All of us hopefully are introduced to the sea and the beach in our infancy, but for me it seems swimming more seriously outdoors started on my joining Croydon Outdoor Pursuits and Social Events Club (COPSE) in 1998/9. We took weekends away and one notable weekend walking along the South Coast in 2002, I hopped in the sea whilst everyone else had coffee and ate their lunch. It was April or May, probably 14c. Was I mad, no, just hot from the walking and unable to understand why no one seemed to join me! At the time I was walking with my friend Richard, who in the year of 2003 would become my husband. We had been away on holidays in South West Cornwall where we particularly enjoyed swimming in Coverack, and tried to forget a more memorable wash under fierce waves at Poldhu Beach. However it did not put us off, and together we pursued swimming at Tooting Bec Lido outdoors once home in Forest Hill. Meanwhile we had joined the Beckenham Masters Swimming Club back in 2002 where a very helpful lady in the slow lane (like us!) taught me proper freestyle. She, was an absolute inspiration as since then I have swum freestyle or front crawl constantly. We joined in and swum the Swimathon distance of 5km for the first time in March 2003 at the indoor swimming pool in Victoria, London.
On July 12th, 2003 we were married, and headed to Funchal, Madeira for our honeymoon. The hotel afforded steps straight into the sea where we spent much of our time swimming and marvelling at the glorious, clear water. From this point on we were hooked on swimming outdoors and on our return booked a SwimTrek holiday to the Inner Hebrides in 2004 which will be the subject of the next instalment of my blog.
So the key points at what is the start of my journey swimming outdoors were simply that I love being outdoors, had the fabulous fortune to find a willing tutor in freestyle (for free, I was lucky!), and a partner in life who didn’t seem to mind this lifestyle. However I have swum all my life and memories abound of my Endeavour Shield obtained at Nautilus Swimming Club, Purley – purely for just having a go at the particular swimming gala in question. Never particularly fast, but endured and enjoyed swimming distance(s). As we go on it will become clear to you, the reader, why swimming outdoors has been such a gift to me especially with aspects of my life changing beyond expectation and recognition.
Thank you for reading this Introduction.