The summer solstice means only one thing – it’s time for the Henley Classic again!
This year I was competing in the Oxford vs. Cambridge alumni race again. The main wave starts at 4.30am. Now it is very lovely to swim when the sun is rising but 4.30am is very early so I made sure to check what time the alumni race would start. 5.45am, okay, that is more civilised. I had been invited to a house warming the night before so after just three and a half hours of sleep I dragged myself out of bed at 3.30 to drive down to Henley.
On arrival I registered and chatted to old friends from both Oxford and Cambridge, as well as some new faces who were joining the event. The format of the race is that there are four men and four women in both the varsity (current students) and alumni (old people) races. Varsity men start, followed by varsity women and alumni in the same order at two minute intervals.
It is quite eery swimming down the course without loads of other swimmers around. More so for me as my goggles had fogged up and I couldn’t see anything. Despite it only being 2.1km, the course seemed to go on forever but I remembered this year that the grandstand meant you were nearly home and put on a spurt. Well I tried to at least!
Overall I swam the course in 36 minutes, which I was quite disappointed with, but in retrospect maybe 3.5 hours’ sleep, a full on training schedule and a heavy week at work is not the best preparation.
The Cambridge Varity men and women both won their match ups. With the Oxford Men and Women coming out on top on the alumni races. Well done everyone who races. Until next year!
p.s. if any Oxford of Cambridge alums are keen to compete just let us know!