Swim Serpentine 2019

Last Saturday we made the shortest journey we’ve done all race season, to Hyde Park for this year’s Swim Serpentine.

Swim Serpentine is an annual event put on by the team behind London marathon and Ride 100, which takes place, unsurprisingly, in the Serpentine in central London. You can do a half mile, 1 mile or 2 mile swim throughout the day. People who have completed the London Marathon, Ride 100 and the 2 mile swim are eligible for a London Classics medal, which is pretty huge!

Last year’s event was great but the weather was a little damp! This year the day of the swim dawned bright and sunny so everyone arriving had a spring in their step.

We arrived an hour before our swim and spent the hour before getting ready whilst saying hello to various people we knew.

Bang on 9am we started. This year, after last year’s victory in the women’s only wave, we made sure we were at the front of the start pen so we could at least position ourselves in the front pack.

The first 100m we led the way with another lady. At one point, at about 200m, Katie was on my (Manda) left and was pushing me wider than I thought we needed to go but there was a HUGE gathering of swans. Now I’m no fan of swans so I was totally on board with swinging wide to avoid them. No sooner had we passed them that the swimmers behind us must have rattled them as they flew past us with one tapping me! No time to freak out.. time to power on.

However, after about another 200m my chip came loose. When we were getting ready I was very casual about what we were told about where to put the timing chip and I regretted that as soon as I felt it about to fall off my toes… I clamped it with my toes and tried to restrap on. By this point the lady in third had overtaken me and Katie was a good 5ms ahead. I put in a sprint to get past the lady and catch Katie. By the time I got to her we were at the first set of turning buoys so I sat on her toes to navigate around them. Coming out of the buoys I put in a kick to get to her side and the chip came loose again. Restrap… kick to catch Katie.. chip came loose. Restrapping wasn’t working so at this point I shoved it down my wetsuit. Lesson learnt! Katie was long gone after this debacle but the gap didn’t grow. By the time we got around the turn at the other end of the lake I made up most of the gap on Katie.

A lot quicker than I anticipated (should really check course with more detail) the finish shoot appeared and I started to push on towards the finish. Katie then stopped and therefore, so did I. She was confused about where to go. Instead of replying I just swam on knowing she’d follow.

Therefore, despite all of the above we ended up crossing the line together… where I had to pull my chip out of my wetsuit and drag alone the floor. So much glamour!

Despite a what you might call and up and down season we finished faster than last year in 24 minutes 55 seconds. A nice way to end the season.

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