Race Report: Swim Britain, Blenheim Palace | Eclectic Cake: Race Report: Swim Britain, Blenheim Palace

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Race Report: Swim Britain, Blenheim Palace

WHAT:  4x1000m Open Water Swim Relay
WHERE:  Blenheim Palace, Oxford
WHEN:  7th September 2014

As a team who only recruited their fourth member the night before the race during a heavy night of doughnut and beer consumption, we clearly weren't in the 'in it to win it' camp. Instead we were there for fun, which luckily turns out to be the main aim of Swim Britain events (although bringing an inflatable crocodile named Clive along as a mascot was a step too far...and against the rules). Encouraging the nation to get swimming is much easier if it's seen as something enjoyable.

Swimming is great – where else can you feel that free without falling? But open water swimming is a whole different experience. Much in the way that I would take running outside over the 'dreadmill' any day, splashing in lakes and rivers and seas is definitely my preference. Unfortunately, open water swim races tend to include a mass start, which is the same type of fun as getting punched in the face in a mosh pit. But with individual starts at Swim Britain, swimmers were given a little more space to get away from any accidental punches and kicks. Unfortunately, there were still a few collisions and one of our team got kicked in the ribs. Not one to give up, she battled on to finish all four of her 250m swims with a new technique that mostly involved moving only one arm.

The rest of us had a more enjoyable time splashing in the wonderful Blenheim Palace lake, relaxing in the event tent and collecting cheers from the brilliant marshals. It's true what they say, practice does make perfect and it showed in our individual recorded times that were displayed on giant screens and on the marshals' iPads. I was the absolute slowest of our team (despite having full use of my body after giving anyone that looked 'a bit kicky' a wide berth) but like I said, I came for fun and that's exactly what I got – the whole event reminded me just how much I love swimming and that I definitely need to go for a dip more regularly.

I haven't timed my revelation well, the open water season has pretty much dried up but if I stay a bit more committed next season, perhaps I can leave the inflatables behind and put a more serious game face on...but still with a smile, of course!

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