I’d say that the worst time to have a equipment or euipment malfunction is simply earlier than, or throughout a swim. Whether or not it’s costume, of which I’ve had one which I’d take into account to be within the utterly mortifying class, and received’t ever be repeated, due to me studying my lesson, and on the again of it have integrated a pre-swim rigorous checking regime, or whether or not it’s a chunk of apparatus you’ve got deliberate to make use of, particularly if it was for security functions.
Within the pool, for instance, if my goggles immediately began leaking, or I broke my cap (on multiple events), I often have a spare at hand and keep it up, or I’d get out early and be annoyed with myself for NOT having a spare one at hand once I know higher…added to that, if the gear I used within the pool wasn’t in good working order, it additionally wouldn’t compromise my security. The more severe would most likely occur was I develop into entangled in my very own hair!
However swimming within the sea was a very completely different animal as a result of in there, having a malfunction may imply there was an elevated security danger, not ony for me, however for the peole I used to be swimming with. For our Channel relay, the chance of getting a malfunction while swimming may solely be both costume, goggles, security gentle, earplugs or cap, as that’s all of the Channel Swimming Affiliation (CSA) allowed you to swim in, however I’d have a spare (or a number of hundred spares) on the boat which I used to be alongside.
Earlier than the precise swim although, I nonetheless wanted to examine that these have been all match for function within the first place, in any case, there have been so many different issues I’d be worrying about, like had I packed sufficient meals to maintain me for the swim, and doubtless into the next week as effectively, and had I packed sufficient heat garments to maintain me in case a freak Arctic blast occurred in the midst of the English Channel mid swim, and was the boat really sufficiently big for all my extreme stuff, since you may make certain that as a lot as I had packed, the swim buddy would have twice as a lot as I, so I did not wish to be worrying about issues like would my costume would break on the day. To verify, I swam these coaching swims in the identical equipment as I’d take with me for the relay, with the addition of my tow float, as a result of mainly while on a coaching swim, I didn’t have a ship subsequent to me that had spares in it, or may rescue me within the occasion of an gear emergency, or certainly a big, gray fish with plenty of sharp tooth kind of emergency additionally, and so wanted to not solely be seen, however to additionally maintain a few of my private belongings, reasonably than go away them on the seashore.
These coaching swims turned out to be actually invaluable. They afforded me the time to iron out any points, examine that my gear was working appropriately and study some helpful (and generally costly) classes earlier than my large day. Examples of which have been:
1) the swim buddy had purchased some comparatively costly solar lotion that included a jelly fish repellent. We each tried it, and each bought stung. Some (me) greater than others (her). Initially, she determined that it was only a fluke, and would give it one other strive (in contrast to me, who known as it a day after one fail), I admired her dedication, however was solely after the threerd coaching swim, the place Shark had been stung on her neck, arm and leg that she determined it gave the impression to be attracting them, reasonably than repelling them, and it was most positively not well worth the king’s ransom she had paid for it, and nor the ache she was in!
2) making an attempt out the protection lights as quickly as I purchased them, meant that I knew they weren’t working within the first place… and while I didn’t have sufficient time to get some replacements for the primary coaching swim, I did have time to get some for the second… main on to level 3.
3) don’t put on your new goggles (£20) and your new, working, security gentle (£15) on prime of your swim cap when the waves are successively rolling in, sending you again in the direction of the seashore that you simply have been swimming away from. My gear, and I have been to by no means to be reunited with one another once more, after we have been separated by one significantly giant wave. I spent a prolonged time period devoted to searching for them each afterwards, however alas, this maiden voyage was to be our first and final collectively.
4) ensure the waterproof bag you’ve got put your dry garments in doesn’t have a gap in it, as a result of if you happen to don’t, you’ll go house sporting moist pants!
5) don’t be over-zealous together with your Vaseline, while it does an incredible job, it can also get all over the place, together with the lens of your goggles if you happen to’re a bit slap sprint like I’m, a big smear will leaving you unable to see so effectively – *word to self- pack disposable gloves.
6) Generally stuff works if you set off, however malfunctions can occur at any time… like mid-swim for instance, as was the case with my trusted tow float turned damaged. This might have been attributable to the short succession of 4 waves that I actually ought to have anticipated as a result of I’d spent the earlier half-hour making an attempt to swim in/by/round/over/beneath. The precise second I realised it had damaged was once I noticed it overtake me on the way in which again to shore with out me connected to it. An enormous scrabble to get it again adopted, as a result of mainly it had in it my automobile key and a small towel. The day may have ended with an extended drive house on the 840 Coastliner bus had I not inelegantly launched myself on prime of it like I did!
Fortunately I’ve had time to replenish my defective/misplaced at sea gear. I’ve new (completely different make of) lights, and due to the CSA (channelswimmingassociation.com/store) for the speedy supply. I additionally wanted to get but extra goggles, regardless of having a gazillion pairs at house already – simply in case… in addition to a brand new tow float (there are such a lot of now!), and I thank www.drybags.co.uk for not solely pointing me in the appropriate route of a floating dry bag that, not solely had a clasp that remained closed after some stringent checking, however was additionally giant, and shiny sufficient to be seen just about from the moon (mainly, I established that solely a tow float the scale of a barge could be giant sufficient to hold ALL of the garments that I appreciated to deliver to the seashore with me, so opted for one which was a bit just like the Tardis because it turned out, had held greater than I may have hoped, sufficiently big to carry a few of my private belongings (automobile key, cellphone, bank card (for submit swim espresso), small towel, a hat and if I might wished most likely heaps extra), in order that IF the garments I had dropped at the seashore with me to vary into have been taken, a minimum of I’d have the ability to drive house once more, with the heating turned as much as full, in simply my costume and hat, which was infinitely higher than the bus possibility!
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