In the lead up to the 3.8km Seahorse Swim in Studland Bay, Poole, I had only managed to have a handful of swims in my local lake. So it was a pleasant change to look at the amazing seascape rather than the tiles of a swimming pool and it was a nice toasty 18 degrees too.
With the beginning of my internship coinciding with the week leading up to the race, I was unable to offer myself the best preparation. The timing meant I was away from a pool for a whole week. As a result, the running shoes came out in a bid to maintain some aerobic fitness!
Race day came around and the weather was definitely in our favour. The sun was out and there was only a light breeze, meaning the sea looked more appealing than daunting! The race for the day was two laps of a 1.9km course. As we waited on the beach for the obligatory safety talks, I considered my race strategy. Indeed, I had a slight worry as to whether my week out of the water would have an impact on my performance and questioned my usual strategy of going out fast and leading from the front. In the end, I decided to stick with what I knew and just hoped I could pull it out of the bag.
As we lined up for the start, I went to the furthest start buoy from the beach, as I believed it would give me the best line to the first buoy. As the claxon went, I attacked the first 100-200m as planned and took the lead. However, a handful of swimmers jostled behind me for my slipstream. Being wary of this and the advantage I knew this could give them in the long run, I decided to try and keep up a high pace to the first buoy – which was around 400-500 metres from the start line.
As we approached the first buoy and turned, I saw that a gap had begun to open up. Subsequently, I chose to settle into a rhythm and alter my speed and stroke rate. However, by then we had also started to swim against the current. As I’d expected, this section was definitely the hardest part of the swim and I found it a challenge to keep an accurate line to the next buoy. With the gap now opening up, I was concerned I had taken a rather poor line, but found it hard to spot where the others were. With this in mind, I just kept to my race strategy and hoped our positions would become clearer as the race developed.
As I turned at buoy 3, I found the current again and my pace picked up as I passed the start buoy for our second and final lap. The sun had suddenly disappeared and the wind had picked up, which meant the backward leg suddenly got a lot rougher and spotting the buoys over the waves became even more of a challenge. However, by this time I was confident I was still in the lead, but was unsure as to by how much.
It was a relief to turn the final buoy and suddenly the waves helped me into the finish; and how I needed it!
I initially found it hard to stand and balance before my run up the beach, but after a few wobbles, I managed it!
In the end, I finished first in a time of 47minutes and 22 seconds. I therefore successfully defended my title – despite managing to drink half of the sea!
Thank you to all my Sponsors and to East Dorset Open Water Swimming Club, who put on the fantastic event again.
TORQ Swimming would like to thank all of our Sponsors, as without their help, we could not do what we do:
– Dryrobe – Portable Changing Robe