Our President Peter Moyes took some time out to talk to us about the importance of safe open water swimming as he is training for the ChillSwim on 14th September at Lake Coniston in the Lake District.

How is your training going for the event?

I’ve been doing training in both the pool and at a supervised lake in Lincolnshire. The lake I swim at has a temperature of 20 degrees but I am concerned about the difference compared to the Coniston waters, as this is likely to be just 16-18 degrees due to it being much deeper. At the moment I’m swimming in the pool twice a week and have a long swim each Sunday, this is an average of 4.5miles over 2 ½ hours.

It’s unfortunate that in the UK and Ireland we are still limited in places you can swim safely in open water, we are desperate for more supervised open water swimming venues.

Making my training realistic to the event is really important so that my body is prepared for the temperature – I’m wearing my wetsuit for the lake training to help with the temperature and it also helps keep my legs buoyant.

Training for the event

How did you find out about the event?

The whole thing has come from a hair brained idea of my son’s, Alex. Earlier this year he came up with challenges for the whole family! After discussions with friends I got two friends on board to take on this event with myself. My friend trawled for supervised open water events that were happening this year and we chose this one, mainly because it gave us more training time before the day itself!

My friends and I have done swimming training and triathlons in the past but they are beating me at the moment, being much faster, younger and lighter than I.This will actually be my first open water swimming event and I really hope to do more in the future.

What are your top training tips for open water swimming?

  • The key is to be in an environment that is properly lifeguarded; the water is clean and has beentested. Swimming with others too is great socially but also particularly when you are swimming long distances in cold water as this is a great precaution.
  • If you go to a local lake to swim you won’t know what water crafts use the area, with open water swimming the only thing visible is your head so it is important to go to supervised areas
  • Silicone swimming caps are great for heat retention and are the most comfortable. Good vision goggles are a must, the bigger the better, unfortunately pool ones normally steam up. It’s nice to see where you’re going!
  • Getting started is very slow so whilst hyperventilation subsides I always stay relaxed for two-three minutes to give my body time to adjust to the temperature.
  • Something that struck me about the Chill Swim was the tow floatsupports, these are incredible, they attach at the waist, are easy to swim with and provide a hi-vis flotation aidif you need a rest at any point– all open water swimmers should take them with them.
  • After your swim – I, and others, find that we need to sit down as we areoften dizzy due to the length of the swim, usually 2 hours.  The rotation in the water due to the currents makes a big impact on the body.

What is your best time?

Best time – 5.2miles 2 hours 40 minutes.

Good luck to Peter and we look forward to hearing how well it went and seeing the photos too!