my goggles with it. I kind of thought something wasn’t right toward the 5K mark, but ignored it. Anyway 6K in and I get some first hand Windermere water up close and personal. That took a few treading water sessions and a longer stop at the breakfast bar to sort out – will adjust a bit better next time.

So there you go.

And to sign off I’d like to say the following… those who know me, and those who don’t but do turn up on Wednesday evenings, will know that I am a pretty good swimmer (bit of boasting, but hey-ho it’s my post, so whatyougoonado?).

At the start of this escapade, whilst not necessarily fit enough to swim 10K, the distance was never (really) going to be the problem, and it wasn’t. My problem was going to always be swimming “outside”, it’s not something I had done a lot of (once 12/15 years ago) – and not something I was comfortable with. If you’d seen my first practice in Todbrook… well, let’s say I am glad you didn’t, you’d have had every right to cancel my entry.

So I’d like to say a very big thank you to Di and Gary. In just three gentle (kid-glove) sessions they got me to a point, where I could say “yes I can do that” (albeit not enjoy it). And then suddenly your sitting on a bus going back to your bed-and-breakfast thinking about what to have for dinner because you’ve just smashed 10K.

And very finally, don’t forget whilst I did this for me, I also did this for The Christie and with your kind donations I’ve clocked up *£1,353.05* (don’t forget the 5 pence!). Which is beyond amazing and very, very humbling.

So yes I smashed 10K, and yes I am now a “good” open water swimmer. But massively more important is the £1,300 for The Christie – it will make a difference. Thank you, again.