I can hardly believe that I am typing this – Team Mermaids is a whole 10 years old!
We first met at a late night Swim For Tri session back in 2009. We had been swimming together for several weeks and chatting in the changing rooms afterwards (mainly complaining about alpha males trying to keep up – somethings never change) when Dan sent out an e-mail to everyone in the session. CSI Read sourced my e-mail address from that and sent me a message asking if I wanted to go for a swim on the weekend sometimes.
And the rest as they say is history! Over the last 10 years we been on many adventures, swum literally thousands of kilometres side by side, sat next to each other at countless yoga / Pilates classes and shuffled through a good handful of parkruns together. Things have changed a lot over the last 10 years – there are three mini mermen in our lives now – which has meant we don’t have all the time in the world to train / race but swimming and swimming together is one of the things that make us happy in life so to use the words of Tim Gunn “we made it work”.
So here are some of our highlights from the last 10 years:
No 5. Mermaids in Manhattan
Our swim around Manhattan Island in 2012 with Kate and Suz was our first ‘big’ swimming challenge and despite a sighting of the Long Island Monster just a few days before we had a fantastic time. Swimming, cake and New York what more do you need in life?
No 4 – The Friday Morning Gang
Friday morning training originally started with Manda and Pivo going for a paddle followed by some pastries. We now hire our own lane at Ironmonger Row Baths and our swims there are followed by breakfast with Euro David at Look Mum No Hands. This is the highlight of my week. We adore all of the Friday morning gang (even Dan) and thank you so much for putting up with all our crazy sets over the years.
No 3 – The Lake District
We had never been to the Lake District before our two way relay of Windermere in 2014 but can you even be an open water swimmer without loving the Lake District? Since then we have been back many times with David and Brian at our sides. The Lakes has been a source of a number of triumphs and some disappointments. The weather has not always been on our side but we have loved every minute (well not every minute of that Buttermere swim) of our time there.
No 2 – Lake Zurich
Our racing highlight remains and probably will always remain our swim in Lake Zurich in 2013 where we won the relay category. We trained so hard for this race and the beautiful location made winning even more perfect.
No 1 – Tooting Bec Lido
And finally the star of the show has to be Tooting Bec Lido, the 100 yard by 33.3 yard absolute gem in the middle of SW17/16 and practically our second home. The lido has given us so much over the last ten years from 6am club training sessions over the summer, to grafting through long training sessions to lengths of head up breaststroke when it gets to less than 10 degrees. The lido has also been the back drop of many a themed photoshoot over the years! We free really grateful to have the lido on the door step and to be part of the fantastic community of swimmers who swim there.
It was Colin Hill who suggested we start our blog back when we were doing our two way Windermere relay to share our experiences and adventures and we are grateful for the suggestion. Through this and our Instagram account we have met some many other swimmers and we have loved hearing your stories too.
People often ask us why we swim and the answer to that is for many reasons – for fitness, for mental health, for the time away from everything else, to achieve something different but mostly it is for the friends. We have met so many amazing, amazing swimmers over the last 10 years who have made such a difference to our lives – so thank you to everyone for being part of our journey. It doesn’t matter if you are slow or fast, swim 2 lengths or 100, wear a wetsuit or swim skins you all just get in and swim!
So we are excited to see what the next 10 years holds for Team Mermaids. Lake Geneva anyone?