I got back from Jersey on Saturday, then on Sunday morning I headed off to Swan Pool, where Dan Earthquake was organising a six hour swim under the auspices of the Sandwell Lifesaving and Channel Swimming Club, with the support of the Birmingham Lifeguard Club. I wasn't sure how I would manage at the end of a fairly heavy swimming week, but couldn't pass up the opportunity. I did the same event last year, and the conditions were absolutely vile for almost the whole swim, but we were lucky to have relatively mild weather - gentle sunshine and almost no wind for most of it - until the very end, when things darkened over and it started to chuck with rain.
I started off gently, but was feeling pretty good, and when I stopped for my first feed at two hours, I saw that I was several minutes ahead of my times for last year, so decided to try and push on a bit. I managed to keep the same slightly upped pace pretty much throughout, although my arms were feeling the strain by the last couple of hours, and they certainly still had the previous week's swimming in them. But nevertheless, I managed to cover half a mile more in the time than I had last year (12.5 miles this year), which is very gratifying.
Many thanks to Dan, and to all the people who observed the swims and were out in kayaks keeping us safe, even in the driving rain. Much appreciated. And many congrats to Ali Longman (a student at Warwick Univ), who smashed the women's course record for the 6 hour swim (previously held by me at a very modest 12 miles), totalling 15 miles!!! She is amazing, and I would put money on her getting across the Channel this summer.
My arms have been a bit sore since the swim yesterday, especially my right, but I think it's more slight overuse than injury - this is my first 20+ hours of training in a week for a long time, so it's bound to have some effect. But I feel good for having done it, and it's nice to have my second 6 hour swim of the season done and dusted, ready for my next challenge - Ned Denison's swim camp in Cork ... some serious time in the (cold) water awaits.