Monday, 31 January 2011

Are you being artistic?

Are you being artistic? That was what Lifeguard Brian asked me this morning when he saw me taking pictures of the bubbles formed by the water jets in the shallow end of the pool.
It was 2ºC in the water today I was told, having done a couple of lengths I could well believe it. It took a good 10 minutes to get warm again in the sauna. I missed most of the other swimmers today so took a few arty shots instead.

The aerator looks like an art deco wedding cake with water is cascading down down each pale blue tier. This oygenates the water which helps keep it clean.

Some January stats:
The temperature ranged from 2ºC to 5ºC
I swam a total of 10 lengths and five widths
Which is 1165 yards, about 0.6 miles or 1 Km
I did 9 seperate swims
Longest single swim two lengths

Friday, 28 January 2011

Trying to snow

The weather has turned that bit colder again, there was snow in the air as I cycled up to the lido. The pool seemed quite deserted as I changed in to my trunks and I really noticed the drop in air temperature. I got in quickly to get out of the wind and did a speedy couple of lengths. I skipped to the sauna which was quite full, everybody sensibly keeping warm.

After my shower I saw Pip arrive, she had decided to do a length (having done widths the day before), so I followed her down the pool taking pictures with my hands in the water. Well done Pip.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Can you tell who it is?

I saw Tall Chris this morning, it was his first swim at the Lido for a while. He said he was going to do a length but in fact walked around a bit and then did three widths, I did two lengths again the water is 3ºC. Afterwards we caught up and warmed up in the sauna. We agreed that swimming is hard in the cold water, you never reach the meditational level that you do in warmer water but it does give you a buzz when you get out.
The picture above is either Fazlar or perhaps a leaf? taken with just my hands in the water.

This is Elizabeth again, I love the angles and the surface reflection.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Head Swim

After watching Mike from Oregon do ten lengths yesterday it made me think. The cold water challenge is really in your head, acclimatisation helps your body prepare for the icy immersion but you still feel cold. With that in mind I set off on a cautious two length swim at about 4ºC, I still huff and puff with a two stroke breathing pattern but I was able to finish and felt no colder than if I'd done one length. The air temperature was marginally more mild today which helped.
After Novembers fainters I'm being quite careful and my recovery rate is much quicker than when I've done a longer swim say eleven lengths at 10ºC, where I don't feel so cold in the water but take much longer to get warm again.
The picture above is Elizabeth (almost submerged) who has been doing two lengths for a while now, I hope I can keep this rate up the weather is supposed to getting colder again toward the week end.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Mike, Sue and Chris too

I was just about to get in this morning when an American voice asked me how many lengths I was going to swim, "Just the one" was my reply. The voice was Mike from Oregon who had come over to the UK for the CWSC and a lot of other icy swims, listen to Elizabeths interview all-the-way-from-oregon to hear what he had to say.

Chris and Sue asked Mike if he'd like to join them on their laps, I don't think they realised quite how many he was prepared to do. After an amazing four Chris and Sue got out but Mike carried on, someone with a real love of cold water swimming.

Saturday, 22 January 2011


The bunting was fluttering in the chill breeze and light drizzle of a grey January morning, it hadn't stopped the crowds gathering for the 2011 Cold Water Swimming Championship at Tooting Bec Lido. Swimmers from all over the country and as far abroad as Lithuania had come together to compete in icy widths of the pool.

Fancy hats were de rigueur in the head up breaststroke heats, Sue (lane 4) and Elizabeth (lane 3) are just finishing their races above.

Races start in the water, the marshals were all doing a wonderful job so that no was left standing in the cold water. Competitors clothes were walked around the pool to the finishing side for when they got out. Carl Richards is the far swimmer getting in.

Some hats were bigger than others, I expect Carl Reynolds was slightly impeded by the size of his horns. The real event for both Carls will be the endurance race of five lengths in the afternoon, a pity I couldn't stay to watch it.

Friday, 21 January 2011

One length

I managed a length this morning. I found I breathed every two strokes instead of my usual every four (or more) so I was sort of puffing my way along in the cold water.  It's my head that feels coldest perhaps I should get a neoprene hat?
Vince also did a length, he swam very close to the pool edge. I took this picture from the side, I like the reflection.

Some people are doing two lengths. I really like this image caught mid turn, I hope you don't mind me posting it (you know who you are).
There were marquees and work going on all around the pool in time for the CWSC tomorrow. I hope to come down and get some pictures and maybe have a little swim.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


Sunny with a heavy frost this morning, although the lifeguards board claimed 5ºC I was told it was a degree out yesterday and maybe more today. Johnathan sitting on the edge of the pool. You couldn't sit too long because it was covered in ice.

Moments later he was in the water. I did two widths again today and the water certainly felt much cooler, the return width is still hard but my recovery time is quite quick.

Wet footprints were feezing over. Work was going on all around to get ready for the Cold Water Swimming Chapionships.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Double distance

I doubled my distance this morning, two widths! It was difficult coming back on the second leg, my head was aching and my arms felt heavy. Although its still 5ºC the water feels viscous like it's thinking about turning into ice again. The picture above is Johnathan, after his exercises he did a couple of widths, freestyle going and breaststroke coming back, the wide angle was just big enough to capture his arm span.

Not a splash as Elizabeth slips under the water to start her two lengths. I also saw Batch, Nick and Chris today so that's most of the regular crowd. It seems to be getting colder this evening I expect the water temperature to drop by tomorrow.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Back in the water

I choose a particularly beautiful day to get back to the Lido. It was still dark at 8am and I was soaked the torrential rain when I arrived. Billy was the only person I saw before I got in, he hopped into the water and did a width of breaststroke so I followed. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be the water is up to 5ºC and I could put my head down without getting a headache.

After my sauna I saw Sue in the water so I rushed over to take a picture, a bit blurry but I like the above/below water aspect. Elizabeth, Margy and David were also arriving so it was hello how are yous all around. Margy is hoping the water cools off a bit for the championship this week end.