Adventures in Swimming… Henley Classic 2015

Last weekend I had one very early night followed by a very early morning to go swim in the Thames for the Henley Classic.

My day started on Saturday night with a 7:30pm bedtime. I can say I was asleep by 8pm as was exhausted from my teaching course that day. I actually slept really well. My alarm went off at 1:30am and I got up with some bleary eyed cats wondering what the hell I was doing, grabbed my bag and headed out.

I had to drive for just over an hour to get to the swim, but it was lovely and quiet and when I got close I joined a stream of cars heading the same way so didn’t have to worry about getting lost.

The thing to note with this swim is that there is some walking involved. The registration is pretty much in the middles of the 2.1km course, so you have to walk to the start and then walk back from the finish. However the bonus is that this means there are no turns on the swim!

The swim started with a torch lit walk to the start and briefing. They only did one briefing for all the waves, but as the waves started fairly soon after each other that worked great. I was in the women’s open wave, which meant I had a pink hat and would be timed. There were also elite, means, and non-timed waves depending on your preference.

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It gradually got lighter, but we weren’t able to see the sun rise as it was very cloudy. The first wave started at 4:30am and my wave went off at 4:48am. I started near the front, but let a couple rows be ahead of me as didn’t know the field. I realised this was the wrong move and I should have just gone at the front when I quickly caught up with people and had to work my way around them for a first 5 minutes of the swim. I wasn’t racing, but I wanted to swim well, so didn’t want people holding me up.

I felt strong during the swim and it went quite quickly. I only saw one distance marker at about half way as I was over to the right and they were on the left side of the river. It didn’t worry me as I just kept the pace I was comfortable at while pushing slightly. I easily caught up the back of the previous wave and then even caught up with some of the men from the wave in front of that. I knew there were around 20 women ahead of me from my wave so I felt in a really good position.

The only trouble I had was that my had decided slip upwards during the second half of the swim and it pulled my googles tighter. I could feel the pressure, but refused to stop to sort it out as it wasn’t coming off completely. The last quarter of the swim felt hard and I wanted it reach the end. I was catching up with more people so lost my clear water and the hat issue was annoying.

I then could see people further ahead moving left so knew the finish gantry would be somewhere, but it seemed to take ages to appear. Then suddenly I was swimming under the gantry and batting my wrist against the timing device to record my finish. Just after this was where they were taking the finishing photos, but I needed to pull my hat off and keep moving out of the way so it really looks like I’m drowning. They didn’t catch my thumbs up, which am sad about, but for once I actually quite like the photos as I can see the smile in my eye.

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Then was the walk back to the main area to get my time and medal. I was really pleased with my time of 38 minutes as I had never done this swim before or even swum upstream of a river before so didn’t know what to expect. I think I could have gone quicker, but was not worried about that really, I just wanted a good swim and that is what I had.

I then changed, and headed home and back to bed. The prize giving was not untik 7:30am and I was on my own and was finished and changed by 6am I decided not to hang around. SO I was home by 7:30am and was back in bed for 8am to catch up on sleep.

Overall it was a good event. I was jealous of the people who didn’t have far to come, but not so of the people who had camped. I would definitely recommend this event to any swimmer as it was a nice distance to swim and as there were no corners I can say there was no hassle or risk of being pushed under, even at the start as it is a wide course everyone was spread out. A great swim in conclusion and one I would do again, but I would like to have a driver next time!


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Adventures in Swimming… Teaching Level 2 Part 3


I wanted to start this post with good news as June has been crazy busy and this is the reason why so being able to say I passed is really important to me. I just have to wait for the certificate for it to be official.

Last weekend was my final weekend on my Level 2 Teaching Aquatics course. We covered everything we had left to and planned, taught, and evaluated the last three lessons I was required to do as part of the course. The topics we covered this week were Long Term Athlete Development, Nutrition, and Growth and Development. The group was really upbeat and as we had other presentations to do I felt everyone was on the same page and wanted to help each other. We also all wanted to be done. It is a long and intensive course and sometimes felt like a repeat of some of the aspects of the Level 1 course. Overall though it was worth doing as it has given me more confidence and a better understanding of what and how I am meant to teach.  So even though I mainly coach it was great to get the basics of swimming the strokes right and know what swimmers should be doing and therefore how I can help them later on in the swimming development.

It’s not really going to change anything I do, but I will now be able take a session on my own and be insured as I kept putting my foot down while I was not qualified and refused to do that.  But now I would be happy to plan and take or oversee a whole session. In essence I could be the one in charge. Let’s be clear I don’t want that role, but I would cover for others if required.

It’s also great as a fall back career option if needed 😉

Weekly swEATs 1st July 2015

Another whirlwind week has been and gone and I feel again I have made no progress on my goals. In all honesty I have not been putting the effort in that I know I need to. I need to accept this and that it will take work to take the path I want to take.

Sweats this week:

  • Thursday I was back in the office and then went to play skittles with swimming club, which totally counts as activity in my book!
  • Friday was back on my course so the activity I did was as part of the swimming lessons I was teaching. I still had a 121 session that was hard work.
  • Saturday was the last day on my course, but was very much a static day as needed an early night for Sudnay.
  • Sunday I was finally active! I took part in the Henley Classic, which is a 2.1km swim upstream in the River Thames.
  • Monday I had 12 hours sleep then was in an all-day meeting so no activity for me.
  • Tuesday I was stuck in an office all day helping a colleague interview for a new position. I walked a bit around the property, but no structured activity.
  • Wednesday was a catch up day at work so was stuck at my computer all day. Also it was so hot for the UK – 29 degrees I think and I struggle to do anything in this kind of temperature

Eats for this week:

  • Thursday was a team lunch so I had a Piri Piri burger and then went out with the swimming club that was a buffet style so had chips, beef pie, and lasagne.
  • Friday was my course so came home and had toast.
  • Saturday I succumbed to the voucher through the door and ordered a dominos which was lunch and dinner.
  • Sunday I was up very early and then spent the day in bed, so it was sausage bap for breakfast, a chicken roll for lunch, and then Belgium bun for dinner
  • Monday was a work sandwich lunch and then steak roll for dinner
  • Tuesday was a tuna bean salad and then bagel thins for dinner.
  • Wednesday was so warm I just had fruit and yogurt for lunch and then crab pasta for dinner.

Not the best week food wise, but all decisions I made. So this week I want to plan better and use more of the food I have in my freezer.  I have a quieter week this week so I plan on spending some time reflecting over how June went and what steps I need to focus on in July to move forwards, not backwards or sideways. I know June was an extraordinary month for me and I would try not to do that again as it wasn’t overly enjoyable.

Adventures in Swimming… ASA Wiltshire Open Water Race 2015

Last weekend on top of doing my swimming course and the Solstice at Avebury I competed in the Wilsthire ASA Open Water race. There was the option of doing the 1.5km or the 3km, but due to my schedule I knew I would struggle if I did the 3km, so went for the 1.5km and was very glad I did.

It was a lovely evening and lots of people had turned up to take part, mainly kids from the lcoal swimming clubs. What I like about this event is that you have to be a certain level of ASA membership to take part, so that means it’s restricted for those who enter, making it a much smaller event and really much more enjoyable than standard open water events.

We started by doing a deep water start, which is something i love as I am not a fan of beach starts. We then headed off on two laps of the course. I felt really good on the first lap, but during the second my tiredness really hit and I lost the two people I was swimming with. I struggled to keep the pace up on the second lap so just concentrated on steady and strong swimming.

I finished in time of 27 minutes 59 seconds. I was happy with that, but also disappointed as I found the last time I swam this even back in 2009 I swam in 26 minutes 16 seconds. I know I was at my lowest weight when I did that back in 2009 and I wouldn’t have spent the weekend on a course or at the Solstice, but I was still disappointed. Next year I want to beat that time.

Overall it was great to be back in an ASA open water event and I look forward to getting some of swimming club friends taking part next year.

Wandering around Lanhydrock

Another day and another trip with my work to a beautiful location. This time it was Lanhydrock for a bit of cycling and workshop leading!


I didn’t get to go and see the house, but I am returning next month for another workshop so plan on making some time then to explore the house and parkland.

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