Meet a member at a distance – Fran

I am very lucky to be living in Cornwall in these unusual times, as we are surrounded by countryside and have beaches close by. I had been out of swimming for 33 years and it was moving to Cornwall that got me back in the water, the sea was inviting me in. There was a particular swim that I wanted to try between Port Gaverne and Port Isaac and also a swim across the Camel Estuary from Rock to Padstow which was very popular in 2010.  So the time had come during winter to join a swimming club to improve my fitness and that was it, hooked again, competing at a local level, then joining Spencer in 2016. Having the support and also the opportunity to swim in relays is amazing.  
The picture shows my lockdown hair

How have you coped with the break from training?      

Complying with the lockdown rules resulted in watching Netflix, eating chocolate and drinking red wine, nice but not good. Being unable to swim especially when the sea is within walking distance was very hard, but it forced me to try a new type of fitness routine – running – otherwise I would not fit back into my racing suit.  

  Do you have a daily fitness routine?  

I like to do a bit of a mixture, trying to work out what’s best for me. Like a lot of swimmers I am not a great fan of running, but during lockdown I took on the challenge of going from couch to 5K, which started with me shuffling around my local football pitch and I now jog between 5 and 10K every other day. With a friend’s Jack Russell. I do a good 8K coastal walk on the other days. For a bit of fun I have a Hoola Hoop, trying to keep it going for 3minutes in each direction is really challenging my core muscles.

Have you managed to get back into the water yet? If so, how was it?  

I am very lucky to have a harbour in walking distance and with the water temp at 14°C on the day the lockdown restrictions were eased I took the plunge and even with the wetsuit chaffing and head freeze I loved it, just so nice to be back in the water even for a short time. Since then I’ve also been swimming at a local beach with some friends, managing to stay in for an hour and now it’s getting warmer in a local sea pool without the wet suit.

How did you get on with the Virtual Challenge?                                                                                         
I enjoyed doing the Spencer Virtual summer challenge with my team mates, and also my own individual challenge. I joined a local  running club and have taken on a challenge to run 100 miles in July and to get the miles in I completed a NHS virtual half marathon last week along an old railway line known as the Camel Trail, flat but still brutal.       

Which competitions have you missed?

I was so looking forward to competing in Budapest especially the open water swims as I was entered in the 3K and 5K. It would have been my second European event – the last being in London, which I understand was not a great experience for most swimmers, but for me it was a childhood dream never to be forgotten. Also missing the British masters in Sheffield this year, where I love swimming in the relays, big thanks to Amanda for her organizing skills. Club La Santa is always a favourite, as it comes at the right time of the year and great for camaraderie and also so nice to swim with team mates.

What are you most looking forward to when you can get back to training?          

I am looking forward to getting back into my routine and training once a week with a masters group, which adds some variety into my schedule. I try to train every day and swim with a friend on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, who also enjoys IM’s especially the 400 metres – challenging but rewarding when done. We then go straight into Pilates class still wet and smelling of chlorine.

  Any plans for Open Water training or racing over the summer?  

With most events having been cancelled or becoming virtual, I am looking forward to a sea swim in August that’s from Port Gaverne to Port Isaac and back again which is 2.4K. I will keep swimming as much as I can weather and sea conditions permitting.

With leisure centres opening up again, happy swimming everyone and look forward to seeing you all soon.

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