Swimming with the fish!!


yesterday I got well and truly out of my comfort zone....

I swam in a lake, outside 😲 and not just any old lake (!) it turned out it was a Triathlon training centre, called Bristol Open Water Centre!!

My friend Claire didn’t mention that when she suggested I give it a go!! 🤣 Claire is training to swim the River Dart 10K with some other friends of mine and at first I thought I'd meet her after her swim and then I cogitated and thought I 'could' give it a whirl.......maybe, but

I wasn’t making any promises!! 

As the week went on I just decided I would. I’d been to our wellbeing workshop on Monday and thought it would do me good. I have a (once used) wetsuit and I can swim, in that I wouldn't drown but am not a 'good' swimmer, technique needs work, can’t dive etc!!! But, I CAN swim.

So the day arrived and I felt a bit excited actually, (which was a surprise!) as the sun was shining...and it's been flipping hot for days.... 

We got there and the lake was MASSIVE. I'm not joking!! I could hardly see the swimmer who was at the other side...😲....and there were FISH- which Claire had mentioned, but they were ENORMOUS and if there's one thing that puts me off swimming in open water it's fish...ugh.

But Claire was in there already and so were other people...and it was hot....so hot, no wetsuit needed.

The owner said “it’s not just for triathletes, beginners also welcome”

...... that's me I thought!! Ba ha ha. 

So I asked where to get in (!) and gingerly felt my way through the murky water for the slippery step and started my descent! Luckily the fish stayed away. And I had a little go at (my version of) breast stroke, but didn’t seem to move anywhere really!! This is odd, I thought to myself, feeling a bit more daunted to be honest. Also, the other swimmers were there, looking rather well, professional, in their wetsuits and swimming caps and goggles. 

I retreated to the side and sat on the step. It was a beautiful day though and a chap started chatting to me. He was asking about whether I swam etc and I was like “not much”he started to encourage me and said I could just swim out to the first buoy and back, see what it’s like. It’s not deep he said, you can stand up if you need to. It’s a bit squishy, but you can stand. 

Claire appeared at this point, having a breather after her lap, and said when she started she went from one buoy to the next and stopped at each one. And it took her an hour to get round. That’s how big this lake was!! 

And then I thought to myself, "ok let’s do it." 

"I’m off to the buoy"

I said and the chap offered to swim with me (bless!) but I said I was fine. 

So off I went, slowly, and I made it to the first buoy. The bottom of the lake was VERY squishy, which encouraged me to keep swimming!! Then I started towards the next one and so I went on….

And I got round the whole flipping thing.

Which was hard. It was a long way for a relatively novice swimmer and totally novice lake swimmer. 

That afternoon, my husband asked me what stroke I used and I replied I had to pull all my strokes out the bag—because whatever stroke I was doing started to hurt!! Either my neck was sore, or my arms were aching!! So I had to keep changing strokes and I had to remind myself to stay calm, so I didn’t get overwhelmed. I even tried front crawl, which I wasn’t keen on because you have to put your head in the water and it was pretty murky…but hey, everyone else was doing it…and it made it quicker.


I made it!!

I managed one whole lap of the massive lake. And I was SO chuffed with myself.

  • For getting in.

  • For swimming.

  • For trying something I had no desire to do at all, it was just something my friend had suggested. In fact, originally I said I’d go to make her feel better about her swimming times as knew I’d be much slower than she was (and I was!)

But more than this, afterwards I felt like I’d been on holiday!!!

It was SO calm, SO quiet, the sun was shining. If we’d had a few sun loungers I could have stayed there all day. It was honestly SO beautiful. There was such a sense of peace and space. Words can’t really explain it....

And all day afterwards I felt blissed out. Calmer. Relaxed. I had a client over that afternoon and I was telling her about it, “It’s like my arms feel all floppy” I said. I guess I used muscles I don’t usually use. And it felt AMAZING. 

And I still feel different. Better. I might even go again. In fact I want to!!

Claire Stone, see what you have started!!! 

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