Monday, 23 January 2012

Marathon swim momentos

I have just opened up a new page on my research website, showcasing marathon swim momentos. At the moment, it's got some swim tattoos, including this one from Julie Farrell, plus a lovely block of wood housing pebbles collected from Channel swims.

I'm going to be adding more as they come in - do get in touch if you have an interesting picture to add.

From an aesthetic perspective, I think they're beautiful and fun; from a research perspective, I think they're significant because they show not only how meaningful how marathon swims are to some individuals, but also that the swims (and their momentos) have a wide range of meanings and are deeply personal.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Calling all Channel swimmers...

Have you swum the English Channel? Or another marathon swim? Did you memorialise it in some way? If so, I'd love to hear from you.

As part of my research, I'm working on a paper about what marathon swims mean to people, and am looking for examples of different kinds of swim memorialisation and commemoration. I'd love to hear about (and get pictures of, if possible) tattoos marking successful swims. I know that some people have bought jewellery or had pieces made - I'd love to see them, and hear about why you chose that design etc.

Also, what did you do with the pebble you collected from the beach? And your swim chart?

Are there other forms of commemoration that I've not thought of?

You can e-mail me at, or post comments below. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Moving and shaking

The Long Swim has been in hibernation for a month or so, but is now back! I'm not quite sure what happened and why I stopped blogging, except that I went away for a glorious week in Lanzarote over Christmas, then locked myself away to get some research writing done until term started again last week. The consequence of this was that the blog went quiet, but I have just submitted my first article from the swimming research to the journal, Feminist Review, which feels like definite progress. There's absolutely no guarantee of publication at this stage, and the usual practice is that papers are sent out for peer review and then based on the feedback, it will either be rejected (I hope not, but always possible....), accepted with various degrees of changes, or accepted as it is (never happens...or not to me, anyway). So, fingers crossed.

On the training front, things have been a little hit and miss, but ticking along. Following Ian's tragic death, I had sort of decided to go it alone on the stroke correction, drilling in what he had taught me, but then in Lanzarote, I managed to do a lot of sea swimming and realised that my stroke collapsed almost immediately into my old habits as soon as I started doing any distance. So, last week, I went to see Keith at the Swimshed, and am back on the case. Plus the running is ticking along nicely - I'm up to a weekend long run (well, when I say 'long'....) of 4 miles, and am signed up to run a 10k in March. So some progress there too, however unspectacular.

The other point of note was the recent publication by Steve Munatones of a men and women's list of 101 'movers and shakers' in open water swimming....and who would have thought it, but there I am. A mover and shaker, apparently. Of course, these kinds of lists are always arbitrary, but what I thought was great about them is that they demonstrate the breadth of involvement in open water swimming in all aspects of the sport, without necessarily focusing only on the elite end of things. It was nice to be included, though, and prompted a lot interest in the project and website, which was very encouraging for me. Of course, given my hiberating blog and my very poor show with training recently, there's not been much in the way of either moving or shaking from me of late. Must do better.