Sunday, July 13, 2014

Stoke Newington West Reservoir Centre


Off message but I was up very early on Saturday morning in order to attend an open water swimming induction course at the West Reservoir in Stoke Newington.

London never ceases to amaze and surprise me. I have lived here for 26 years and never knew this lovely place existed.

It is a former fresh drinking water reservoir surrounded by greenery and tower blocks in the middle of urban North London.

The site is also used as a sailing and canoe centre.

There was about 12 in my course (all younger and much fitter looking!). Things were a little chaotic at the centre because the lake had been closed in recent weeks due to outbreaks of blue green algae in the water.

Our instructor was Matt, who was ex-forces and gave a classic military style presentation on what to do and not do - with humour and candour. There is a small risk from swimming in open water.

The swimming part of the induction was actually quite fun. This was the first time I had used a wetsuit and it definitely keeps you warm and aids floatation. It did feel a bit constrictive.

It is a very different experience swimming in open water compared to public baths. You cannot see anything under water, it gets very choppy swimming alongside a pack of swimmers and your arms do tire more easily with a web suit. Saying that it is a marvellous experience to swim out doors under the open skies.

I need to get my act together because I am doing the London Triathlon 3 weeks tomorrow. I'm picked up my bike today from its service at Halfords that I bought from my fellow contestant, Newham Cllr "Red Terry" Paul.

I have been training for a while but will admit that have left it a little late. It all seemed such a good idea in January....

(Update - this morning I swam a mile - very slowly - in my wet suit at the mixed bathing pool on Hampstead Health.  Another lovely spot to swim out doors in London)
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