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So – endurance swimming. Specifically, Channel swimming. As some of you know, I am, at some time in the not too distant future, going to swim in a Channel relay team. This is a team of a number of people, usually five or six, although it can be as few as two, who swim the Channel as a relay. Basically, you set an order when you start off and each swimmer goes in and swims an hour in turn until you reach the other side. And you do it under the Channel rules, one ordinary swimsuit, one hat, no other aids to buoyancy or warmth allowed. Definitely no wetsuits. And before you do the swim, in order to check that you have the requisite ability, you have to swim a qualifier – a two hour swim in water of sixteen degrees or below, without a wetsuit.

I was, very flatteringly, asked by a couple of chums to take part in their team because the original organiser couldn’t swim. Very annoyingly for him he had a jaw operation in April and was unable to practice for months, and thus had lost all his swim fitness. My friends assured me I could do it – the only requirement was the qualifier. Because of work and other commitments, and given the date of the relay, the only realistic date I could do it was a weekend when I was already committed to swimming the Brownsea Island challenge – a 6.5K swim round Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, which I was planning to do in a wetsuit. Looking at sea temperatures, Poole Harbour was 15.6°, so if I could do Brownsea skins, ie without a wetsuit, I would qualify. Gulp.

To be honest, I really wasn’t sure, but I pinged off a Facebook message to Mark Shakles, the Brownsea organiser, apologising for the late notice, explaining the circumstances, and asking him if it would be possible to change categories. I expected him to come back saying either no, you can’t (secret Phew!), or yes, you can, do you want me to change you over?, at which point I could make a decision. Instead, bless him, he came straight back saying “Normally we wouldn’t, but under the circumstances yes, fine, I’ve done that for you.”  Double gulp!!!, since after he had been so helpful I could hardly go back saying, actually, you know what, I’ve changed my mind. I was committed to do Brownsea skins.To quote Lolcats, Ermahgerd!!!

More tomorrow. Or soon.