The Great North Swim 2011 in Windermere has been the biggest open water swimming event in the UK, an awesome achievement on behalf of the organisers and for each and everyone who took part, amazing.
The setting, Windermere is also what makes it amazing, the views of the Lake District fells from the Low Wood Hotel, the host venue for the swim, are world class.

Great North Swim Start

Great North Swim Start

Preparation for such a big event starts early and the course buoys were set out on the previous Wednesday.

The stage was set for a Great North Swim bandit run…

As we, small group of swimmers, gathered on the lovely cropped lawns of the hotel, the general agreement was,

‘we are all feeling a bit tired from work, training & stresses of life etc and well, we’ll just bimble around the course tonight shall we?’

We make our way down the ramp, ooohh its a bit chilly, brrr; in we get, tread a bit of water, hang around for the others and then ‘shall we go?’

Cue the ‘Grand Prix’ music (dum da da dumm da da da da dadummmm) and they are off…, out of the starting grid… I quickly realise nobody was hanging around or indeed bimbling, oh well time to dig in and get a steady rhythm going, they will all calm down soon.

Pull Pull Pull Pull, its a bit choppy the views were stunning but no-one was hanging around, out along the open water side for 1/2 mile we kept a steady pace,  I was chasing Lianne out in front, she’s stepped up a gear since she got a new super fast wetsuit, no stopping for the usual chat at the half way buoy, phew … keep going.
I made the turn at the half way point, the going was choppy into the waves but I found a great stride and my pull on the water improved, I streamed passed Pete, must catch Lianne, (dum da da dumm da da da da daaa dummmm).

Pull Pull Pull Pull Pull (dum da da dumm da da da da daaa dummmm), gaining ground on Lianne, she’s almost at the 2 orange buoys… she’s there… she stops and turns all smiles.

I swim up, all smiles, ‘that was nice’; we agree we really enjoyed that, but no-one is admitting we were racing. Ah-hem. ‘Yes lovely evening’ .

One of the fellas swims up, ‘this isn’t the end’ he says, ‘you’ve  got to swim to the pontoon, that’s the mile’
We try to ignore that, as we are quite happy with our times of sub 31 minutes, Thank you!
Time to play on the exit gantry and soak up the views. Simply stunning.

Lianne went on to do the 2 miles on the Friday afternoon and the mile again on the Saturday morning all in excellent time and style. Sponsor Lianne:

Definitely a Great North Swim.


Related Links:

Article: Beginners Guide to Open Water Swimming

Course: Introduction to Open water Swimming for Beginners