Swim Serpentine – 21st September WARNING: Not Running Related!

Simon Newman reports: A few of you will probably know I have taken a liking to outdoor swimming as a second hobby. I guess you could call it cross training or recovery training, either way I love swimming in circles around a lake.
Earlier this year John McKeon, Rich Rollins and I signed up for Swim Serpentine which is held at Hyde Park in London. You can choose between ½ mile, 1 mile and 2 miles. We opted for the 2 mile swim.

Training:
We started going to Upton Warren Lake in Droitwich a couple of weeks, its a lovely little lake which measures approx 500meters but because of all the fantastic weather we’ve had they suffered with green algae which meant you would come out looking like The Swamp Thing! Our next option was Cliff Lakes but we’ve always been a bit wary about going back there since last year as they have been known to have the dreaded swimmers itch… a tiny bug and if it latches on to you while swimming it burrows under your skin and make it look like you have chicken pox! They have advertised recently the swimmers itch has gone.

About a month to go and Antony Stewart mentions he had also signed up for the 2 miler, so we all head to Hyde park on Saturday 21st September, I met up with Rich and John about half hour before the start.  We got changed into our wetsuits and off we went, I started to panic about my goggles as earlier in the week I noticed a small leak on the left lens… I took a spare pair with me and tested them in the dunk pool… no good! They started leaking, I was looking frantically for Sharon who had my other pair and about 2 minutes before we were about to dive in and start the swim I had one final look across and I saw Sharon so I leapt over about 10 people all dressed in rubber to reach out for my spare pair of goggles; saved!

At this point we hadn’t seen Antony but Sharon mentioned he was just in front, there’s no way we could of found him with everyone dressed the same.
We dived in and started the swim, this is ace… I was loving it, head under the water, you can hardly see a thing but it was so peaceful but the moment you lift your head out you hear the cheers, screams and splashing, head back under and its all peaceful again…
Once you get in your own space and rhythm you feel great, you feel like you’re flying under the water, hard to explain but would love others to try it out.
On my last lap, I’m starting to tire and even bump into one of the giant yellow buoys, the last 400 metres or so I start to zigzag I thought to myself, just slow it down, relax and keep turning my arms, it’s nearly all done.

I finally finished, trying to get out up the ramp was quite tricky, I started to walk over to the stands where I knew Sharon would be waiting for me, there she was, camera ready as always, snap snap snap, I was still in a daze, walking a bit wobbly I wobbled over to the showers, someone took my timing chip off me and they point you in the direction of the hot tubs, just want I needed…I took my wetsuit off and Rich shouted from his hot tub so I went to see how he got on.

We went to the changing rooms and bumped into Antony, he said he loved it and even mentioned something about a longer swim 🙂 (you have to now, it’s on here).
We then went and met up with John who also had a great swim and was outside waiting for us.

Chip results:
John McKeon = 70 mins
Richard Rollins = 74 mins
Simon Newman = 77 mins
Antony Stewart = 87 mins

A fantastic event which I would recommend to anyone who enjoys open water swimming, really well organised.
Also, if you complete the London Marathon, London ride (100 miles) and the 2 mile swim you will get the London Classic medal.

One Reply to “Swim Serpentine – 21st September WARNING: Not Running Related!”

  1. Well done, all of you. You actually make it sound fun, Simon. I really must try to get into open water swimming – next year!

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