My Freedom Swim 2 May 2010

Dedicated to my dear friend and 3rd Granny, Loula Rees Jones, who passed away 1 May at 6:25pm. Loula would’ve been 101 years old on 4 June 2010.

My dear friends,
Thanks so much for the incredible support, it has been fantastic.

In the months leading up to the event were challenging, but the training kept me on the straight and narrow. After saying for many years that it was impossible to do it, I got my head around the idea and started training in earnest. Once I got past the fear of what was under the water, the next step was learning to embrace the COLD. The second Clifton mile of the year, as an after thought, I decided to qualify for the the RI (Robben Island) swim, and I did it!

Getting use to the freezing water with loads of other mad folk was fun, it became easier each time, I always got loads of encouragement to keep going. Chatting whilst you were bobbing around waiting to swim back to the other side…..And the one that kept you going was that cuppa hot chocolate waiting for at Caprice afterwards. Trying to work out what to eat and drink while doing the distance – did a trail swim at Silvermine Dam, drank Powerade and ate marshmallows, it worked. After securing my boatman, deciding what to wear to the island, what to pack on the boat, and what to have waiting for you on the other side. Got it spot on.

The day arrived, Sandra dropped me at the Clock Tower at around 7:45, and all the other mad hatters were around. Got my number written on my arm, drank loads of water, chatted to experienced RI swimmers about what to do and no do, exciting and nervous all in one. We got loaded onto the ferry, and off we went, perfect conditions, no wind, flattish sea. Arrived at Robben Island, packed our clothes into our little bags, applied anti-chaff cream, sun block, had a last pee and then the time came to head to the beach.

Dipped my big toe into the water, cold, but know turning back now, I was on the island! Luzanne and I headed into the water together, (we had decided to swim together, and had only done one training swim together, luckily we were the speed), having company created a sense of security.

Any way headed out into the ocean, swimmers every where, boats everywhere, surf skiers ……we found our boatmen eventually, got into our rhythm and headed towards Big Bay. Breathing in the petrol fumes was a huge challenge, not nice at all, but the comfort of having Luzanne on the one side and a boat on the other was very comforting. We has our first feed at 45 min (I think), battle to drink a lot, ate a marshmallow or two, and carried on. Think we stopped every 20 min to 1/2 an hour for a feed, as we got closer to land the water got colder and colder, the last 2km were nasty! But Loula kept me going, land was in sight so I had to finish.

As we hit the beach – which was not the actual finish area – drifted off course because of the current – we got wrapped in a towel and bundled into a waiting Land Rover. We were whisked to the finish area, and crossed the finish line, friends and family cheering us on, but we could not linger around as we were hurried into the medical area. HEAT. Had assistance in getting dressed, my body core temp was taken, too low – 35,5 degrees, so sat under a gas heater and drank hot chocolate. Not sure, on the time but I was in there for sometime, eventually got let out when my temp was 37,4.

Drank loads of water, could not get enough of it! Caught up with friends, got home, ran through the shower, and then headed out to the River Club for the Awards Evening and Dinner. Speeches, dinner and then prize giving. To my shock I got awarded 1st women over 40 across the line prize – box of assorted wines!
Left for home pretty exhausted but happy.

Monday – woke up bit of a headache, took some pills and got into bed, yes took the day off, would’ve been useless at work! Slept most of the day, body is rather tired, but I’m sure I’ll recover.

Well that’s my story for now…

Go to Cadiz website to view details on Open Water Swimming events….

Leave a Reply