Swimathon 2019 – the one that nearly didn’t happen

After an eight year streak of Team Mermaids participation in the Swimathon (including a one day triple in 2017 before this was even a thing) where neither being pregnant nor having recently had a baby stopped us, Swimathon 2019 nearly didn’t happen due to a child care hiccup.  My (Katie) husband was away skiing for the weekend of the Swimathon and it turns out getting childcare on Mother’s Day is not easy!  After many pleading text messages I finally found someone to come and look after the children and we were off to our new favourite pool, Wimbledon Leisure Centre, late on Sunday afternoon for the 5km challenge. 

Another barrier to us completing the event this year was a distinct lack of training.  Since Windermere last year and going back to work I have often only been able to go training once a week and Manda has been battling an on-going shoulder issue which has impacted her training.  It is funny how quickly you go from easily knocking out 5, 6, 7, 8+ km training sessions to feeling like finishing 5km is quite a daunting task.  Luckily the weekend before we had been on Brian’s #swimstag to Mallorca and had managed 5km sessions on each of the 3 days, which made us a feel a little more confident. 

Now the only downside of doing the event at Wimbledon Leisure Centre is that the pool is 33 1/3 yards long so there was some debate about how many lengths 5km translated into.  33 1/3 yards translates into just under 30.5m which gives 164 lengths.  However, it you round down to the nearest metre per length of 30m that gives you a total of 167 lengths.  Obviously they made us swim 167 lengths! 

There were four people in our lane.  They said we could start in any order so, after they had already started the clock, I politely turned to the other man in the lane and asked how fast he thought he would be.  He replied ‘I don’t know, maybe about 1h 30’.  I was just about to respond ‘we are aiming for a bit faster than that so maybe we should go first’ when he jumped in and pushed off!   We followed behind and soon overtook him but we weren’t feeling so smug when his 12 year old son cruised past us moments later.  Luckily for us 12 year olds don’t have the pacing wisdom which comes from having been swimming for nearly 3 times as long as he has been alive and we over took him again a few hundred metres later.  I am not sure how we would have been ever able to go to Friday morning training again if we had been beaten by a 12 year old. 

After all the start shenanigans we settled into a steady pace and as suspected, it turns out that 5km is quite tiring when you have done hardly any training.  We finally finished in 1h 20m and 15s.  Given the 3 extra lengths they made us swim however we are chalking this up as 1h 19m or less. 

This so happens to be the same speed as my 12 year old self-managed to complete the Swimathon in in 1993!  A trip down memory lane below with photos of Swimathon finishing certificates over the ages. 

 Until 2020 people (well fingers crossed)!

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