Taking the plunge

Today I swam in a lake… 

I have bad memories of lakes from my BSAC navigation tests which involved the 14 year old me leading my assessor in a triangular pattern in Horsea Lake on a freezing morning in January/February! You could not see further than 30cm in front of you and it was sodding freezing. 
And that is why I have spent the last week alternately wanting to join the HERC Tri ladies on their first lake swim, and absolutely terrified at the thought!

Friday came and I decided to bite the bullet and do it. After all, better to be amongst a group of newbies than braving it alone. Safety in numbers and all that!

So, I duly registered with NOWCA and attempted to make sure there would be wetsuits for hire… Having been unable to contact the guys from Trytri to make sure, I turned to our club FB group. Someone always knows the answer!! 

Several people suggested wetsuits were there for hire, and the club boss tried to confirm but was as unsuccessful as me in getting hold of the guys in the know. 

I decided to take a chance…

Arriving at the lake at 7.05am, the sky was clear blue and it was shaping up to be a beautiful day. 

But I can’t deny being nervous! My nerves were not helped by the news there were no wetsuits for hire today.. Shit!! Despite the assurances of the lady in charge that the water wasn’t too bad, attempting my first swim without a wetsuit was just not appealing!! 

Hats off to the club boss… Without hesitation he offered me his wetsuit saying he’d swim without!!! 

Relieved but feeling VERY bad at depriving someone of their wetsuit, I decided I needed to just crack on and get stuck in. 


How was it?

Lap one – slow and uncomfortable. Breaststroke was tough as the added buoyancy of the wetsuit made it hard. Attempting crawl involved putting my face In the water… Which was cold and with terrible viz! Accompanied by an experienced lake swimmer, Donna and I made it round… Slowly! 

Lap two – better.. Still not fast but we made it. And this time I managed front crawl most of the way. 

By about halfway round the second lap I was getting into my stroke a bit more. Every breath I took allowed me to get a glance at the beautiful blue sky overhead and, repeating “Relax, keep calm” to myself, I started to imagine I felt ok..

After two laps I called it a day. But I had been utterly unprepared for how plain drunk I would feel getting out the lake. I was staggering around and felt very disorientated. Apparently this is normal.. So that’s something to look forward to next time!

I have to say I was buzzing when I got out the lake.. And I will be doing it again. I’m certain the perfect weather helped so I hope it is sunny again next time! 

And the others? Mike didn’t get hyperthermia. One lady got three laps under her belt and another, one of the gutsiest ladies I’ve ever met, pushed a serious phobia to one side to get in and swim. The rest of us did a couple of laps and felt pretty chuffed. I think we’ll all be back….. But next time I’ll be sure to book a wetsuit in plenty of time! 

What have you done recently to push you out of your comfort zone? 

How did it make you feel? 


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