The Olympic Park was buzzing with activity as I arrived to take on my Swimathon challenge this morning. With running, cycling and of course swimming events taking place for Sport Relief, it was the iconic venue was a great place to complete my 2.5km swim.
It’s the second year which I’ve taken part in Swimathon- this time I was lucky enough to be involved in the BlogSquad which included a training session with Duncan Goodhew back in December.
Glen and I arrived around an hour early for our start time and watched the swimmers from the previous session finishing their challenges. We collected our coloured swimming caps and headed down the changing rooms to prepare. I bumped into another BlogSquad member Adele as we were lining up on the poolside waiting to start. I hadn’t actually realised we were swimming at the same venue, so it was great to see her before we set off.
I was assigned to Lane 4 and met with the volunteer who would be keeping count of our laps. As one of the flagship venues, there would be hundreds of people taking part in the event. Our coloured caps help the ‘Lane Manager’ distinguish swimmers and count our laps. We were also assigned to coloured teams to create a bit of camaraderie with swimmers across the country. I was representing #TeamYellow in my yellow cap, although I had a feeling it wouldn’t stay on my head throughout the swim!
Before starting, we were lead through an aqua aerobic style warm-up in the diving pool. It was very cheesy, but actually quite fun and helped to get me loosened up for the swim. I might suggest it for our tri club sessions!
I was the third swimmer in my lane to start. Duncan Goodhew was at the venue to set the swimmers off- I wondered if he would remember me from the training session!
As the pool is 50 metres in length, I would need to swim 50 laps to complete the 2500m. Broken down in my mind into 5 lots of 10 lengths, it doesn’t seem so far at all. The swim seemed to fly by with the metres soon adding up. I focused on my technique and staying strong from start to finish.
With 15 people in my lane, it was a little too overcrowded. There was a real mixture of abilities, I found that I had to constantly overtake slower swimmers. I had planned to tumble-turn at the end of each lap, but it actually wasn’t possible as the lane-ends were pretty congested with swimmers taking a rest.
My Garmin never seems to work accurately at the Olympic Pool for some reason. It was adding on additional lengths, so after only 30 minutes it read 2000m which I knew couldn’t be accurate. I checked with the Lane Manager and he told me I had another 18 lengths to go, which sounded more like it! Perhaps I should have left the Garmin at home and just kept track in my mind.
With 10 lengths to go, I was given the signal and tried to pick up the pace for the final 500m. I felt my swimming cap slipping off the back of my head and filling up with water, so I grabbed it and left it on the poolside. The struggles of having long, thick hair- caps never stay on my head!
I finished in 53:07, alongside another girl in a green cap. I’m really pleased with the improvement of 4 minutes on last year’s time– it shows progress with my swimming.
Glen had finished his swim a while before me and was waiting on the poolside. We collected our medals and had an official photo.
Swimathon is a fab event for all abilities. I’d really recommend it as a goal to work towards if you are a beginner in the pool. With options for 1.5km, 2.5km and 5km there is a distance to suit all levels. Next year I might even attempt the 5km!
Did you take part in Swimathon or any of the Sport Relief events?