10 days & counting

Sunday 7th July

The plan was to meet at the Guillamene at 9am for a 4km swim. My stomach decided to have a couple of churns which held me up a bit so it was 9:15 by the time I arrived. The fabulous sun we had had all week had deserted us to be replaced by grey, overcast skies and mist. On the plus side the mist, at least, had lifted between Waterford and Tramore, leaving a dull, but dry, morning that was warm by Irish summer standards.

I actually managed to get in quickly with virtually no whimpering; the water has finally got a bit warmer, the downside of this is that the jellyfish have arrived. Apart from the soup of moon jellyfish at the end of the ‘Beat the Ferryman’ swim, we’ve not experienced swimming with jellies this year. To give ourselves time to get used to the ‘experience’ we decided to swim out to the flag and back, at least if one of us did get stung or panic we would not be too far from a safe exit. I did bounce a few of the moon jellyfish without being stung but was a bit worried about the beautiful purple-blue jellies with the yellow fringe. At the time I didn’t know what the blue ones were and not wanting a nasty sting so close to departure, Ash and I decided to head to the Watershed for our 4km swim. I think we both half felt that we should have stayed to swim at the Guillamene with the jellies, but neither of us wanted to put starting the Channel swim in jeopardy.

Back at the Watershed, the pool was quiet and there were a few lanes roped off so we both got on with the task; I think Ash did 10 x 400m and I decided to do 2 x 400m, 2 x 500m, 2 x 600m and 2 x 500m and tried to do the second of each pair faster than the first and take only about 10-15 sec rest between the sets. The result was the 4km was finished in about 1hour 20min with the last (4th) 500m being faster than the first so I was quite pleased with that. We were both happy with out efforts and headed off feeling a little more confident heading into our last week before the Dover trip.

The 4km was swam with very little food inside me, a couple of spoonfuls of porridge and a coffee and muffin between the Guillamene and the Watershed. I do like to do this every so often, to prove to myself that I can swim with very little fuel because there is a strong chance that I could be seasick and will not be able to eat much.

I have noticed that I find it very difficult to switch-off in the pool as I’m either counting lengths, watching time or avoiding other swimmers; in the sea I check my hand entry, check recovery and underwater stroke, head position, think about breathing and finally my mind goes blank and I just go with the water, this seldom happens in the pool and I’m hoping being able to do this will be very useful when swimming the channel.

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