HAC experienced it’s first Club visit to an Open Water meet at Surrey Quays on Saturday 29 June. The same day last year proved to the hottest in 2018, news that left a lot of our swimmers apprehensive about the rising water temperature: 20C+= no wetsuits allowed.
The sun beat down all day - taking the morning water temperature of 20.3C to 21.4C by early evening - coupled with an air temperature of 33C+ - our first time swimmers also had to mentally toughen themselves for the need to deal with a shock of cold with over a 11C temperature drop on the dive start - and no comfort of a wetsuit.
The swimmers 1st OW meet was all about the experience - to think about their lines/sighting/ finding a rhythm/ to not get caught up in the pack and to enjoy the swim.
We showed off some great swimming and demonstrated great pacing ... as well as skills learnt during the OW skills sessions: lots of sighting/ trying to keep tight to the markers. We also faced some obstacles that can only come from swimming it for real:
I) Gaia losing her contacts at the early part of the race - making sighting incredibly hard, but kept her composure.
Ii) Brian having all sort of things under the water touching his legs / getting caught up with the pack on the 1st lap - which threw his rhythm - but came back strong thereafter and narrowly escaped the bevy of swans, which had decided to takeover the finish area.
Iii) The 3k ladies: Amelie/Aoife/Jess, race took place when the sun was beating down stronger than any part of the day and had to contend with trying to sight into glaring light and had to get tough on the boys in the wave ahead of them getting very scrappy at the markers as they lapped round the ladies - as well as some exceptional strong female swimmers in their wave swimming over them while fighting for positions at the markers.
IV) ... and not least a special commendation to our 2KM swimmers: Chaimaa & Naomi. Chaimaa who was pretty much left to swim all by her lonesome, but really pushed her way round all of her 4 laps showing great mental strength and Naomi who battled hard with the other ladies in her wave especially when trying to gain good positioning at the markers.
V) A big round of applause to Jo Phillimore also for volunteering on the day as an official and who had to stand for much of the day in full sun - a very hard & unenvious task in 40C!
We also wish Jess (Masters) all the best who is an experience OW swimmer who cruised her way round in prep for her OW event in Romania next week.
Well done to all the swimmers for taking part and a huge thanks to Jo for giving up her Saturday to help behind the scenes.
Chaimaa Boukdir 40:09:07
5th LDN Region
Naomi Trevelyan-Shipp 35:11:27
11th LDN Region
Gaia Phillimore 41:54:51
2nd LDN Region
Jess Thorpe - Masters 44:37:00
Aoife Pearson 45:39:46
4th LDN Region
Brian Peidra Ojeda 46:11:00
8th LDN Region
Amelie Noor 55:21:07
9th LDN Region