first swim in a billion years

I have had it! I have had enough with not swimming, and gaining back old fears about swimming (including, and I kid you not, “what if I forget how to put on a swimming costume??”), and I think all the swimmers I follow on instagram feel let down by me! Oh, of course the swimmers don’t follow me back because they are busy setting world records, and I am only setting world records in tedious anxiety dreams, but never mind!

I have actually been too nervous to even tell my swimming gang that I was going swimming, as I wasn’t sure if my first swim in ages would put me back in a worse position than I was in when I “started”. But I’m happy to say, my first swim in ages was brilliant!

TIME: goodness knows?

DISTANCE: 1,000m??

CRAMP: nul (amazing)

Now, I’m pretty sure I counted 1,000m – and I’m feeling strangely confident in my actual counting ability this time as well? However, 1,000m and “not being dead” seems REALLY GOOD for someone who hasn’t swum for months, so I almost can’t believe it. But perhaps it was? In other good news: I didn’t get foot cramp! But in not-so-great news: only 4-5 of these 25m lengths were front crawl, and they were pretty exhausting. And my feet did feel like there was cramp *~potential~* at the end of the length. None actually happened, but I did let myself go back to breast stroke pretty quickly. So, my first lengths of crawl were probably about 200-300m in, and they were exhausting. The latter two were towards the end, and felt a little easier. I had been reminding myself that swimming seems to take a ridiculously long time to “warm up” throughout, so perhaps this is just the way of things.


I have made a momentous decision, and have BINNED Jolyon Fish Face Fidget Spinner’s swimathon plan. I’m sure it’s great and would work for decent swimmers! But the fact that it is planned for people who are capable of two swim speeds in the first place kind of reveals it’s a bit beyond me. It’s just mad! Perhaps I printed out an advanced one rather than a beginner?? I went back to check on the swimathon page, but the links to the training plans are all broken.

So, now I have no formal swim plan staring at me from my wall. I am guessing that if I can swim more regularly, and anything between 800-1,200m – and work up to doing more crawl, then that probably won’t do me much “harm”, right?

Now, my next “task” is to actually go swimming again – as soon my special ladies time gives it a rest, that is.


After I’d finished and was changing I realised a HOLE had developed in my costume.

In the GUSSET area.

Had anyone noticed….?


first swim in a billion years

may 25th – let’s just pretend that smear is ‘decor’

DISTANCE: 1,300m

TIME: 45mins

For once my own timing (THANK YOU, ENORMOUS CRYSTAL PALACE CLOCK! The clock is so wonderful. 水泳の気持ち!) and the Wonder Widget are in sync! However, I am dead chuffed with this as I thought I had only done 1,200 – an extra 100m is something I shall not sneeze at!

A swim of two halves Brian – first 500m or so felt a long, slow, and TIRING struggle. I am reluctantly concluding that warming up properly takes 500m rather than 50m. Can this really be correct, esp when you’re as cr4p as I am? I do only seem to start settling after a longer time.

However, the latter half felt a LOT better! And I managed two lengths (not in a row), breathing every three strokes – and felt like it wasn’t actually that bad. BUT, I know I couldn’t have done this in the first 500m, where breathing every other strokes was still a bit of a gasp.

It is like this with running for me as well though – first 3.5km is always pretty painful – only really seem to start “enjoying” the process at around 4km – and is that because you know the end is in sight? Never quite worked it out. (This is from treadmill experience, where the 3km seems to last FOREVER and brings an existential dread that you will never get any better or faster and time turns to treacle).

And speaking of existential dread – part of the reason why the DREAD kicked in on the treadmill was that the gym always showed awful SKY NEWS. I thought I would escape that with swimming, but Oasis – for whatever BARMY REASON – has a TV in changing room and it is tuned to – yes ofcourse – SKY NEWS!! What is it with Sky News and people in lycra?? Seriously! Isn’t some channel repeating Frasier? Or – there’s enough fitness telly out there – WHY SKY? Presumably the venues are paying extra for Sky Services too – wouldn’t it be more economical to put on the HORROR channel so we would watch some old Doctor Who whilst squeezing into the SLAZENGER?

But at least their changing rooms are sparkling, which is more than I can say about CryPal. Of course CryPal has more KIDS – but it is not that nice repeating to self “just ignore the smear, just ignore the BROWN SMEAR in the cubicle”. (On saying that, there’s loads of cubicles and space – which is more than I can say for Kings Cross – so tbh it’s no deal breaker. Just a bit… erghh, meh…)

I actually suspect CryPal keeps hiring cleaners but they just get LOST in the maze that is the sports centre. There’s probably someone they hired in 1964 stuck in a cupboard with their foot stuck in a bucket…

Well, quite. Anyway, I’d best go – another exciting day of keeping my eye on the European Masters livestream (chaos) awaits, so,


may 25th – let’s just pretend that smear is ‘decor’

20 may – whingy whinge

I’m afraid this write-up won’t really acknowledge much more than the fact that I went to a swimming pool for a period of time. I’d had a bad morning, with a strange series of chest pains from the time I woke up. And as I type this on the 22nd, they’re still lurking around. I was a little worried I would be in no state to swim, but I was better by the afternoon, so took myself along to the pool, whinging like a TIRED BABY the entire time.

The swim itself was reasonable, but I felt very unenergetic for a good while. Didn’t feel very strong either.  Cheered up eventually, and felt much better for it afterwards! I would guess I was probably in the water for half an hour.

Followed up the swim with a quick visit to the pub, where I had a delicious 1.5pints of Partizan “dry-hopped” mild – very tasty – and had a very important conversation about Neko Atsume and LENTILS (one of my cats is called Lentils – it is such a good name for a cat! Be warned, future cats!).

PS- is Whingy Whinge a good drag queen name or am I merely inspired by Thorgy Thor?

20 may – whingy whinge

MAY 7 – heated lido!

My second attempt at going to Charlton Lido, and happily a successful one, despite the best efforts of the pigeons at London Bridge trying to kill me, and football being on at Charlton. Burnley? West Ham? Charlton themselves? Who could even tell?

Wonder Widget says I did 1,200m, but I think actual swimming distance isn’t more than 800m. After a few laps (in the medium lane!), the swimming lessons in the two furthest lanes ended, so they shifted all the lanes about, to mild confusion to the inexperienced lido swimmers. My friend and I took this as an opportunity to do handstands and flips in the ‘general’ end. What a treat to go to a pool in the sunshine and to be able to play around in it without being a d1ck! After the flips, we went back to swim some laps. I did *try* to go back to the medium lane, but people were being all fast in it again, so back to the slow lane it was.

Very very nice to swim outside in the first actually sunny weekend! Very odd to turn your head to breath and be blinded by the strange yellow face in the sky. And really fun to see your shadow swimming with you underwater!  I had a GRATE time.

However, it does turn out that I am not very good at doing underwater flips and stuff, which surprises me! I had a lot of fun doing some in… the sea? Is probably the last time? Chlorine RIGHT up the sinuses, headache city.

*watches dream of ever learning a tumble turn fading into the lamented distance*


MAY 7 – heated lido!

MAY 3 – quick splash


TIME: 24mins.

Quick swim this evening as I had a strategy session to get to on the other side of town. Good job I did too – I think I nabbed the last unreserved table! As I forgot to write this up earlier, I don’t have much to say about it, so instead can we talk about the tacky baby Phelps photo? I knew Phelps was boring but I didn’t know his publicity was done by Spencer Rowell. And, Boomer? I mean, if that was the name of a Nandos Meal Deal I’d give the man some credit, but as it is he might have well called the child Cylon.


MAY 3 – quick splash

april 25 -splashmouth


TIME: 48mins

“I’m going for my most half-arsed swim ever”, I inform my colleagues, as I head to the pool this lunchtime. Tired Monday-itis in full swing and I can NOT be bothered. But I still head over to the pool anyway, knowing somewhere deep down that that would be better than lying down under Jeremy Bentham’s chair to sleep until they move me on.

Swim was FINE in the end, but I am annoyed as once again my lap counting was off. In fact, I thought I had done one extra lap than I intended, but actually I’d done one less. CHIZ 😦

At one point I had the slow lane to myself for a minute so I tried another SPRINT! I did not make it to the end of the pool, alas. I think I made it to over 25m but then ended up getting too little oxygen and too much chlorine in mouth… oops. Let’s call it a work in progress.

I even considered trying a length of BACKSTROKE for one crazy moment – but I’m not brave/crazy enough for that yet, even in an empty lane…

As for !SUPER SPLASH BRO! who turned up about halfway through the session: tell me, how can your splash STILL hit me and make me splutter even when I am breathing on the OPPOSITE side to where you are swimming past me?! Gahhhh!!! Still – I suspect I would have to put up with this when I am in  RACING CONDITIONS? (yeah yeah “turtle grand prix” is that)? So perhaps I shall just consider this guy to be getting me practicing for TOKYO 2020! (I have decided to spend Rio in front of the telly eating chorizo sausage and regret nothing, sorry Team GB).


april 25 -splashmouth