Swim scheme injects confidence

An open water training session at Fritton Lake
An open water training session at Fritton Lake

As I was approaching my first triathlons last year I was dreading the prospect – particularly the swim, which is my weakest aspect.

Just more than a year later and approaching my first triathlons of 2014 next month, I am actually looking forward to them – largely because of the improvements in my swimming.

An open water training session at Fritton Lake

An open water training session at Fritton Lake

I had always struggled to manage a decent time in the 1.2 mile swim that is part of a middle distance triathlon (also including a 56 mile cycle and half marathon – 13.1 mile run), and before the Big East Tri last May wondered if I’d even manage the one hour ten minute cut-off time.

I managed it in around 55 minutes on the day, coming second to last.

I had always done breast stroke the whole way, but having started the Great East Swim training scheme this year I have been taught by retired veteran triathlete Barbara Leverett and swimmer Danny Proffitt how to do front crawl properly.

I am still improving, and performing the correct technique is becoming more natural than focused after every training session.

Our latest session at Haverhill Leisure Centre on Sunday (May 4) saw us chose a distance to swim and complete it.

I opted to do 64 – a mile – and despite worrying there may not be time do complete it I did the distance in 42 minutes.

Having missed out on the six hour mark by five minutes at one triathlon, I’m hopeful of achieving that goal thanks to my improved swimming this year.

The swim scheme is part of a subsidised initiative this year being run in Haverhill and Newmarket (for young people) aiming to participate in the Great East Swim on June 21.

The subsidised offer is worth over £200 but costs £25 and is available for those aged 12 to 25 in Haverhill and Newmarket, with training at both leisure centres culminating in the Great East Swim.

The young person’s Sportivate programme is funded by Sport England’s Sportive initiative and delivered in partnership with Suffolk Sport and Suffolk County Council.

For all the latest news see Thursday’s (May 8) Echo.