It was the first year this event was organised. I had to take part of it, I had to swim it. With my swimming club, I trained the last two summers swimming and training in the Serpentine. It’s like swimming at home. This event is organised by the same group that organised the London Marathon, so the entree was via a ballot (of course! London Ballot, horror!). However, everybody got an entree, I think not enough people applied. Anyhow, I got my entree and had to make sure I was in London this day. I flew back from LA the night before, so I was still jetlagged on the morning of the race, but it’s fine! I was ready to swim.
I really wanted to swim a mile under 25′ this year. I missed this target at the London Great swim mile, but I haven’t trained enough to achieve this goal, I was more focussed on my 10K swimming, triathlons and marathons. I am very closed and I am sure with more concentration and specific preparation, I will do a sub 25. Today wasn’t the day either.
I was outside chatting with some friends and changed myself a bit late. I arrived at the departure area on time, but everybody was already there, so I was at the end of the queue to get into the water. After the safety and race information delivered, they asked for slow swimmers to go at the back, making sure they don’t block faster swimmers. Almost nobody moved. Whatever.
The race starts and people go into the water, while I am impatiently waiting to dip. I finally start my race at the middle-back of the group and start straight swimming and passing people. Few swimmers were doing breaststroke, others were slow or navigated in the wrong direction. Obviously, it was the first open water swim for many of them. No problem, it’s nice to see people coming to this sport like I did two years ago. It was just frustrated again myself for not coming earlier in the start area.
It took me probably 500 meters to get out of the crowd and finally find my swim and my pace. I saw the leader group ahead of me, but they seemed to be too far away. I will try my best to swim and to get as close as I can to 25 minutes.
The swimming was perfect, a full loop of the Serpentine, in Hyde Park, the landscape is wonderful, the weather gorgeous. I spent so much time here, it is nice to see my friends the swans and ducks around and a lot of swimmers. I focussed on my stroke and breathing. I kept the pace, my shoulders felt very good. After the last turn, near the bridge, I accelerated towards the finish line.
I saw many families, friends, tourists and dogs around cheering on us, it’s a great feeling to see people along the route.
I finally cross the finish line in… 26 min. Happy with my swim, disappointed with my time. If I had a better start, I would probably be very close to 25 and even just under. Whatever. I will have to wait next year to know if I can make it.
It was the last open water swim of the season. I am already looking forward to swimming here next year again!
I swam the Serpentine, Hyde Park, London!