MAKING WAVES: Training for 21 miles with Liz
In our new blog series, Making Waves, we talk to a different Deakin and Blue customer once a fortnight to find out about their adventures in their swimsuits.
In our last post, we talked to year round outdoor dipper Ella. This week we caught up with another adventurous year-round outdoor swimmer. When Liz swam the length of Windermere (11 miles) in 2017 she got out and said "What next?" So naturally, she's now in training to swim the length of Windermere two-ways: there and back. Here's what she had to say when we caught up...
How did you first get into outdoor swimming?
I grew up near Brighton so swimming in the sea was a big part of my childhood but in more recent years I started to do triathlon and soon realised how much I loved the open water swimming. I then just focused on the open water swimming and have been building my distances ever since.
What is it about swimming in the outdoors that appeals to you?
I love the freedom and the time to just think and be. Each swim is different even if you are swimming in the same lake, so you have to keep one eye out for the unexpected.
How do you prepare for a swim?
For an early morning swim, I always have my swim bag or bucket ready the night before and prep whatever I might be eating pre and post-swim. I always check the weather and make sure I have the right post-swim gear; there is nothing worse than not being able to warm up if it’s been a particularly chilly swim. If it’s an event I am preparing for then the control freak in me comes to the fore and I plan like it’s a military operation!
We know you are preparing for the two-way Windermere swim. What was your motivation for doing this swim?
In 2017 I swam one-way Windermere for two charities and loved it. I actually think the first thing I said when I got out was, “what next?” Lots of people have asked if I’m going to swim the Channel but I just don’t fancy that stretch of water so the 21 miles of two-way Windermere gives me a similar distance and a huge challenge.
What will be your greatest challenge on the Windermere swim?
I think with any endurance event it’s what your mind does that really matters. The human body amazes me - it will just keep going as long as you’ve trained well and your head doesn’t mess with you! I need to come up with some new swim thinking games to add to my A – Z of animals, cities, names etc.
What have you learned outdoor swimming?
That there are a great bunch of people out there who are loving this increasingly popular activity and that we are a friendly and supportive lot. I have also learned more about wind speed and direction than I thought I would ever need to know!
What advice would you give to others looking to try outdoor swimming? Why should they?
I qualified as an open water coach this summer and have been lucky enough to support people on their first dip into the open water. If you have never done it before I would recommend having a coached session; there are loads on offer at supervised lakes and then once you have got your confidence in the water you will never look back (unless a swan is behind you; then you might)!
What feeling do you get after a dip in a lake, river or the sea?
I always feel incredibly alive, alert and focused. It is such a great way to set you up for the day or to unwind at the end of a day. I always come out smiling no matter how long I’ve been in, how far I’ve swum or how well it went and that can only be good for my health and wellbeing.
We couldn't agree more - thanks for chatting with us, Liz. Feeling inspired? Follow Liz's training and updates on her Windermere swim via her brilliant blog.