Swimming journey comes to an end

Swimmers training for the Great East Swim
Swimmers training for the Great East Swim

It’s been a fun few months during which I have seen my swimming improve markedly, though it had to come an end.

Saturday (June 21) saw myself and the others from the swim scheme head to Alton Water near Ipswich to take part in the Great East Swim.

I had already seen the fruits of the swim scheme as the swim time in my middle distance triathlons had fallen from 55 minutes to 40.

However, the one mile swim on a sunny Saturday afforded me the opportunity to really push myself knowing there was no bike to climb onto after I exited the water.

There was a little trepidation from some members of the group as we waited to start in the Suffolk Sport tent, but myself and most of us were genuinely excited.

The warm up swim area was a bit crowded but as the countdown began until the start so did the excitement.

Sound the klaxon sounded and we rushed into the water and began powering forward.

Before starting the swim scheme in May I would have been plodding along at the back doing breaststroke, but with my technique all sorted I was now among the pack ploughing forward.

I was been told it was a fast mile and soon I was rounding the half way buoy, the field of swimmers now spreading out more.

Far from plodding behind I now get to enjoy overtaking fellow swimmers as the event goes on.

As I reached the end I passed two swimmers from the group that had started half an hour before, reminding me of how far I’d come.

Soon I was climbing back out of the water and through the central archway having finished my mile.

I was glad to see I had managed the distance in 32 minutes when previously I would have taken 50.

However, the best part of the scheme has been that I now enjoy swimming.

Before it was the part of triathlon that I endured, knowing there were better disciplines to come, yet now I enjoy my swimming and, having fallen in love with the water again, am looking for the next endurance swim so I can drag that enjoyment out a little longer.

A 10k swim in Lake Buttermere this September is a distinct possibility.

Thanks to Corinna Hudson for her organisation of us and to West Suffolk Swimming Club star Danny Proffitt and retired champion veteran triathlete Barbara Leverett who taught me how to enjoy swimming again.

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.

Those under 16 need parental/guardian’s permission and can only do the half mile 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.