OVER the period May 4th-6th Taunton School Long Distance Swimming Club Year 7,8 & 9 pupils braved chilly waters to qualify for sea swimming training. This involved swimming one kilometre without rest in the Wiveliscombe outdoor pool where on the first day the heating had only been turned on for two days. Water temperatures, cooled further by a wind-chill, were seven degrees lower than our two indoor pools on the first day.
TSLDSC has two consecutive long distance challenges this summer swim season. The first will involve the whole team swimming the 2.5km around St Michaels Mount in aid of the Chestnut Charity (raising money to fight prostrate cancer) and the major event in September The Channel Titan relay race against the Royal Marines and a team of Staff drawn from the whole school.
During this first and subsequent training sessions pupils got to have a look at the swimming prowess of some of the staff team. On a warm Friday evening the Preparatory School Headmaster joined team members for his ‘mile qualification’ swim laying down the gauntlet by either miscounting his lengths, showing his age or simply showing off.
Emily Lawton was heard to say that she ‘was initially impressed’ but thinks, he like most of the staff, will need to ‘work on their endurance’ if they are to provide creditable opposition’; This, something she felt confidant enough to pass onto Mr Sinclair as she lapped him once again whilst he ‘posed’ for media opportunities.
The training focus shifts to Lyme Regis Bay now with regular training in wetsuits until the end of May or until sea temperatures warm sufficiently.
The next hurdle for The Channel swimmers is the two hour qualification non wetsuit swim required by the Channel Swimming & Pilot Federation which participants will complete before the end of term.
Weekly training sessions will continue throughout the Summer Holidays with a punishing schedule of up to two seas swims per day. Nothing great is easy, but an upside to open water swimming is that hot chocolates, cake and ice-cream will need to be consumed in large quantities to restore energy burned whilst sea swimming.