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Saturday, 30 January 2010

A sprinkle of snow

What a glorious day! Not quite sure how many days we haven't been blessed with the sun... but one thing is for sure : it's was far too long! Also I'm sure if it hadn't been for the sun I would not have attempted to swim one length in 1.6 Celsius :) It was amazing and plenty!

The early hours of this morning brought us a sprinkle of snow and with the sun being out, sitting around the pool one could even bask in the sun, clutching a hot drink, mind you, as the air temperature was still rather chilly!

Richard dunking a biscuit before his dunk ... I mean dip :)

"Unleashed": Egg, Lucy, Margy, Olivia, Stuart, Richard and Sophie

Lucy doing more than just a dip

Sarah contemplating her next move (which was getting in the pool!)

Peter had a go too ... not for long though :)

Pip swam a length with a little help (of gloves)

Friday, 29 January 2010


Today saw the arrival of a, some what different, SLSC member. It was a little 4 legged very lively creature called Molly :)

Molly parading past the cubicles ...

... Toying with the idea of possibly taking a plunge?

but opting against it!

Well, with the water temperature still only at 2.7 Celsius ... who would hold it against the newcomer :)
But, who knows, with daily training she could eventually get there...

Speaking of which, I'm proud :) to announce that I have managed to swim two lengths today! and you know what, it wasn't as hard as I had imagined ... don't get me wrong, the last third of lap two was getting a touch painful :). What I have proven to myself yet again though, is, that setting oneself challenges is firstly well worth it and secondly how so much depends on ones mental approach to the challenge.

Today, I really came to the pool with my mind set on swimming two lengths. Admittedly, when Vince announced that he was "only" going to swim one length and maybe a width, depending on how he felt, I had a nano second of thinking "well, maybe it's still too cold to do two". Luckily, this thought didn't last long at all. I remembered immediately that I had come with the intention of swimming two lengths and I was going to stick to it!
So yes, I did and - I may have mentioned that earlier ) - I did feel very good about accomplishing my challenge! Winning over what happens "upstairs" (in ones mind) is definitely the best win! I'm aware that this was only a small achievement but, hey , small steps are sure to lead to bigger things!

Of course the likes of Sue and Chris swam not only two lengths but did a whole circuit of the pool (2 widths and 2 lengths)!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

On a high

Ann back from competing in Bled and still on hight! To right too as she came back with the gold medal in her category - (age group 60-65 breaststroke) "Bled was amazing and it was great to win a gold medal, specially as it was the first gold of many we (SLSC members) won - and I was really celebrated!"

Another day, another country another pool and Hilary is ready to go ...

.. and stretching out across the pool

The ice had melted (since yesterday), the temperature was at 2 celsius and I was back on one length - itching to find out if I can truly swim 2 lengths ... tomorrow?!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010


This morning the shallow end of the pool was bearing an ever so slight and thin layer of ice which disrupted most people's swimming routines - swimming lengths was out and creative swimming was the name of the game - starting by swimming a width followed by keeping to the edge of the following three sides of the pool was an option the die hards like Vince, Sue and Chris opted for ... Fazlar clocked up a few widths ... Margy and I stuck to two widths... mind you I did (at least) dive in which none of the others did ... :)

Fazlar's contemplating his swimming options while performing his usual exercise routine before getting in ...

... and Fazlar in full action

Michael's routine starts with a hot drink

Mystery man's coat... he too was well into his usual skipping routine before ...

... cooling down to complete his routine - "Mr Egg" ran and jumped so fast that the camera couldn't quite keep up with him .. hence it's all a bit blurred :)

Vince on the lookout for a new route avoiding the ice and yet keeping up the distance - perfect solution a because one could leave ones flip flops in the same spot too!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

New venture

Amazing what one discovers by venturing into the ladies showers...

... The Three (Lido) Graces

While outside ... Nick (oblivious to it all) is getting ready for his swim -

Edged on by Jonathan, Nick decided to do a length ...

...he must have one of the longest if not THE longest reach :)

Monday, 25 January 2010

Up to three

Another day to say hello to familiar faces - Betty and Bruno arriving this morning ...

The water temperature is up again .. it read a whole 3 celsius! Chris and Sue are up a length too and swam three - I was happy to be back at swimming one - I might have been able to feel comfortable enough to do two ... however I started up the deep end and was quite happy to be getting out and straight into the sauna! It's so funny how the brain works though .. because I'm sure had I started from the shallow end up to the deep end, I would have had the courage stamina, energy and "grit" to swim back and would have clocked up two lengths ... well, tomorrow is another day .. so let's see ...!

Margy was back from Bled and reported on the great success SLSC members had had in Slovenia. I'm waiting to see the medals being paraded!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Early bird in action

Yes, quite right Doreen, it's about time you looked at the blog! Wendy is helping Doreen write down the blog address. Let's see if she gets on later today ... and, (blog) spots herself!

Wendy sipping on her well deserved hot chocolate and sharing a joke with Doreen

And for all those who haven't figured out who the owner of the cap and goggles (pictures yesterday) is, I'll give you another "shot" at it :)

Guess who?

Swimming Saturdays is always fun because I get to see SLSC members I don't usually bump into during week days. Either they swim (too) early (for me!) or they can actually only make it to the pool on weekends...

Seeing that seasoned (early bird) Tooting Bec Lido swimmer Veronique hasn't featured on the blog (yet), she overdue some publicity!


... during her swim

and after!

Good to see Dr Andy again too!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Matching the evidence

I'm getting quite good at guessing who may be in the sauna simply by looking at the clues left outside the sauna door :) can anybody else match the evidence to the person?!

I felt a bit heady this morning ... however, not wanting to stay away from the pool altogether and opted to try something "new", one width head up breaststroke :) and still in the water, running a widths back (to my flip flops!) - it felt "strange" ... but hey, it got me in the water and I felt I was being sensible! Besides, running in the water was harder than I thought! It's good exercise - although, if the truth be known, I still prefer front crawl!

Or, I could have tried a cool Tai-chi workout with Jonathan!

Vince standing tall after his two lengths -

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Catch up

This morning, I cycled to the Lido as fast as my little legs could get me there ... I wanted to be there around 7.50am to catch Gail and Wendy before they left the Lido to go to work ... well, you see, I have been carrying "Wild Swimming" around in my rucksack since saturday (the first day I was hoping to catch them but missed them by a fraction). Gail kindly lent me the book. I took one look at it and was on to Amazon in flash to order my own copy:) - It is a lovely book and well worth owning, specially if one intends to explore rivers, lakes and waterfalls in Britain! I certainly do and really look forward to working my way through the book's enchanting locations! The author Daniel Start has also written a book on Costal swims (Wild Swimming - Coasts) which I have now lent Gail and Wendy -my guess is that between us we'll have all the waterholes of Britain covered!
In the meantime, the focus is on our very own Lido right here in Tooting and on how many lengths SLSC cold water swimmers can muster! For Vince it's an easy choice, "The water measures two Celsius, I'll swim two lengths!"

well it's not quite the same for me .. I'm afraid ... although I'd like to up my PB again :) it wasn't going to happen today :) I had a hint of a cold creeping up on me yesterday and i was still there this morning so I stuck to one length! Good choice cause as I'm writing this, my nose is no longer swimming but running! Besides the water did feel cold today! But I will up my PB again .. watch that space!

Remember Albert? - he was amazed at anybody swimming a length ... he's definitely on widths!

The other benefit of arriving at the pool before 8am was that I also bumped into early birds Albert and Gisela who have been coming for their daily swim for years and years and years!

I also got to see and chat with Carol who I haven't seen for a while

and Simon was getting in for the second time (after his warm up in the sauna)

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Game or no game

Jonathan and Nick having fun and feeling brave! Come on boys, others are swimming :)

Batch swam two lengths and is full of beans after the sauna!
Ok, (maybe?!) it's time to up my game (or no game) too ... I feel two lengths coming on tomorrow :) today I stuck by just the one length!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

All smiles

This morning , Margy showed off the self designed and self made outfit she will be wearing during the Cold Water Championships in Bleb this coming weekend. She has been given the great honour to represent SLSC and GB at the opening ceremony of the Cold Water Championships!

Margy all smiles on her "wet run", testing the outfit!

Further, you will be happy to know that the pool was truly clear of ice and the water temperature up by a fraction!
When I arrived, the first thing (lifeguards) Bob and Sarah said to me bearing a big smile was : "no diving in the shallow end today:)!"
"Of course not :)", I replied
And Sarah continued, "Swimming a length again today?"
"Of course , I can't go back on what I have done yesterday, can I :)!"

I adopted the same (shoe) routine as yesterday, jumped in feet first and pushed off. I even felt myself relaxing into each stroke which felt really good. My feeling got a bit dampened however, when Batch, catching up with me in sauna, told me that I'm "doing something funny with my right arm!" -
"Oh no, still", was my first reaction because I had been told that in the past ... and thought I had ironed it out over the summer thanx to Margy's help ... oh well... it must have crept back in :) And Batch, continued , "don't worry, I do funny things under water with my arms. The best thing is to get filmed so that one can actually see what's going on."

Great idea. I'd love to film others and get filmed too. I think that's what we'll do once the water gets warmer. But it must happen before the pool opens to the general public again as photography and filming is not allowed during those months.
Meanwhile, I'll just have to relax more, glide longer between strokes and remember Margy's advise of counting strokes - in cold water? maybe not just yet :)

But hey, all in good time. At the moment it's all about enjoying the thrills of getting into (bloody) cold water and getting high on it!

Sophie and Ian (clearly on a high!) after their swim and sauna

Margy (possibly on a high too?!) in the self made outfit she will be wearing at the Championships in Bled

Monday, 18 January 2010

All is well

What a moment! or maybe I was just a touch naive ...
Vince and I arrived at the Lido at the same time - he told me how lovely his sunday swim was:
" I actually felt the sun on my back!"
"I was stuck in doors, fixing tiles, grouting and applying silicon in one of my bathrooms - great fun too ..."
Anyway, as we walked down the side of the pool I thought I can do that, I'll swim a length to today ... and so I did - I never looked at the shallow end - even had my shoes/flip flop strategy to a T ! flip flops down the end for when I get out - I walked up in my shoes to the deep end and left them there. I would retrieve them once I'm dressed again on the way home - that'll work!

At the deep end, I jumped in (feet first) touched the bottom of the pool came up for air and pushed off - it felt fantastic! Surprisingly, I made it to the other end of the pool in good shape - hands were not too cold and the rest of my body felt really good! But make no mistake I was happy to get in the sauna (with an ever so slight feeling of pride :) - it was yet another personal best!)

Funnily enough I only fully realised what I had done when after the sauna, without really looking, I dived in the shallow end (closest to the sauna) to swim a width... I dived in and as I was coming to the surface I saw quite a bit of ice to the left of me ... it was hard to believe .. ice! how is that possible? the air temperature was above zero (in fact yesterday the air was even as high as 8 celsius). I was quite shocked ... because I had been careless - admittedly the ice was ever so thin and hard to see - but ice it was.

What's even "funnier" is that as I was getting ready to leave the sauna (ear plugs in and hats on) I faintly heard a voice saying something like "mind the ice" - Anyway, I think that's what was said ... :) but I was on a mission, to cool down and swim across, so it didn't register .. until much later, that is!

oh well ... all is well that ends well!

When I walked up to the deep end I spoke to Sarah and Bob about my stunt ... Bob's first reaction was:
" you shouldn't have dived in the shallow end anyway :) - if Brian see's you do that he'd have words!"

Oups ... it is right though I suppose, because diving in the shallow end could potentially be dangerous...

Anyway, I'm glad to report that I have taken my little incident to heart. From now on I wont assume that there is no ice just because the air feels warmer than during the really cold spell we've had. I will also fully examine where I'm getting in and where to (safely) swim! specially as according to the weather forecast we are expecting colder days from wednesday on!

By the way I did check the water temperature at the deep end when I left the pool - it showed 1 Celsius .. and it's true that the shallow end is usually colder - so my guess is that it must have been around 0!
"Safe Eddy" swimming head up breaststroke

Margy's freedom plunge after the sauna

Saturday, 16 January 2010

In the plus

On a very rainy and windy day, the snow is all gone and the water temperature is (just) in the plus ... reading +1 celsius and feeling positively warm!

This may sound funny but as a regular swimmer, and all regulars will back me on that, one can truly feel ( and welcome) every slight increase in the water temperature. It is amazing how finely tuned our bodies are and probably even more amazing how well they cope in these (rather) extreme conditions :)
The result : a lot of the regular swimmers are upping their game again. Some still keeping at swimming widths but 4 or even 6 at a time! Some even swimming lengths. I opted for 2 x 2! and then one (with sauna intervals that is!)

Nicky on her length

Sangeeta feeling great after her swim