Monthly Archives: April 2015

Fritton Lake and the New Season!

Fritton night swim

Very excited that the new Open Water season starts at Fritton Lake next week – full details here, the picture above is how I left it at the end of the season – I can’t wait to get back, I’ve already registered and raring to go!  As a little warm up I used the ‘first night nerves’ element as the start point for a writing exercise at our group today.  We had been asked to write a piece which didn’t use the eyes……

A squelch of air against skin damp with sweat, the result of much huffing and exhausted gasping.  

‘If the aim is to burn calories, we’ll be stick thin before we hit the water.’

The final grinding noise as zips are tugged into place and a series of snaps as neoprene cuffs are flipped into their final resting places. A round of giggles, a scraping of plastic boxes dragged off benches and the team are ready to hit the water.  The air is warm.  Smells of freshly mown grass mingle with coffee and hot chocolate being drunk by family, friends and supporters who mutter  depreciating words of support.

‘You’re clearly mad.’  

‘Mind the pike don’t get you.’

‘Have you signed that life policy yet?’

This is it.  The first training session of the new open water swimming season and a group of novice swimmers are about to be inducted into the pleasure of immersion in water at 25 degrees below their core.  Noradrenalin and adrenalin are released into the bloodstream, heart rate and blood pressure increase; head, sinuses and chest pound, like an old convict banging on a church door for sanctuary.  An overwhelming urge to pee brings temporary relief, as the wetsuit is warmed from the inside.  Then a realisation that the effect is short-lived.  The pee chills and the body starts to retain fluid, swelling and stiffening, becoming less responsive.  Add to that the induced insulin impairment of the stress resulting in an inability to mobilise glucose in the bloodstream effectively … The good news is, they can train and reduce the effects, dip and repeat, twice a week and before they know it the screams of fear and pain will be whoops of delight.

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