I joined Spencer in October 2018, having been wanting/meaning to join a club for the last 5 years since coming to London. I swam competitively from aged 7 right through to university and it’s always been my go to sport for fitness and enjoyment. I continued to swim (very casually) in London with a fellow university swimmer but was keen to get back into the commitment of training and to push myself a bit harder (and to avoid the awkwardness of public swimming sessions when trying to overtake people). My only regret is not joining sooner as I’ve loved being part of the team and even signed up to competitions without this being my initial intention! I train Tuesdays at Crystal Palace or Thursdays in Tooting, but after this time off maybe I’ll be signing up for more!
Where are you based and what isolation approach have you followed?
I live in Balham with my husband having moved here in 2012 after university and stayed ever since. We’ve been lucky as a few of our close university friends live in the area so we’ve been able to meet for socially distanced drinks on the common and the occasional bbq which has been great. I work in a hospital so I’ve still been going into work during the lockdown. It definitely helped keep some normality to my life, and it was good to be able to see some of my colleagues. But it was quite strange back in April when the trains and tube were completely empty, and our hospital made the news a few times for being at the heart of Covid-19 which was a little daunting. We’ve now been able to work from home a couple of days a week – it’s great not having the commute and hope that this may continue beyond Covid-19!
How have you coped with the break from training?
At the beginning it wasn’t too bad, and I didn’t mind having a little break. But quite quickly I realised no other sport gives me the same physical or mental feeling that swimming does. When things were quite stressful during the lockdown, I longed for a trip to the pool to just concentrate on the set and push myself so that I come home with that swimming exhaustion that weirdly feels great!
Have you managed to get back into the water yet? If so, how was it? Any recommendations?
I have recently started swimming at the Docklands in East London which I’m loving. It’s really well organised but super relaxed so it’s been lovely to just book in a swim and get that time back in the water. I’ve certainly felt a lot slower but have got up to 3.5km so I’m hoping an hour and a half training session wont be so daunting now! I’m just worried about my butterfly fitness which was finally coming back after all Steve’s excellent IM sets! I’m pleased to see Spencer have been organising sea and river swims and if I had a car I would be there!
Do you have a daily fitness routine? How are you getting on with Steve’s gutbusters?
I don’t have a particular routine but have been trying to do something active everyday, with a mixture of running, home circuits, and a few long walks. I’ve done a few rounds of the gutbusters and more recently the new circuit. I’ve found both challenging! (The plank isn’t getting any easier). And especially with the hot weather we’ve had, it certainly gets the heart pumping! I’m hoping to go nearer 25mins but we’ll see. We’ve finally been able to buy some bikes so hoping to maybe incorporate that into our fitness and do a few longer rides out of London.
Which competitions have you missed/will you miss and how will that affect you?
I didn’t have any pool competitions lined up, but was hoping to enter Nationals in Sheffield again in October to see if I could improve on last year, but I fear that is unlikely to happen. I usually do the aquathlons in Tooting in the summer, so am sad to miss those. Now I have a bike I may have to push myself to finally compete in a triathlon!
How is your partner coping with you missing your regular training sessions?
Before lockdown my husband and I had got into a nice routine of his tennis and my swimming. We also did an occasional swim together, mainly involving me swimming behind him and offering my best advice on technique! Since lockdown we’ve done quite a few runs together and as he’s working from home we get to see each other a lot more which is nice. I don’t think he quite understands my desire to swim though- my 2 hour round trip for an outdoor swim seemed quite mad to him! He’s managed to restart his tennis again now, and so I hope the pools will follow suit shortly, and then things will seem a lot more like normal!
What are you most looking forward to when you can get back to training?
Pushing my butterfly fitness again! There’s something about doing a set that someone else has made that pushes you so much harder, and seems to make the time go by a lot quicker! Also seeing my fellow swimmers again and sharing in that same enjoyment.
Any plans for Open Water training or racing over the summer?
For the past few years I’ve been doing a Swim Trek holiday with my friend (the above photo is from our trip to Milos in Greece last year). We didn’t book one in this year (fortunately) but hope that we will continue to do this next year and in the future. We have also talked about doing an open water swimming race somewhere in Europe or further afield and I really hope we organise that one day! In the mean time if there are any local(ish) events I will certainly get on board!
To all my fellow swimmers, it’s been great to keep some sort of team spirit through Facebook, the circuits and summer challenges. Thanks to everyone who’s helped keep us entertained outside of the pool and hope to see you all very soon!