Tuesday, 31 January 2012

100 lengths

No time to hang around. The water was 3.5ºC and the air even cooler. Nick kicked the water for a few seconds befor launching himself in for a quick width.

He was prtty fast this morning I guess he wanted to get out as soon as possible. I managed six lengths again but it was harder again than the day before. My fingers felt like they were ballooning as they froze in the water. Taking the long steps out was nightmare too, a solid icy patch nearly sent me back into the water as I tried to get out. The sauna soon worked it's magic, we talked about cereal variety packs while warming up.

A perfect post sauna dive from Elizabeth. It was second time lucky because on her first attempt I pressed the shutter too soon.

Some January statistics:
I did twelve seperate swims this month.
The water was between 3.5ºC and 6ºC
I swam 100 lengths exactly.
Which is 10000yards, about 5.6miles or 9km.

A much milder January than last year and I swam a lot further with four 12 length swims. It is getting colder as we reach February though.

Monday, 30 January 2012


I'm not quite in rhythm yet and forgot my camera this morning. I took this picture from Elizabeth's blog where she has lots of other great shots. How she managed to stay in the water to take pictures I do not know. The water is still around 4ºC but the air was much cooler today. I swam six lengths but it was harder than yesterday and my hands were freezing by the time I got out.
It was good to catch up with the morning crowd again although I didn't have time to chat to all. Must remember my camera for tomorrow.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Home sweet home

I'm back! and it's so good to be home. Elizabeth calls it an unusual love affair and I think she's right. I've been swimming in pools with bridges, islands, palm trees and bars but none of them compare to Tooting, even if the water was a little warmer.

I saw Carl and Kate on my way in. Carl was finding it more difficult than he thought to get back into the water after a twelve day break  (see here) . This didn't bode well, a sixteen day absence is difficult in winter. The water was 4ºC but it wasn't frosty and a pale winter sun was trying to push though the clouds.
I told Jonathan I'd just try two, dipping my feet in didn't feel too bad. I took a lung full of air and plunged in. This is the danger point, if the water shocks you it's hard to carry on. The left side of my goggles filled with water but I didn't want to stop and adjust it, I had to keep going. It was actually alright! I had to count my stroke and couldn't relax as much as I wanted but I somehow seemed to manage. Two became four and then six. I feared then I was enjoying it too much so very pink skinned I rushed off to the sauna.

It didn't take long to bounce back in the sauna heat, and was nice not to be rushed and have a good chat with old and new faces alike. Not sure who the wetsuiter was but I liked the way it was laid out on the ground. The forecast is for it to get colder so I feel I made a good start at getting back into the water.

Friday, 13 January 2012

It bites

Plenty of sun on a cold frosty morning. Notice the wet foot prints reflecting the light?

They froze on the cold ground. I was late and the air was cool so I only did six lengths today before getting out. The water might not have been much colder but my fingers were frozen in the frigid air. In the sauna I found out we've now reached Latvia! by the shorter route at least. I said we wouldn't make it and I was wrong, the generally mild weather has been a big help.

A whoop and a splash, Sue mid air on her apres sauna dip. I never fancy getting back in after the sauna but some people swear by it.

By the time I was leaving the sun was on the water, A lone shark swimming in the top right corner. I love the way the light moves through the water.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Quack Quack

I'm not sure what Bertie and Gertie will think of this young pretender but Quack Quack (I didn't name him) has become a lido fixture over the past few days. The last mild morning for a while we are told, so I change quickly and get ready to swim.

Hardly a soul to be seen, Vince was already in the water and Elizabeth was just getting in at the same time as me. She wasn't here yesterday and found it a bit cold I think.

She didn't hesitate though, straight in and off! I followed, the water felt the same as yesterday temperature wise which was later confirmed by David, 5.5ºC again. I managed twelve lengths again perhaps for the last time this month. On saturday I'm off for a couple of weeks in Tunisia, I hope to get some good swims in there.

The sloping steps have been mended. When you're freezing after a long swim they are the easiest way to exit the water. Nick is actually getting in in this picture.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Swimming time

Jane contemplating the water. Reading Carl's post from yesterday here I started to think more about time in the water. Kate did a kilometre in 29 minutes, with an extra minute or so Carl did a mile. I'm doing a kilometre in just under 20 minutes at the moment but I wouldn't want to stay in the water much longer. Jane swims four lengths, it's her first winter season and it also takes her about 20 minutes.

We all swim for different reasons. David is here almost everyday, he has a quick dip followed by a sauna and then takes the water temperature. This morning the sun was breaking through when I reached the lido and the red streaks in the sky were melting away. Nice to swim in the light but it wasn't quite as mild as yesterday. I still managed a kilometre.

Here's Nick, after a long game of handball with Jonathan they both had a short swim. Nick thinks there's something wrong with me swimming so far during the winter.

Jonathan was further out, you can just see him through the leaves. The pool is still quite full of twigs and leaves from the wind last week.

By nine o'clock the sun has broken over the tree line. David is silhouetted against the pool while he takes the temperature, still 5.5ºC. Enjoy it while it lasts, it's forecast to go down by the week-end.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Warm waters

A rip in the clouds lit up an otherwise dark and cloudy morning. The air was mild and the water didn't feel that bad either, had it warmed up since Sunday? We're getting back to a more regular morning crowd now after the Christmas break. I always dive from seated position into the water, Elizabeth took a picture here.

Peter runs a couple of circuits of the pool before he gets in, I think in a bid to warm up. Then he goes down the steps but still looks reluctant to put his arms in. I wasn't sure how far I'd go but being early I knew I had time for a good swim and sauna, before I knew it I'd done twelve lengths for the second time this month. I then had a good twenty five minute sauna and chat, I wasn't nearly as cold as on Sunday.

While I was changing official temperature taker David was doing his duty. How warm was the water today? He made it 5.5ºC! If I'd known it was that cold I wouldn't have swam so far.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

January kilometre

Here comes Michael, great symmetry in the water. He was doing widths with a friend and I grabbed a couple of pictures. I went for a later Sunday morning swim, the races had finished but a crowd was still gathered checking travel details and getting SLSC hats for the World Cold Water Swimming Championships in Latvia.

The two of them a bit distant but I couldn't make them swim a couple more widths. At 5ºC nobody wants to hang around in the water.

A lifeguard I hadn't seen before was busy clearing the leaves, a never ending task especially with the weather we've been having. I had decided to attempt ten lengths today, I had the time for a more leisurely swim and long sauna so why not. A chap in stripy trunks was about a length ahead of me, I set off and caught him up by about length five. By seven and eight I was feeling cold, I think my body knew this was when I'd normally be getting out. With great effort I turned for nine and ten, my feet beginning to go numb. By the end of length ten I'd caught the stripy trunk man up again, the cold didn't feel too bad so I went on to make it twelve lengths. My first kilometre of the year.

I hot footed it to the sauna, and was shivery for a couple of minutes but not too bad. A few minutes later Mr Stripy came in also having done twelve lengths, he looked very cold. He must have been in the water at least five minutes longer than me. It'll put him in good stead for the endurance race in Latvia which is 450 metres. The sauna was as usual buzzing, not least because of Inez who is ever chatty. Good news being she starts a new job next week so will be morning swimming again, she swam a mile the other day at Hampton pool.

We're just over the thousand mile mark on the way to Latvia, I put my twelve lengths in the book, helped myself to some chocolate left from the racers but decided against an early morning whisky!
Saw Alfonso on my way out, he's back from Mexico and eager to get swimming again. I think it's a bit of a struggle against the cold though, he'd managed two widths the day before but I'm sure we'll soon be racing each other up an down the pool.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Bye bye Barbie

Christmas is over and the decorations must come down. Sue takes Barbie and Ken off the cubicle doors for another year.

They sat by the pool edge to watch us swim. Say what you like about Ken he's been outdoors in all weathers wearing just a sprig of tinsle for the past few weeks.

It was a cool clear morning with a light frost burning off in the morning sun. Vince was already in the water when I arrived. I managed six lengths today the water was pretty nippy, just under 5ºC accoring to David.

The sloping steps have been taped off for the last couple of days since they developed a rather unsafe wobble. These are the easiest steps for  getting in and out of the water, especially when your limbs are frozen. I hope they fix them soon.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Swimming in the rain

Normally I want to dive right into the water as soon as reach the lido. Today didn't have quite the usual appeal, dark, windy and the rain had hail in it.

Batch hopped out of the pool, 'I'm getting too wet!' he shouted before making his way off to the sauna.

I made my way through the stinging rain and into the safety of the water, perhaps a little up on yesterday almost 6ºC would be my guess. The wind had driven all the leavesinto a thick layer at the deep end.

It made it difficult to breathe, they stuck to my face and goggles. Sue, Chris and Fred were also swimming by this point. The first time I've had company in the water for a while, a benefit of swimming later. I just did six lengths today, I wanted some sauna time.

The sauna soon filled up. Vince and Batch left to be replaced by Sue, Chris, Fred and Claire. Then Nick, Jonathan and David arrived as well. After a jolly chat and a warm through I made my way off to work. The lifeguard was busy trying to sweep up all those leaves.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Orange sky

Despite the New Year the mornings are still dark, the sun was only just coming over the tree's when I reached the pool. I'd watch the sky turn from red through orange, salmon pink to gold as I cycled from home. No frost but a crisp cold morning all the same.

A new pair of flip flops appeared but I'd remembered mine today and just as well, the ground was much colder. I figured I'd manage the same distance as Tuesday, the water can't be all that different can it? Getting in wasn't too bad, perhaps a little colder but by length five my fingers were numb, should I get out after six? No, I had to match yesterday and eight it was if not as easy. The water was about 5ºC I'm surprised what a difference it made.

Who's that? Just an arm reaching into the frame. You can see all the leaves and debris blown in the water at the moment.

It's Nando, doing his best to hide behind a leaf. He thought the water was cold too. Then I saw Carl arrive, would he match yesterdays mile? found out how he got on here. Time to go to work, and the sun was now shining, the water has a cold glassy sheen.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

whose shoes?

I forgot my flip flops today. Who left a pair of Crocs by the end of the pool? they're far too blue for my feet.

Black flip flops might do the trick but they were too small for me. I change and being bare foot quickly get into the water.

It was a mild and windy morning, but sheltered by the pool. Some people still needed wooly hats for swimming. My first dip of the New Year, cold much better although not completely gone. The water was nearly 6ºC! very good for this time of year. I swam eight lengths, an improvement on last week. Sauna with Elizabeth, Sue and Chris. The King was bruised, he'd been knocked off the stage! Swimming was still quite painfull for him.

Far out in the water Carl swims a mile! An amazing feat for January, Kate swims eight lengths too. Ian arrives and we talk of the opera, he shows me a picture of his daughter on stage. I did see her but there were about 150 people on the stage with her. Vince is dawdling, no work today but I'm getting late and have to go. Pip arrives, will he take up the one mile challenge?