This weekend, with the of support of Vigour Events, I took the plunge with my first open water swimming session.
I like to think of myself as being fit and active, so what better way to put my money where my mouth is than to test out a new sport! This was my first swim in over three years. I lived in Australia for a year, but even the sun and sand weren’t enough to convince me to take a dip, especially with sharks for swimming buddies! However, Robert, the director of Vigour Events, assured me that Bardowie loch is home only to fish…so now my only worry was the temperature.
The range of open water events at Vigour is inspiring; however, before committing to an event, I thought I had better go for a paddle.
Vigour Events also hold weekly training sessions to support swimmers of all abilities through their challenges. So, with their support behind me, it was time to brave the 13-degree water and get training.
As I left my warm bed on Sunday morning with the plan to immerse myself in one of Scotland notoriously cold lochs, I did questions why on earth I had signed up for this particular challenge. However, I took reassurance from the large turn out. It’s amazing to see such keen swimmers who give up their Sunday lie-ins every week for their love of open water Swimming. I consider myself a morning person of sorts, but it was still a surprise to me how cheerful people can be at that time in the morning! Their enthusiasm was infectious.
The regular group of around thirty open water devotees welcomed the other six or sever newcomers like myself. From all the friendly encouragement given out and chitter-chatter about the previous weeks I could see that Vigour Events have created a real swimming community.
After an introductory briefing from director Robert Hamilton, I was ready to put on my wetsuit, cap and goggles! Although not the most flattering sports attire, the wetsuit worked wonders in keeping me warm.
Three courses were set out: 450, 550 and 750 metres. As a beginner I was only allowed to tackle the 450 course, of which I managed two laps! I was tempted to go for a third, but decided not to risk the embarrassment of being kayaked off the course if I never made it all the way round.
With everything considered, it was a really great experience. I’d recommend open water swimming to absolutely anybody who’s looking to try something new whilst getting fit. I’m addicted to the post-exercise buzz, and often find myself heading to the gym at ridiculous-o’clock in search of some extra endorphins. 800m of Bardowie Loch definitely got my blood pumping and heart racing, whilst at the same time avoiding the tedious cross trainer routine that I often subject myself to.