As the day wore on and darkness fell, I thought about how to manage the long hours ahead. I had swum at 7 pm, and had swims at 11pm, 3am and then my last swim at 7am. Theoretically, I could have gone to bed after the 11pm swim, but then I’d have had to get up in the deep dark middle of the night, and I just couldn’t face it. I knew I’d feel grim, and the thought of having not only to wake up and get up, but to swim a mile in the cold…. No. I decided to stay awake until after the three am swim and then go to bed for a couple of hours. That would mean I’d be waking up at around 6, when I normally get up anyway, and I would only have my last swim to go, which would make things much easier psychologically. That was the plan.
So as the sun set and it got darker and colder, that’s what I did. Mandy had arrived to swim some legs for Richard’s relay team, and cheered me up no end; we discovered we had matching swimming costumes and that we were both swimming together at 3am, so we decided to wear our matching suits for it. I put aside my favourite suit, with a lion on the front, for the last swim. And then, the 11pm swim out of the way, I settled down to get through the next four hours as best I could.