Achievement Unlocked: Swim a mile in an open water competition

by Andy on June 21, 2011

andy in a wetsuit, sexyyyyy!

I don’t know how interested in my life you guys are, but as I mentioned it on Sunday I thought I would follow up with the results from my Great North Swim (which is unusual for me!).

I was pretty nervous before the swim because I don’t really compete in anything, and especially not if it’s a sport. Over the course of the weekend one man died and another remains in a serious condition in hospital after attempting the swim so it is clearly a serious undertaking (there was a lot of safety precautions taken, kayaks everywhere, helicopters, but sometimes bad things happen) but I knew I was well prepared as I had been in the lake since early April doing well over a mile, but all those times I was either on my own (with a supervisor on shore) or with my girlfriend, so it was never competitive. When I entered the water with the 200 other people in my race I honestly thought I’d be sick, adrenaline does strange things to a person! I think I went off too quickly and my arms felt a bit tired by the quarter mile mark which meant I was having to focus on them and manage them from a lot earlier than I had hoped. Despite that I did seem to still be overtaking and passing quite a lot of people and was able to get some space and swim my own race rather than be stuck in the scrum of people kicking each other (that said, I did elbow a woman in the face near the end, sorry pink goggled lady!).

I managed to have a bit of energy left in the tank for the last couple of hundred metres when I was in front of the crowds, though I did lose a bit of time when I reached the exit ramp which was made of plastic that didn’t like my swimming socks, I had to haul myself out on my (now bruised knees). Finishing time was 40:53, slightly outside of my target of 40 minutes but still a good attempt for a first timer, which placed me 3168th our of 12579 swimmers. I had excellent support from family & friends, and I was one of two people with a banner (the announcer even gave HYA a shout out, “what’s Hide Your Arms?”), and also one of two people I saw that was crazy enough to wear a short sleeved wetsuit.

I’ll be back next year for sure, I know I can do better and I look forward to trying. Any HYA readers like getting out in the open water for a swim?

  • Ron

    Congratulations!! I’m a good athlete but a very weak swimmer. I would have needed the help and probably the helicopter. Once again great job!!

  • Tahir

    Congratulations and Good job Andy. Swimming is such a difficult sport and to do it outdoors in a race must be even more difficult. I consider myself quite sporty and do not know if I would even me able finish.

    Love the banner as well!!!

  • Andy

    It’s probably easy for me to say after a lot of practise, but I think a lot more people could do it than you expect. I didn’t start doing front crawl as my main stroke until April and managed to get proficient quite quickly (I recommend a book called Total Immersion if you’re interested), when you’re doing it right you feel like you could swim forever and you’ll actually enjoy it.

  • Ron

    Hi Andy,

    Thank you for the great tip and advice. I just read a blog on total immersion and watched a video with Terry Laughlin and realize I do everything wrong and that is why I don’t like swimming and it seems so hard for me. Thanks again for the tip, I’m going to get the book.


  • Tahir

    Thanks for the tip Andy I will take a look at your suggestion.

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