One of my biggest fears in life is the sea. So, after what was a pretty abysmal year I decided to set myself a challenge, ‘The Polar Bear Challenge’. This particular challenge has different entry levels and what with it being my first open water event, I went straight in at ‘Silver’.
The challenge runs from 1st November to the 31st March, and the aim of this particular entry level is to complete two swims of 250m every month; outdoors in the open water.
During the month of November I was able to complete several swims at my local lido, the temperate ranged between 12-14.7 degrees. Due to the nature of the challenge I am only permitted to swim in skins, one latex swim hat and a pair of goggles. The initial cold water shock was, well, quite a shock! Two or three swims in and I'd become addicted, I’d easily completed a total distance of 4km.
December looked slightly different as The Arundel Lido was no longer open for cold water swims and I had no choice but to face my fear and plunge into the sea. I made every excuse under the sun as to why I couldn’t complete the swims, but with the help of my lovely swimming friends, I bit the bullet and faced my fear. The sea temperature was a cool 8.3 degrees and I managed to complete both swims in two consecutive days, one with our local seal, Gavin! That’s certainly an experience I shan’t forget. The most difficult part is to get to full submersion, especially on a low tide with an air temperate of 1 degree, certainly not an experience I'd skip back to!
And now we’re in the month of January and I’ve completed one swim of 256m in 7.3 degrees and I plan to complete my second this coming weekend. My most favourite part of this challenge (so far) is the huge sense of achievement, especially as a first time cold water swimmer.
It’s also massively sociable and attracts quite the audience as you’re fighting your way of out the sea looking like a lobster! It’s also the perfect excuse to drink an entire flask of hot chocolate without feeling the guilt!
Laura - Swimathon Ambassador