I booked my place onto the great north swim on the last day possible. I entered the 2 mile distance on the Sunday.
Friday night, I was out enjoying a huge three course meal. I mean I’m talking copious amounts of food! the waiter had to roll me out of the restaurant. I received a text saying URGENT – GREAT NORTH SWIM SUNDAY EVENTS CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER FORECAST – CHECK YOUR EMAIL AND WWW.GREATSWIM.ORG/NORTH. So I followed the link and it explained that due to high winds they had to cancel all swims on Sunday. They did however offer me a spot on Saturday to swim 1 mile. I debated whether it was worth travelling all the way to the Lake District for a 1 mile race, but I thought what the hell lets go. I met my family there and checked in to my wave. Within a few minutes I was in my amazing TYR wetsuit at the start line. I was a little nervous but I hadn’t put any pressure on myself. As long as I beat my Dads time from a few years ago i’d be happy.
The race started and I found myself in a pack of three way out in front. I stuck behind the leaders toes for the first 1/2 mile. Tickling them just to let him know I was there. At half way I was feeling great. I really thought I was on for the win. Once I was on the way back the conditions got worse. The waves were extremely choppy and I think I drank a good few pints of Windermere’s finest.
3/4 of a mile had been and gone, I decided to make my move. I kicked for home, taking the lead, feeling unstoppable. Little did I know at this point 1/4 mile is still pretty far. I was in first for a little while but diverted off track. I saw the person in second take a great line and take the lead. I changed direction and tried to get in the slip stream behind him. At this point I then saw the person who was in third go on the outside. I thought ‘shit he’s flying, I’ll follow him’. Looking back now i must have been doing zig zags all over the place, wasting a lot of energy. Us three ended up catching up with not just the wave that set off before us but the wave before that!
I finished in third in my wave but I was still ecstatic with my swim. There isn’t a greater feeling than being proud of what you have achieved. I looked online a few days later and I actually came 11th overall, beating some elite swimmers. How crazy is that!! Definitely going to go next year. It’s a great event and I really recommend taking part! you don’t have to be an amazing swimmer, there is a wide range of abilities. The atmosphere is great, get yourself signed up when you can.