North Sea Swimming Lessons

Black Dot Drowning

Lesson No 1: Scrap any plans for cross channel swimming attempts.

Swimming in the sea is tough. It started well, the wetsuit protected me from the staggering chill but the moment I put my face in the water I ingested enough salt to raise my blood pressure to alarming levels. I quickly raised my head and adopted the side to side waggle that gets me nowhere very fast.

(I do appear in this photo – search for the black dot)

Lesson No 2: I do not require any additional buoyancy in my backside.

What with the head wiggle and the 3mm rubber padding I felt like I was trying to swim in the yoga bow position. I couldn’t seem to keep my legs in the water and am seriously considering cutting the buttocks out of my wetsuit and turning it in to a fancy set of chaps.

Lesson No 3: Waves are for surfer dudes.

I bobbed up and down fairly happily until I started seeing the incoming waves breaking on their way towards me.

Then the panic started.

I went out twice over the weekend, trying out different areas of the beach in search of calm deep water but only managed a cumulative distance of 1.5km.

I need to get myself in the pool next week and start training, I also need to get over my reluctance to put my head in open water but I’m not sure how to practice that without sticking my face in puddles.

9 thoughts on “North Sea Swimming Lessons

  1. Pingback: Earthwoman

  2. Emma

    I am terrible at swimming… could only manage from the edge of the pool to the middle of the pool (ie the pool bar) when I was on holiday, then I needed some light refreshment (read alcohol) to rejuvenate me. And I hate getting my hair wet because It goes all curly and frizzy.

    Whereabouts on the coast were you?

  3. Adele

    Could you try practicing somewhere like the ponds at Hampstead Heath or the Serpentine? Calm water…

  4. Speed Racer

    Was there actually any SWIMMING involved in this dip, or did you just bob like a cork for 1,500 meters?

  5. warriorwoman Post author

    Bobbing like a cork did of course form quite a large part of this weekends activities, that’s the amazing thing about wetsuits – you can just float.

    Emma – if there had been a midpoint bar I would have lingered for some considerable time but they haven’t grasped the concept of early morning drinking in the bay of Bridlington.

    Adele – good suggestions. I’ve been to the women’s pond but I don’ t think they allow wetsuits and it’s feels odd to swim properly amongst the ducks. The Serpentine is a definite option though.

  6. Karen

    Try Heron Lake and/ or Liquid Leisure too…. good places for OW swimming. Tips on getting used to the temp;
    Go in slowly, start only with your legs
    Dip hands in and get them chilly too…. do this for a min or two
    Splash some water over your face
    Take the plunge but flip and float on your back for a bit and get some water into the suit (nice cold rush that one)…
    Flip back over and put your face in
    Start to swim….

    Works for me – did Heron Lake end of April when it was about 12 degrees… brrrr


  7. Adele

    I have that lovely ‘Wild Swim’ book and I think it mentions that they now have wetsuit sessions on the Heath, maybe worth a look so you have a few options.

  8. Runner Leana

    Chap style wetsuits, what an interesting concept! I have no open water experience so therefore no advice, but best of luck!

  9. WildWill


    You dont know me but i see you are doning the great north swim … me to … i hope you are liiking forward to it as much as i am.

    Im also doing the great north run that you have on your list (but only as a pacer for my wife and he mate


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