I offered to do the Salford swim as part of one the NHS Bolton relay teams. This swim was an open water swim in the murky depths of the Manchester Ship Canal at Salford Quays. Whilst I am an OK swimmer I did have some real reservations about being able to swim in cold murky water. I first started to improve my swimming stamina which was about average for a bloke of 45 yrs. I could do about 20 lengths OK but generally started to flag after that.
I also knew I had to take the plunge so to speak and try swimming in the actual water at Salford Quays. The first time I did it was a real shock to the system. It was cold and quite scary not being able to see anything in the water. However, I just satisfied myself that nothing was going ‘get me’ in there and just ploughed on.
On the actual day I did quite a good swim, I think mostly because I was trying to get out as fast as possible as I still wasn’t fully at ease with swimming in that type of water. As I handed over to my team member who was doing the cycle section, we thought we had a good chance of a top 10 placing. This was quickly shattered when he returned two minutes after setting off with a puncture. Obviously everyone thought this highly amusing and we did eventually start to see the funny side as we battled to fix the puncture. In fact we pondered on going for last place as that is often as memorable as coming first.
As with most people, once I had done it I was really hooked on the thrill of it. I have since completed a full sprint triathlon( swimming in a swimming pool this time) and three other open water swims including the Great North Swim in Lake Windermere. I still remember the day I did the relay team event in Salford and the fun and team spirit that it generated. It is great to have that sense of achievement and to be able to train towards something that in reality most people can probably do, they just think they can’t.
Being part of a triathlon relay team really is an ideal way to prove to yourself that you can do more than you think. Go for it!