Friday, 21 June 2013

Vicarious swimming....

Things on the swimming front have taken a rather unexpected turn - nothing bad, but I have a decision to make and I'll write about that more once I've made it. But in the mean time, I've been enjoying the now annual festival of vicarious swimming that is the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim. Well, it's a festival of actual swimming really, but for those of us landlocked and pining, post-MIMS, for big-swim excitement, it is vicariously splendid.

Billed as the longest marathon swim in the world, the event is a 7-day, 7-stage swim covering 120 miles along the Hudson River; swimmers can join one, several or all stages, each of which is carefully documented in terms of distance, required swim speeds etc. It's a relatively new event, but I defy anyone to look through the pics and updates on Facebook  and not want to book themselves in for next year. The timing of the event is terrible for me, coming slap bang in the middle of exam season, but if I ever get a summer term study leave, if they'll have me, I'll be there.

In particular, what I love about this event is the tone, emphasising participation over competition, and on finishing over winning, even whilst keeping records and enjoying close finishes.

And above all else, it is clear that there is a love of swimming at work here. I've written about this before, but for me, this swim will always be characterised by exuberant leaps into the water. As in previous years, judging from the pics so far (courtesy of safety boat pilot, Greg Porteus), the splendid Grace Van der Byl is the clear leader in this field:

But she is not alone....

Inspiring. If I ever want to do this event, I will need to up my game not only on the swimming front, but also in the quality of my leaping, which is currently nowhere near the required standard.

More news to follow shortly. In the mean time, catch the final stages while you can. Trust me - it is the perfect antidote to exam board season!

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