IMUK 2020

Rookie goes for 4 in a row @ IMUK ‘DIY Style’ Week 22 of 28


So the big one this week was that I went for my first dip since lockdown and my first open water swim of the year, managing to secure a rare golden ticket for one of the organised sessions at Pennington Flash….

Before we get cracking, I think it’s important I set the scene here…

The last thing I want is for a novice to read this and go hurtling down to the flash thinking it’s a piece of piss….

It isn’t…..

For the novice swimmer, Pennington Flash is anything but a piece of piss…..

It’s horrific….

I’ll never forget the first time I went charging down there all excited about 4 years ago….

I absolutely shat myself, lasted about 5 minutes and dismissed it as ‘impossible’ despite being a competent pool swimmer at the time.

You see, open water is a completely different ball game…..

Completely different….

Further, I would argue that the flash, which is hardcore open water swimming on an industrial scale, is a totally different animal still….

‘Tranquil lagoon’ this is not……

Unless you are an experienced open water swimmer, stay clear of the flash for now (or any other open water for that matter)…

You need training from people who know what they are doing….

Speak to steve down at the flash and book some lessons – he will sort you out…..

Or wait until the group open water training starts again at other venues….

I’m not trying to put you off….

Far from it….

Mastering open water is one of the most rewarding parts of your journey and the satisfaction you will get once you conquer it will stay with you for a lifetime…..

You just need to be careful, that’s all…..

Anyhow, rant over….

Back to my own personal experience and 3 times yer Ironman or not, I still get nervous before me first visit to the flash each year….

The mind has an incredible ability to play all sorts of tricks on you….

‘What if i get cramp?’

‘What if I get into trouble and no-one sees’

‘What if I just start sinking for no apparent reason?’

You know the sort of thing…

I was also questioning the logic of going for a swim in an extremely deep, vast expanse of open water having not done any swimming at all due to lockdown for several months…

In the run up to this, I asked everyone I know who had already been how they got on and every single one of them said it was a piece of piss…..

Having made the return myself this week, I have to say, I completely agree..

To an extent…..

I did two ‘back to back’ sessions – Sunday then Wednesday…..

On Sunday, once the initial nerves were out the way and I found my rhythm and started to relax, I actually began to enjoy myself….

So yes, I was pleasantly surprised at how relatively straightforward I found my return, given that like everyone else, I haven’t been swimming for months.

Wednesday was a different story altogether mind as it was very choppy and sighting was even more difficult than it always is at the flash…

If a complete novice had have gone down Wednesday, it would have put them off for life, trying to sight on a course they don’t know marked by 3 solitary grey buoys the size of a football whilst fighting a strong current and taking a bashing from the waves for good measure…..

You need lessons first cocker!

In my ‘Rookie’ opinion though, open water is very much like learning to ride a bike…..

It takes ages to master, but once you can do it, you never forget…..

That said, I still refuse to venture any further than the ‘short’ circuit closest to the shore…..

Just on the ‘short’ circuit

I had this down as 400 metres so was thinking I would need to do 10 laps for me DIY Ironman attempt…..

Turns out the ‘short’ course is in fact 470 metres, which means it’s only 8 laps not 10…..

Can’t tell you how buzzin I am about that…..

I’ve got one last major milestone to crack next week and then it’s (hopefully) all plain sailing from there…

Next update June 14th

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