When the former Mayor of Bury St Edmunds and St. Edmundsbury, Mike Ames and his wife Monica asked us if we would like to join them for a week in Spain before Easter, the first thing I asked was "Can you swim there?". "Absolutely" he replied. "You step out of the apartment straight onto the beach". I immediately booked the flights for Friday March 14, 2008!
Looking forward to it for about 4-5 weeks before we left, I suddenly realised that it clashed with the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation (CS&PF) Annual General Meeting and Awards Dinner, which I had already booked tickets for and booked our usual room at The Sandown Guest House in Dover. Humbly I apologised to the Honorary Secretary of the CS&PF Mike Oram, and Martin & Sonia at The Sandown who said it was no problem. However, while at the World Winter Swimming Championships in February, the "King of The English Channel", Kevin Murphy, asked me if I would like to be on the committee of the CS&PF. I was delighted and honoured to be asked by Kevin and I gladly agreed. Kevin was to propose me, and Cliff Golding to second me. I set off for Spain on Friday 14th, thinking about the week ahead, and whether I would be elected to the committee or not.
Arriving is Spain at about 22:00 Hrs on the Friday evening, I couldn't wait to get in the sea the next day, and after a fantastic seafood meal with Mike and Monica, I went to bed quite unexpectedly excited about the next day.
Getting in, I shivered. God it felt cold. Having been swimming in Clarice House 20 Metre swimming pool at 28 Degrees Centigrade for the past few weeks, and jumping in and out of the sauna and jacuzzi, this felt cold. It took all the 'cold' thoughts I could muster to get in. I bent over, splashed my body with water, kept walking in, then dived in and started to sprint away, before settling into a gentle pace.
Beccy was walking along the beach and I settled into a great rhythm. 1-2-3 breathe right, sea. 1-2-3 breathe left, Beccy marching quite quickly, down the beach, ruck sack on her back with my clothes, camera, flip flops, towel etc., all ready for when I emerged 3KM down the beach. It felt fantastic to be in the sea again. I kept looking at the temperature gauge on my watch, which had started at 28 degrees Centigrade, but was slowly dropping. It does seem to drop very slowly, 25, 22, 20, 19.5, 18.4, 18 Degrees Centigrade is where it stopped. It certainly felt colder than that, but who was I to argue with my temperature gauge? That was the official temperature for the swim. 18 Degrees Centigrade (64.4 Degrees Fahrenheit).
After 35 minutes, I stepped out of the sea, having just completed the first 3KM swim of the week. was really pleased, but my body did feel very cold. Beccy told me that due to the tide, she could barely keep up with me. That's why she had been walking so fast!
We walked back to the apartments, I showered, got warm and dressed, then sent a text to the Queen of the English Channel, Alison Streeter, who is also the Chairperson of the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation, to see if I had been elected to the committee. I was delighted when she text me back saying that I had been elected.
What a perfect day, a good 3KM swim @ 18 Degrees Centigrade, and elected to the CS&PF Committee. I couldn't wait for day 2 to come to get in the sea for the next swim...