By Paul Chapman.
Along with this year’s lido road trips I decided to venture a little outside of my comfort zone and enter a few open water events.
The first of these was the Swim Rutland 2k held at Rutland Water on Sun 8th August.
The swim Rutland is an annual event and takes place from the back of the Harbour cafe at Whitwell close to the watersports centre on the northern shore. Participants can enter the 2k swim, 4k swim or 8k swim.
The 2k swim which I entered starts at Normanton and is a single crossing of the reservoir back to Whitwell with transport provided to the start by the Rutland Belle ferry boat.
To get the lay of the land I went to pre-register on Saturday night so I was good to go on Sunday morning without a lot of messing around on arrival.
This paid off and after an early start the next morning we got parked up in the best spot next to the Harbour cafe and by 6.15am I was in my wetsuit sitting on the top deck of the Rutland Belle waiting to depart on its first crossing.
Sadly the weather wasn’t our friend on the day, it was overcast at first, cold and very windy. By the time I disembarked at Normanton church I was absolutely freezing to the point of shivering and having not felt my best all week I was now standing there at the starting gate viewing the big waves with the far bank only a dot in the distance.
At this point, despite being able to do this distance comfortably in the lido, I did wonder how it was going to play out but the boat had left so unless I fancied a long walk in my wetsuit there was only one way back.
As expected the first bit was horrendous and I found myself frequently going off course because sighting wasn’t easy due to the wind and waves. Things were made worse by the compulsory safety tow buoy flapping around causing problems. I hate wearing those things at the best of times but in events such as these safety is paramount and at Rutland Water it was 100%. Spotters were patrolling the whole course at all times.
Things got a bit easier when I was swimming in the slightly calmer waters closer to the shore running parallel to the Hamerton Peninsula and the final part of the crossing, although exposed, didn’t seem so bad as the first.
Despite the difficulties I encountered, my crossing time was 49 mins 47 sec and as I write, although the list is still being updated, I sit at 75th out of 209 2k participants.
I’m going to attempt the 4k swim and a new tower swim they do there next year.