PUPILS from Taunton School Long Distance Swimming Club took to the cold water at Clevedon Marine Lake for their inaugural sea swim of the new season.
The ensemble were split into two groups, the initial foray of experienced Solent swimmers quick to rekindle their prowess in the open water efficiently completed their 3-4 laps in 30 minutes.
They were followed by a second group of novices from Years 7 to 9 who, despite initial nervousness on entering the sea, quickly proved their mettle completing over 30 minutes and exhausting ‘the old man of the sea’ Mr McCarthy as he challenged Sophia Wilson and Hetty James to a final dash to the steps.
Key to successful safe open water swimming is an effective safety organisation and for this swim the ever vigilant Mr Coleman, on escort kayak, was joined by Miss Mortimer as our beachmaster providing over watch for all pupils entering and exiting the sea lake.
The arrival of the clubs’ new tethered orange floatation aids facilitates yet another layer of safety for the club as they train ready for the St. Michaels Mount and English Channel challenges that lie ahead. These not only improve visibility of swimmers but also allow something to hold onto if participants feel the need to discuss stroke technique or the ‘chocolate hue’ of the sea in this particular area of the South West.
The new training venue is excellent for the club’s preparation as it facilitates a 500m circuit in a safe, shallow, walled Victorian sea pool where parents and pupils alike can watch and encourage the efforts of their team mates.
For this initial swim all participants wore wetsuits of a kind, less two sturdy masters leading from the back of the pack, who lacking modesty, braved the chilly waters in just their swimsuits one notably remarking afterwards that it was quite unlike anything he had previously experienced in South Africa. Luckily the waters of the Bristol Channel are notoriously murky and only their brightly coloured hats were on show, the rest thankfully covered by the Clevedon black water!