Monday, 26 September 2011

From your Cumbrian Correspondent!

I thought it was about time I attempted to add to the team Blog, although I am starting to rapidly lose my grip on technology I have to confess this is my first ever Blog. I'm also struggling to find a suitable picture of myself in a swim cossie in the first instance that I would be happy to be published in such a public domain! So a "holiday" snap from a visit to my brother in Sydney in 2007, me and Hamish taking note of the open water swimming warning before I was due to race...........

My connection with the team, the Leybourne Lovelies Swimming Team, is through lifelong friend Paula TR with whom I swam with for 1000s upon 1000s of  miles up and down various 25m pools from about the age of 8  through to 18 when I managed to escape from Kent! In the 1980s and early 90s (and yes I'm starting to feel old) We were both members of Gravesend and then later Dartford & District Swimming Clubs. It was at Dartford, coached by open water swimmer and triathlete Melanie Evans, that Paula and I and a few hardy others were encouraged in all sorts of open water swimming events. Paula and I loved it, and the worse the sea conditions were the more we got excited about it! Paula, always my hero, went onto swim a solo Channel and then a year later was the 2nd lady ever to be successful in doing a 2 way solo crossing of the Channel.

Roll on 20+ years (husbands [just 1 each! and 5  children between us], Paula and I have still  failed to get swimming "out of our system" & when the Leybourne Lovelies were needing a swimmer for their Channel relay in 2010 I was only too pleased to join the team. Having harped on about getting on and doing the solo Channel myself for 20+ years this was getting me closer to it! (If there's anyone out there who would like to pay for a support boat for me, I'll get on and do it!). Then one of the Lovelies got pregnant and so on board joined  my good pal Hexham Jane, after a quick exchange of texts to saying "do you fancy doing a little bit of swimming in the Channel", she was quick to say Yes. Another one of us happy to say Yes first and then think what I have I just signed up for?

So with the Channel relay successfully done last year, the "What next?" question swiftly came up. Jane and I never seem to learn but the immediate "YES" response to swimming around the Isle of Wight  sounded like a great idea, but had the usual lack of thought before answering. So hence, after a busy year, plus some extended months cold water training in Ullswater, I finally pulled the appropriate page out of the road atlas a couple of weeks ago and thought heck, that looks like quite a long way by car! Fortunately, team captain Kath and chief organiser, Henry the pilot, Kevin (IOW solo swimmer) and Ian have all dedicated their time to working out the complexities of the tides and conditions to help us achieve our goal. Sadly my good pal Jane has had to pull out and I'm going to miss her keeping us all sorted on the boat and gently but firmly coaxing me out of my sleeping bag with a jaffa cake or two........"come on it's your turn soon get up"! In any relay swim all the members of the team have their part to play to help keep everyone going which can be tough at times when you have 1 swimmer in the water, 4 on the boat being sick, and the next swimmer in trying not to look at the others!!. The wait on the boat between swims is often the hardest thing to cope with and your ability to keep food down is a major issue! I smiled as we boarded our Channel swimming boat last year when each of the Lovelies brought a picnic bag (sac) with enough food in them to open our own Tescos. Hmmmmm, just a packet of plain bagels for me.......yes really......Unfortunately, after a goood 1st swim, a few texts sent to report progress & my jam on toast for breakfast and me parted company.... Etiquette dictates you stagger quickly to the opposite side of the boat..... Needless to say getting in a swimming again after 5 hours of being ill is quite a challenge, so sometimes it's not actually about the swimming.

With the sea sickness wiped from memory...... almost, and a visit to BOOTS the chemist for all things anti sickness - pills, patches & bracelets, I shall once again be joining the Lovelies for our next adventure - the Isle of Wight. Long overdue Thanks to my Mum and Dad for ferrying me about to training everyday for the best part of a decade and to my husband, Morgan and our 3 fabs kids Hamish, Morag, and Campbell for their support and not yet thinking Mum, what are you doing now? Thanks also to all my training pals over the years, & especially Hexham Jane, Nic Davies, Stuart Robinson & Vicky Johnston.

My relay swim is dedicated to the memory of 3 family members - my aunt and uncle Jill &  Bernard and my beloved Gramps Wells for whom I'll be trying to raise money for MACMILLAN nurses. And, also to family friends Jo, Paul and Daisy, in memory of their son (& brother to Daisy) Tom, who tragically at just 3 years old died suddenly in April this year of liver failure. For them I'd like to help raise money for Tynedale Community Hospice in Northumberland, which amongst many things helps families cope with bereavement. I would very grateful if you could visit my Just Giving web pages and donate to either of the above charities and I'll be doing my best when things get tough out in the sea around the Isle of Wight this week. Many thanks. Lucy x to support Tynedale Community Hospice to support MACMILLAN nurses

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