Swimming at its most sensuous – PK014

One of my own personal challenges is becoming well documented through this podcast and that is learning front crawl. I was never taught as a child. I always favoured breast stroke – strictly the heads up type. It wasn’t until I did an introduction to open water swimming session with Swim the Lakes that I got some pointers about body position, and how putting my head in the water and pushing my chest down might help, especially while wearing a wetsuit with the extra buoyancy it gives you!
In talking to Pete from Swim the Lakes for this episode of the podcast I’m reminded of how far I’ve come from being a complete newbie five years ago. I’ve now got a fairly quick breast stroke that can carry me nearly 2km. But I know I can go further by switching stroke, and I can stay swimming in skins by being faster and therefore not in the water for as long. I love skins. As Pete says, it is swimming at its most sensuous.
But switching stroke has been like going back to childhood. I’m barely a step up from wearing armbands! Not doing much better than the four year olds in the lane next to me. I’ve had about 6 lessons so far, and this weekend I finally completed one whole length of something approaching front crawl. It’s slow progress, and could be demoralising. But I’m thriving. It’s a buzz learning something genuinely new.
An interesting thing that Pete said during his interview is that we make a quantum leap as a human being by challenging ourselves.
Beyond learning front crawl, I’ve also recently challenged myself by entering next year’s winter swimming championships at Lake Bled in Slovenia. I’ll be doing 25m, 50m and 100m breast stroke (I can’t imagine getting my head under to do freestyle). The biggest challenge I believe will be swimming without neoprene socks and gloves on, so I’ve started my acclimatisation early. In the North Sea at the weekend I went in with only swimsuit, hat and goggles, with the concession of a big bobble hat to give me comfort as first my feet and then my hands screamed in agony.
Once the screaming stopped I made a quantum leap. I realised that I’ll be ok. I’m tough. And brave. And determined.
And beyond excited!
I’ll always be grateful to Swim the Lakes for setting me off on the right track as I started my wild swimming adventure. I still have no idea where it’s going to end, or where it’s going to take me.

Things we talk about
Swim the Lakes, Troutbeck, Rydal water, Save Grange Lido, Wim Hoff method, Birtley pool, Blackmoss Pot, Loughrigg Tarn, Grasmere, Crummock water, Wastwater, Great North Swim

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