On Sunday 7 June 2015 Team Mermaids and friends went on an outing to the Jubilee River swim put on by My Sporting Times. This beautiful event is a 10km downstream swim ending up at the Thames Valley Athletic Centre in Eton. Well I say it is 10k but really it is c.9.5km of swimming with about 500m of walking/running/hobbling over the weirs as body surfing down the weirs is not allowed. There goes the good GO-PRO footage.
The day started at the Thames Valley Athletic Centre (swim finish as well) from where we got buses to the start of the swim near Taplow. The swim started off in waves. The yellow (social) wave went off at 9.30, pink at 10am and finally the purple wave at 10.30. I (Katie) must have been being very conservative in my estimate of how long the swim would take me as I was in the pink wave much to Manda’s annoyance as this meant we needed to arrive an hour earlier aka an hour less in bed! On the plus side for me I meant that I was out near the front of my wave so got to swim unimpeded for most of the race giving me plenty of time to enjoy the scenery.
The starting swim was 1.9km down to the first weir. This was a good warm-up for the second stretch which is the longest at 3.5km. The weather was beautiful and with the lovely scenery to look at it felt like the swims were going by quickly. The third part was 2.6k before the final stretch of 1.5km. I’m glad that after the ‘warm up’ the length of each swim decreased in distance as this made each stretch mentally easier to complete. The finish came as somewhat of a surprise as I thought I had a while left to go and it wasn’t until I was about 30m away that I realised I was at the end.
There was a pretty helpful current which made you feel like you were zipping a long and made for some good times! Manda and Brian swam together and finished in a time of 2.17. Manda was second female – well done Manda! I finished in 2.37 which I was pleased with given my general levels of fitness and training. Special shout out to uncle Davy who competed the course in the super fast time of 2.09 to finish 5th…although we had to tell him off at the end as he had swum all bar 50m of it on someone’s (Steve Mott) toes and then sprinted past them at the end. Not cricket!
Overall a lovely course for a little paddle, a well organised event and the sunshine was the icing on the cake (which we ate plenty of afterwards)!
Cost: The race cost £75 (£100 if you want to split and do as a relay). It comparison to other UK end to end 10ks this is reasonable and if you are going to “invest” in one 10k.. this is the one to do.
Organisation: Generally well organised although the trip on the bus to the start seemed to take a while which was a bit frustrating.
Challenge: The end to end nature of this swim and descending sections make for an easier mental challenge than if you were looping around a lake. 10k is a challenge but with the gentle current dragging you along it is a great swim for a 10k first timer.