When #greatbritishswim legend Ross Edgley meets Open Water Lady… in Margate!


I’ve adopted Mr. Ross Edgley’s circumnavigation of Nice Britain with nice curiosity. Not that I’ll ever swim anyplace close to that distance (*I could take into account it if somebody provided me one million kilos to do it, however not a penny much less), nonetheless I do have a (considerably smaller) difficult swim of my very own to finish subsequent 12 months, and for me it will likely be tough, tiring, emotional and possibly the most effective issues I’ll ever do. As I mentioned, my swim received’t be anyplace close to as lengthy – it’ll hopefully take me solely 100 and fifty seventh of the time that Ross took in whole, however throughout that at some point of swimming, regardless of my finest coaching efforts, I’m ready for there to be some level the place it hurts, in a method or one other, and that is the place Ross’s weekly vlogs have been invaluable. Watching him (and his workforce) come up towards many potential setbacks, and overcome them has given me hope and inspiration that no matter my swim chucks at me, with resolve and resilience I’ll get there (and for the document, I don’t embrace a shark sighting on this).

A number of associates had additionally been following Ross’s progress, and requested me if I might ever take into account doing something as far. For a second I couldn’t consider a single purpose why I wouldn’t, in spite of everything, Ross has showcased our shoreline fantastically, and though very prolonged, it will be wonderful I am certain, nonetheless over the course of the subsequent couple of minutes, I used to be in a position to suppose of many, together with causes equivalent to: swimming at the hours of darkness – finished it as soon as, didn’t get pleasure from it. Was satisfied that I used to be going to be eaten by one thing sinister. I lasted seven lengthy minutes (there’s a plus facet I suppose, in case your future had been to be eaten alive while swimming, then if it’s darkish then not less than it will be an entire shock)! Additionally, I draw the road at having to develop facial hair to forestall jellyfish stings. I pay good cash to eliminate any as it’s! And there are sharks in there – okay possibly not nice whites, however giant animals have been identified to veer off their migratory paths earlier than… take one Beluga whale that’s presently residing within the Thames estuary…to call just a few.

And since I feel that his achievement is completely wonderful, once I came upon that he was ending his epic swim on Sunday the fourth of November in Margate I assumed it price driving the numerous, many miles to look at him end, in spite of everything I felt that if somebody had taken the time to swim for 100 and fifty seven days, and impressed so many individuals, together with myself, alongside the best way, it was undoubtedly price going and giving him a cheer and presumably hand shake. I’d like so as to add that if I had associates in very excessive locations, I’d in all probability be recommending knighthoods, marching bands, a little bit of bunting, keys to the town, that type of stuff, however as I don’t, a cheer must suffice!
I used to be planning to go anyway after which I heard, alongside the social grapevine, that 300 individuals would have the chance to swim his final mile with him. I used to be decided a type of 300 could be me, and as quickly as entries had been open I utilized, with out a lot hope of getting the chance if I’m being trustworthy, nonetheless I had no concept with my painfully gradual typing pace, how I managed to safe a spot to swim with him. It’s nonetheless a thriller!  I heard that locations had been scooped up in a matter of minutes, and though my fingers are constructed for swimming (and subsequently the scale of shovels), they aren’t constructed for typing on small screens, nonetheless it seems that I’m way more dexterous, when underneath excessive strain, than I gave myself credit score for, and in some way managed to bag myself a spot. Yay! 
As this was going to be a really big day, historical past making really, I felt it vital to make an additional particular effort, and so forth the again of getting a spot, ordered myself some new goggles, some swim socks and had a pedicure (I do know, I might have socks on… however I might know and that’s all that issues). Sadly my swim buddy, Shark was unable to come back on account that she had a previous engagement on one other seashore someplace nearer the southern hemisphere, and so swim squad buddy Richard drew the brief straw (in as far as the very lengthy journey to Margate with me in tow). I could have bribed him with the promise of meals, however in all seriousness, I really suppose it was my playlist selection that swung it. Regardless of us being fully completely different swim age classes; me being a baby of the seventies, and him not, I used to be a little bit shocked he entered the spirit of the street journey so nicely! What higher option to study to like ABBA as a lot as I do than ten hours of back-to-back hits? 
On the day of the swim we arrived in sunny Margate in good time, which to be trustworthy was a miracle in itself, as we weren’t 5 miles down the motorway earlier than swim buddy had already ignored the directions from the Satnav and took a fallacious flip, that means we had a small, however time expensive, detour earlier than we had been in a position to get again on the motorway as soon as once more. On the again of this I declared myself the accountable grownup in control of instructions going forwards, and though I’ve a small downside with my lefts and rights (not at all times certain which is which), I nonetheless felt we had a preventing likelihood of really getting there, and because the swim was time delicate, we couldn’t be late, and so I selflessly forfeited my deliberate nanna nap to make it occur.   
Me delivering a small “nicely finished you probably did it” current from Olympic swimmer Liam Tancock 
Earlier than we knew it, having sorted out the authorized stuff (disclaimers), grabbed our swim caps, had the protection briefing and tried my first ever can of RedBull, we had been shepherded all the way down to the seashore. The water was fairly chilly, nonetheless my new swim socks made mild work of the chilly. I did a fast sweep of the fast space for any predators and given there was so many swimmers within the water at one time, I felt assured that any starfish, jellyfish, mackerel, cockle or whelk would suppose twice about attacking such a big group of individuals, and so far as I may make on the market had been no shark sightings within the space in current historical past (I checked – totally!). Simply in case one other Beluga whale or different giant aquatic creature rocked up, misplaced or in any other case, I put myself very firmly in the course of the group, however close to sufficient to one of many security jet skis to have the ability to windsprint over to it earlier than anybody else (together with my swim buddy – it’s a case of each swimmer for herself) ought to the event come up. As I mentioned, the ocean was fairly chilly, and really calm for the primary half. I used this distance to acclimatise to the chilly and absorb the wonderful environment. I’m unsure what number of metres out we had been earlier than fairly instantly it obtained a little bit choppier. Swim buddy checked on me at this level, and requested me if I used to be okay, and as I replied I managed to swallow certainly one of a number of nasty mouthfuls of seawater. I took a second gulp once I enquired as to what number of gulps it took earlier than you bought salt tongue “considerably greater than two” I used to be instructed, together with the suggestion that I attempt to maintain my mouth shut. 
We reached the buoy the place we might be assembly Ross very quickly in any respect. The environment was indescribable, and as quickly as he got here into view my fellow swimmers and I started cheering and clapping (first time I’d ever tried treading water and clapping – not very efficiently both I’ll be trustworthy, and I swallowed one other mouthful of water). At one level a pair started to begin a track, and I actually feared for them, as a part of the welcome house occasion, I might be compelled to affix in or seem like a nasty sport in any other case. I’ve been identified to belt out a tuneless track or two in my time worthy of creating ears bleed and young children cry (this was additionally the case for a lot of the journey to Margate- as my lengthy struggling swim buddy can vouch), and wouldn’t want to inflict that stage of uncomfortable on anybody, and now I used to be additionally suspicious that my swim buddy’s suggestion to maintain my mouth shut was not completely to forestall me from swallowing extra water, in spite of everything, he had nearly survived (though his ears had been a furious shade of beetroot I seen) a 5 hour ABBAthon!  
In what felt like no time in any respect Ross joined us to very large cheers and applause. It was a ravishing second, and I felt fairly teary. I blame the tears on the after results of watching Watership Down the earlier afternoon with my daughter – it at all times impacts me for a day or so afterwards, and nothing to do with being overcome by this magical second. Ross frolicked welcoming, acknowledging, excessive fiving these with outstretched arms… Besides me after all, as a result of if anybody can cock up a easy excessive 5, it’s me, and after three missed makes an attempt between us, we each gave it up as a nasty job on account that I used to be at critical threat of swallowing the North Sea in its entirety if we’d have carried on, additionally there are solely so many sunlight hours in these winter months, and hundreds extra, higher coordinated, swimmers had been patiently ready to congratulate him. I used to be liable to holding up the proceedings. 
Nice environment
There have been a number of swimmers there with their underwater cameras. One girl behind me was struggling to get a great shot. I’m not too certain how I assumed it was going to finish once I provided her a little bit of a hoist up, so she may get a distinct (shut up/birds eye?) angle, and I’ve no clue whether or not it turned out to be an award successful shot, however as I pushed her up it seems that I’m stronger than I gave myself credit score for. On a barely completely different thread, I’m happy to say that lastly these twice weekly, nasty weight periods that I’ve been diligently doing have really paid off. At this specific second I’m unsure whether or not I’m horrified at this or delighted, as I feel I could nicely have pushed her straight on high our hero, while managing to dunk myself, and the person I grabbed while making an attempt to avoid wasting myself, underneath the water. I made a decision at this level it was in all probability finest to flee the scene of the potential crime, in spite of everything, who desires to take the blame for maiming/injuring Ross with the end line being so shut? 
After a number of extra minutes Ross lastly swam previous us all to proceed his final little bit of the swim, with all the swimmers behind him. I’ve to say that after 100 and fifty seven days of swimming he was surprisingly speedy. I had anticipated a much more sedate and leisurely tempo if I’m trustworthy. If I’d realized how briskly we might be going I’d have in all probability not had the big breakfast shortly earlier than I obtained in. We cheered as Ross efficiently exited the water with out face planting the seashore. Sadly once I obtained again to the shoreline I used to be much less profitable with my exit and spectacularly fell sideways. T’was an Oscar worthy efficiency (I concern that I’ll by no means be rid of the gazillion grains of sand in my hair)… Value it although!
As soon as we had been out and adjusted and fed – BTW – RedBull had been wonderful hosts. This was based mostly completely on the countless provide of scrumptious chilli. Severely, in the event that they ever really feel like a change of profession… I recommend a sequence of chilli eating places. It was so good – we headed again to the end line the place Ross was busy combining stay interviews with speaking to the gang. I had been invited by RedBull into the ‘enclosure’ with Ross to have a photograph taken (I’d finished a Q&A session with them earlier within the week for an article). Swim buddy additionally managed to get in by telling them he was my Sherpa/physique guard/chauffeur. To be truthful, he was carrying my wetsuit and certainly one of my a number of luggage, after I faked a sore shoulder. I feel he provided simply to cease me moaning actually! I wished to ask Ross if he would signal my swim cap, which I deliberate (nonetheless do) to try to use as a fundraising device. I wasn’t certain whether or not this was doable, as he was so busy, however earlier than I started formulating a water tight plan to attain this (presumably involving elbowing the BBC out of the best way), nonetheless after no time in any respect I discovered myself proper in entrance of him and seized the second; all finished and dusted within the blink of an eye fixed, and with out having to sharpen my elbows, and he even took the time for a number of hundred pictures (just because I simply couldn’t get the suitable angle!), and a fast chat.

My signed cap (by Ross and Ant).

On the best way house I mirrored (while persevering with the ABBAthon) on a tremendous day, a tremendous swim and a tremendous man. What he has achieved is solely astonishing. Ross is a testomony to endurance, resilience, optimism and good old school grit and willpower, and if I can study only a fraction from his journey, then I do know my (a lot shorter) swim problem can be equally as profitable… On the premise that there are not any shark sightings and I can get it finished and dusted earlier than dusk that’s. Can’t wait!

Er, that is my pen…
With Ant Middleton
One of many ‘wasn’t fairly prepared’ ones 

As soon as once more, thanks for studying, and for these of you that get pleasure from my blogs, my ebook 

Open Water Lady Swims Windermere is on the market in paperback and electronically on Amazon. 

Here is the hyperlink:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Open-Water-Lady-Swims-Windermere/dp/1980614660/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535300602&sr=8-1&key phrases=open+water+girl

I even have a ‘group’ web page on Fb and am on Twitter and Instagram, the place I publish the shenanigans extra often. If you would like to affix/observe you would be very welcome. Listed below are the hyperlinks. 😊

  

And at last, subsequent 12 months my problem can be to swim Lake Windermere 2 method in reminiscence of my finest good friend, Jane, who sadly died in September. I can be elevating cash for the hospice that took such excellent care of her. Together with common updates through weblog, Twitter and the same old, I will even be documenting my progress and coaching every week on YouTube. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffSSIEHOBDM&t=23s

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