Very recently, I completed the 2014 Sport Relief Swimathon 1.5 kilometre front crawl in the Zaha Hadid-designed Olympic aquatic centre! Having never learned to swim the crawl prior to December 2013 (and considered myself a bit of a swimming novice), I’m left with a ridiculously satisfying sense of achievement, like some sort of Viking conqueror! Swimming on such an infamous ‘stage’ to face my challenge was a powerful experience and I would totally recommend anyone who’s considering taking part in a charity fitness event to sign up for it next year; you’ll be getting fit whilst raising money for some of the most under-privileged parts of the world!
For me, above all, it was a MEGA struggle of a challenge. I’m fit and healthy, but I found the training in the lead-up to the event gruesome and difficult, and it pushed me way, way out of my comfort zone. 1500m may not seem like a big deal to you swimmers, but learning & applying the tough and foreign technique of the front crawl, from scratch, as an adult, was remarkably demanding, and requires the unlearning of all the bodily rules I discovered through life! At first I really struggled with the breathing and thus the stamina, but once I became comfortable that I didn’t need to come up for oxygen every 2 seconds and learned to slow / pace my breathing, I was able to advance my technique far more competently.
Thanks to my friend Ingrid for coming with to take these fab pictures that I’ve arranged into a lovely little collage 🙂 !
My participation in the event would not have been remotely possible without the help of my fantastic swim coach & physiotherapist Charlie; she’s been incredibly patient with me (I am a tough student!), and is a remarkable person! Thanks to her, I can now say that I can swim the front crawl, and I’ve done it in the London Olympic venue! Thanks also to my champion swimming pals, Duncan Goodhew and Karen Pickering for all the invaluable tips and tricks along the way, which helped get me there & back all afternoon!
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