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Old 05-05-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,380
Default First sea swim this year

Last year I joined a bunch of triathletes, some of whom I had met in the local swimming pool, in fairly regular excursions into the murky and choppy waters of Cardiagn Bay, which turned out to be a very enjoyable experience.

When I first came to Aberystwyth in the early 'sixties of the twentieth century, I swam fairly regularly in the sea in the summer months but after a few years my ventures into the sea became fewer and fewer partly because of concerns about the cleanliness of the water - it was not uncommon to come across distasteful objects and substances in those days.

Last year I thought that I would try to carry on swimming throughout the year, which is feasible, especially if one invests in a wetsuit. It also helps to be slightly touched in the head.

However, this year we had a particularly rainy period, with large quantities of silt flowing into the bay from the local rivers, which are known to contain quantities of heavy metals, and it was thought by those making the decisions about water safety that the water was unsafe for swimming. Then there followed a cold spell by the standards of these parts and few seemed willing to risk a dip, but a week or so ago the climate changed enough for the hardy souls to venture into the bay.

Last year I had swum in a shorty wetsuit, which was probably designed more for the kayaker or surfer than the swimmer, but it did the job quite well. Santa Claus had brought me a full length suit for Christmas and yesterday I had the opportunity to get it wet. Getting it on was the first problem but with the help of my friends I managed to squeeze into it and we all tripped merrily down the stony beach to the water's edge. Last year the first immersion seemed extremely cold but this year, although objectively the temperature was lower, about 8.5 C versus about 10 C last year, subjectively it seemed warmer, perhaps due to the better thermal insulation of the new wetsuit.

One problem became evident straight away. Th greater buoyancy of the full length wetsuit meant that my legs kept rising to the surface and I kept falling backwards into the beginnings of a back somersault. But eventually I managed to swim a few strokes of breaststroke and even a few strokes of crawl, although since I haven't yet mastered the art of sighting, this is still a work in progress. Back crawl is easier but of course veering off course is inevitable and I understand that in this country backstroke is outlawed in open water events and is taken as a distress signal.

We swam to and fro for about half an hour and then repaired to the diner on the promenade for hot chocolate and fruit cake, which is a very nice after swim treat.

A charity swim in Lake Bala is in the sights.

When the weather gets a bit warmer I may try swimming without the wetsuit, as I always did in the past.
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