A hardy group of Mid Sussex Marlins swimmers made the journey to South London last weekend to take part in the UK Cold Water Championships.
They joined a field of almost 300 like minded competitors from all over the UK and Ireland - plus a sprinkling from as far afield as Poland, Latvia & Belgium, to brave the 3 degree water in Tooting Lido’s magnificent Art Deco setting.
There was no getting away from the ordeal of braving the icy water – whether for the freestyle dash, or for the “head up” breaststroke. Without fail, the initial shock of entering the water before each race drew a sharp intake of breath from each swimmer. This was rapidly followed by the numbing effects of “ice cream head” as the swimmers attempted to cross the pool as fast as they can, before emerging the other side, pink and tingling from head to toe. Fortunately, hot drinks were immediately on hand and there was the reward of the hot tub and sauna to warm up again.
This biennial event, excellently hosted by South London Swimming club, grows in popularity on each occasion. This year it was blessed with a beautifully clear sunny day and the pool was resplendent with crystal clear blue water, rows of brightly painted changing cubicles and decked in flags and bunting. The event was opened at 9.00 am with a specially commissioned piece from the resident choir “50 Shades of Blue”. The competition then followed with over 60 heats and finals. Consequently, some Marlins swimmers had to brave the water not just once but up to 5 occasions.
Marlins most successful swimmers were Graham Lock, who picked up a silver medal in the final of the Breaststroke, and Richard Arthur with a brace of Bronzes in the breaststroke and freestyle events. Tim Fraser and Matthew Record also made finals and the 3 Marlins relay teams were agonisingly close to the podium with 2 fourth places and a sixth. Other Marlins competing were: Craig Mayhew, Susan Bull, Rose Dudeney, Tabitha Dudeney, Sarah Davison, Jamie Goodhead and Max Keeping.