I am happy to report that Team Vigour successfully completed our 24 miles in the allotted 24 hours over Saturday and Sunday at 2Swim4Life. The event was even better than expected, and we had pretty high expectations to start with! It started on a bit of a frustrating note on Friday night when 4 of the 5 team members (with 64 different qualifications between them) showed a complete lack of the skills necessary to put a tent up. Paul thankfully came to our rescue and fixed it all the next day and after that it was smooth sailing.
As promised, Paul went all out in his last mile and clocked an amazing 33 minute mile – we were all so very proud of the wee fellow. Pamela, on the other hand, is still working on forgiving Robin for making her swim about 500m longer in one of her later miles – he had lost concentration and the counting went a bit haywire three times. She showed great restrained for first two times she was told she had swam remarkably less than what she had counted in her head – the third time when she wanted to get out and was told she had a few lengths more to go was the piece of straw that broke the camel’s back…. Lol! These lassies from up north can be difficult when they had no sleep for 24 hours, had already done a 2.1 km mile, and just want to get out and warm! We had a bit of fun analysing Robert’s swim stroke during his last mile which was also Team Vigour’s 24th mile. Those who’ve had their strokes analysed by Robert know from experience that his comments can be a tad harsh if you allow him to speak freely (I can tell you from personal experience that this may not be the best of ideas). It was fun – we dissected his stroke, took lots of videos as evidence, had perhaps too much fun placing his stroke within the identified swim types of a rival swim style to his beloved Total Immersion, and enjoyed sharing our unwanted analyses with him afterwards. And Robin was poolside for most of the 24 hours making sure that we swam at least a mile every time, being the reassuring familiar face when we looked up towards the end of a mile for confirmation that it was almost done. We could not have done the event without his assistance as Team Vigour Swim Buddy.
Thank you to all who came and said hi (amongst them Howard and Esmari James, Rory Fitzgerald, Redy Redfern, Ben and Alfie Alfie), to our fellow swimmers and friends (apologies for the lively historical discussion at the after-swim dinner Bryn Dymott), the swim buddies who all helped out at the end, the lido crew (especially those who made sure the toilet paper in the female toilets never ran out) and to Lesley Zimmerman for organising this amazing event. And lastly, a big thank you to Jackie Livingston for lending us the tent!
Team Vigour will be back in 2019 with an even bigger Scottish contingent! For those who have not donated and still wants to, there is still time! Simply click on the link above. For all those that have donated we would like to say a BIG THANK YOU! We managed to exceed our target amount and could not have done so without your support.
Some of the members of Team Vigour have also written a few words on their experience:
“You’re doing what? That’s mental!!!!”
That was the reaction of one of my running friends when I described the 2swim4life event. I didn’t realise then just quite how prophetic that statement would be. The day turned out to be 100% mental but not in the euphemistic - a bit unhinged – Scottish sense of the word that my friend meant. This event definitely was played out more in my head as in the pool. Trying to convince yourself out of your nice warm sleeping bag, into your funky trunks and into a cold swimming pool at 0400 is as hard if not harder than swimming the 32 lengths.
I am quite used to physical challenges and I am definitely one of these people that over trains for things. My theory when it comes to any challenge is that you should arrive at the start line better prepared than everybody else that’s toeing the line alongside you. I am first to admit that I am not the best swimmer in the world but I follow the adage ‘hard work beats talent that doesn’t work’. I’d worked as hard if not harder than anything else I’ve previously done. On the day, I found the swimming part of it manageable, it’s what I’d trained for. What made this event different to others in which I had participated was the part for which you cannot train or prepare or control, the environment.
I had a plan to deal with the cold water. I started taking cold showers (with the exception of a Sunday which was my wee treat), I stopped following a Vegan diet and I tried to train early in the morning as much as possible to get the pool at its coldest point of the day. Even with the introduction of these things, I was still apprehensive for my first swim of the day. Would it be too cold? Would I get pulled out the water with hypothermia? Would I turn as blue as Papa Smurf?
I was looking at the clock and with about 15 minutes to go to my slot I got changed and did some yoga and breathing exercises to calm my nerves. Them my time came. I approached the pool and got ready to for the shock to my system that was coming my way. Then gingerly, into the pool I went and while it wasn’t roasting hot, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I pushed off and all the worries that I had melted away. I was connect to the water, I was swimming and I was happy. Not much changed after that for the following legs. I followed the same routine. We got it done!
I was telling my running friend about my adventure and experience and he asked me if it was harder than the Fling (53m footrace from Milingavie to Tyndrum along the West Highland Way). I thought about it and my answer would be that it was neither easier nor harder just different. What would have been easier would have been not to do either event. Life seldom offers you opportunities to push your boundaries and leave the comfort of normality behind. So if somebody asks you if you fancy doing something that you think is totally bonkers (my first thought when I heard about 2swim4life) grab it with both hands as you never know when you might get the opportunity to be AWESOME again.
So the day has finally arrived and that sees us leaving Glasgow at 4am to head south. We arrived at Woking about 3.30pm/4pm. After such a long journey it was a requirement that we all fed ourselves.
We were up for 6.30am on the Saturday. The previous day we had already staked our claim on a piece of land (just like the Scottish to claim a good piece of land). When we arrived at the venue its 6.45am where Paul's skills were put to the test straight away as we tried to put up a three bedroom semi detached tent!
Before we know it 9am had arrived and we watched the first heat of swimmers enter the water. At this point we were still trying to work out what order we were going to go in. When we finally achieved that we had decided that Phia went first, then Pamela and then me, and then Paul to bring us home.
That decided things then into slid into chaos by 11.30am down to the fact that within the first four lengths I took a severe asthma attack (this was the first that I knew I had asthma). This is when Phia re-entered the water and she did my mile. I was sent to bed with medication. I arose at 1.50pm/2pm still not feeling 100%, had some food (pot noodle), settled back down and was told that at 6.30pm that I was going back into the water - thank good ness I had a wet suit.
I managed to complete this mile, still being anxious in my head with what happened with the asthma attack. As the day drew on, the sun went down and darkness fell and its the strangest feeling as you enter the water when the air temperature was 5 degrees with the water temperature being around 18 degrees. By this time it was quite pleasant to swim in.
Meanwhile our team support and back up was sensational. Robin endlessly counted all our lengths on every swim. By 4am I think everyone, not just our team, were starting to feel the pressure and you could see a lot of tired bodies appearing.
The sun rose at 5.50am, with myself in the water watching the sun rise with every stroke I took and every breath I took, which meant we didn't have many hours to go and it was suggested by that time that it would be me to bring the team home at 8.30am.
As 8.30am approached, I was starting to get very cold and couldn't wait to get back in the water. When I finished the final lap I was greeted by an audience of all the swimmers who were still there to bring the last swimmers home which meant that this monstrous task had been completed.
We thankfully got our three bedroom semi detached tent down and back in the boot of the car, then took ourselves to breakfast where I was nudged by Pamela, some short time after having fell asleep at my bacon roll.
I think Team Vigour did us proud that day and thanks to Phia for taking the time to pull the team together. She made a great choice of team members for Team Vigour. Thanks to Paul for his enthusiasm, his mentalness and energy and thank you to Pamela for her support and her encouragement throughout the day and night and Robin for his support as the Team's official buddy.
The 2swim4life event was not something that had featured on my radar as a 'must do' but when got the request from Phia to join the team and had time to think, I figured 'why not'. I'm really glad I did as really enjoyed the company of Team Vigour for the weekend and getting to know everyone - although I fear they may have caught my bad side at wrong side of 4am when I was a wee bit tired and grumpy (apologies to Robin for bearing the brunt of it)! I guess that is part of the experience though when you sign up to inevitably being cold, tired and wet for a lot of a 24 hr event! The best part for me was seeing Robert get back in for his second shot, overcoming a bit of a poorly stint, so tremendous respect to him for battling on and giving it another go instead of retiring, which would've been the easy option! That just captured the whole mood of the event, people giving it their all! Thanks to everyone who has sponsored us and helped us achieve above our target for Place2be. Enormous thanks are also due to everyone supporting the event in the background as the warm drinks and showers were a Godsend during the wee small hours of darkness when lots of people were inspecting the backs of their eyelids! Snoozing was gratefully snatched by a few whenever possible but there were a lot of zombie like creatures keeping moving with MANY layers of clothing trying to get warm. Supporters came in many forms and always with big smiles and great words of encouragement. Thanks to all for a fabulous experience and for anyone thinking about giving it a go - take a dry costume for each change out of the pool and double the amount of clothes you think you will need as you will be cold at least once!
Winter Swim Sessions
We will be at Bardowie Loch at 10am this Sunday. Since this will be the official start to the 2017 season our new 2018 prices will apply, however if you purchase a card swim for 5 or more swims you will still be able to get your swim at last years prices !! Click here to purchase a Swim Card
Weekly Total Immersion Swim Sessions
Monday's sessions are proving to be very popular, so come along and join us.
Please note that the College is closed for the Bank Holiday so there will be no session on the 1st May.
The coaching session will be taken by Robert Hamilton and will be a great opportunity to improve your technique and fitness to give you a head start for the 2017 Open Water Season.
Robert will bring his experience as a Total Immersion Coach plus his coaching experience which has included coaching swimmers to Olympic Trial level to provide interesting and challenging swim sessions. For more information click here.
Total Immersion Workshop
If you can swim continuously for 50 metres or more and would like to work on increased efficiency and speed then our One Day Fishlike Freestyle Workshops will set you on the path to achieving these goals. They are held in various locations throughout the UK and are the first choice not only for experienced triathletes and open water swimmers but also for those who are preparing for their first experience of the sport or who want to swim for fitness and fun.
Our workshops have been a fantastic success, our next workshop will be the 13th May 2017.