With a few marathons and triathlons under my belt, I decided this year to turn my skills to my new passion, open water swimming, the main event being the Thames Marathon swim challenge on 4th August, a 14km swim from Henley bridge to Marlow bridge.
My training to date has largely involved some early morning river swims with my #TeamMeglio colleague and triathlete Barry Keane, plus I also joined the Henley Open Water Swimming Club (HOWSC) and my new swim friends have welcomed me into their family and introduced me to lots of amazing places to swim along the Thames.
On Sunday 30th June I took part in the Selkie Henley Classic. This is a 2.1km upstream early morning swim which takes place annually the weekend before the Henley Royal Regatta, giving swimmers the chance to take on the exact course the rowers compete in.
With my alarm set for 3am, I crept out of the house and soon found myself arriving at the Henley Event village with the first wave being led down the tow path by torch light to the start line. My start wave followed and after a short safety briefing we plunged into the water, which was remarkably warm following the recent sunshine.
The klaxon sounded and after jostling amongst the swimmers for a clear race line I settled into my stroke. It was a magical swim and I enjoyed the challenge of swimming upstream along one of the most famous stretches of water.
At the finish line I was greeted with a medal, a cup of hot chocolate and reunited with my flip flops for the stroll back to the event village. Nicely organised event, great atmosphere and definitely one to consider for the 2020 calendar!