Vicki Hartley-Kite, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for RLSS UK, talks about how she’s feeling 72 hours before her first ever open water swim.

Well, it is less than 72 hours until I do my very first open water swim! I am nervous and excited in equal measure but with all my lovely RLSS UK colleagues and the best trained lifeguards in the world I think it is the safest place to embark upon my open water adventure. I am doing the one mile and have been assured by open swim master Adrian Lole that there are no eels and just a few carp…so that’s fine…eek.

As a ‘novice’ open water swimmer the advice is stay towards the back of the ‘wave’ (see I am au fait with all the lingo) however, the competitive bit of my personality wants to stay on the heels of the amazing Olympians taking part James Hickman and Greg Whyte. But I will try and be sensible and not get too giddy at the start. I also have the support of my big sister Sally and an old friend Caroline who are doing the swim too so it will be nice to have friends in the water (as well as the carp).

As part of the RLSS UK’s 125th year celebrations I have pledged to swim 125 miles over the year (not in one go as lots of people ask me – the English Channel is only 19 nautical miles which equates to 21.8652 land miles apparently – all very confusing!). Anyway, I have been putting some miles in pool which was hard over the winter months…but is getting easier. I have been reading some tips on how to train for open water and haven’t been using the wall to push off, I have been practising deep water starts and have been doing my front crawl with my head up but don’t think I will manage the full distance doing crawl so might have to do some breaststroke which leads very nicely into my greatest concern THE WET SUIT. So where to start…it really doesn’t leave very much to the imagination…but I have been assured tight is good. Also, it can be difficult to do breaststroke in a wet suit because of the buoyancy so have gone for one that people say you can do breaststroke in. I guess I will find out on Sunday.

Finally, why am I putting myself through it. I am lucky enough to have a job I love for an amazing organisation. The work that the volunteers and trainers of RLSS UK – the drowning prevention charity do to help keep people safe around water, to equip as many people as possible with the knowledge of what to do in an emergency and providing training in valuable lifesaving skills is inspirational. The funds that we raise help to support the families who have tragically lost someone to drowning – people who’s future have been sadly ripped away – mothers, brothers, sisters and more. RLSS UK want to help stop unnecessary loss of life.

Wish me luck!