Adventures in Swimming… 5km Pool Swimathon

On Sunday I swam my first ever 5km swim. That is 5000m metres or 200 lengths of a 25m pool in one go. Okay I had 3 rests to keep hydrated, but each was only around 30 seconds, so over the course of 93 minutes, less than 2% was rest.

I normally swim between 2500m and 3500m (maybe 4000m metres occasionally) in my swimming club sessions, so a 5000m swim was heading into the unknown for me. I didn’t know how my body would feel or react. My strategy was to keep it steady the whole way and finish. Luckily I didn’t have to count my own lengths, so I asked my friend to let me know every 50 lengths so I didn’t have to think about distance at all, just swim.

It was quiet this year, with only 3 swimmers (one was a family group swimming one at a time), so we had a lane each, which was super nice. I started out well and felt good. I didn’t let the speed monster in the lane next to me push me a long, I went with how I felt. I knew I could build up if I had energy left at the end, but main goal was to get to the end.

My swim in pictorial form:



Ignore the 202 lengths. I don’t know if that is a miscount on the watch or my friend, but it is close enough for my records and I’ll go based on total time.

  • First 50 lengths or 1.25km = 21.8 minutes
  • Second 50 length or 1.25km = 22.5 minutes
  • Third 50 lengths or 1.25km = 23.1 minutes
  • Fourth 50 lengths or 1.25km – 23.7 minutes

As you can see in my breakdown I slowed down slight in each 50 length section by about 0.6 of a minute (36 seconds) each time, which is fairly consistent.  But that is an additional 2 minutes on the final 50 compared to the first 50 lengths. So something else I will look at this year is pacing over greater distances, probably using CSS training more to make sure I keep the same pace throughout. I can see I started faster than I thought I did so I need to work on building knowledge of effort and timing by using a beeper to keep me in check.

The Swimathon is an annual event and I plan on taking part again next year if I can and I believe is for a different cause each year or every other year. This year I raised £70 for Marie Curie.

My next aim for the 5km distance is to swim it in the lake!

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