7 intrepid club members made it to Weir Wood Reservoir yesterday for their first outdoor swim of the year.
Weir Wood is a great place for a safe and managed OW swim. Facilities are basic on waterside but perfectly adequate and the site comes with the benefit of a support boat and shoreline spotter. Details are to be found on the Hedgehog Tri website.
Our fearless band got into the water with barely a squeal, so either the water really was about 12 degrees as advertised or everyone was acting tough for the group. Either way, after some face splashing & bubbles we were quickly off.
The set course at Weir Wood is a loop of about 600m, with the turn at a moored boat at the far end - very scenic. It also makes for a challenging start to a cold water swim. We stayed in a group and worked the loop in roughly 100m sections, getting used to the 'ice cream headache' sensation as the brain freeze wears off and slowly stretching out.
At the end of the 1st loop a couple of swimmers who are still in marathon recovery mode (and currently unused to most activities that don't involve running for hours on end) decided to stay by the shore whilst the rest of us went for another lap. This time around we did some drafting practice, deep water starts and put some thought into our OW swim style, all of which had us back near the start in no time.
To finish we took the opportunity to practice our quick water exit with a run to 'T1' and wetsuit removal practice. Some of us took quite a while to complete that, possibly due to the quantity of head-to-toe neoprene involved, but good practice for the first OW races next month.
It did take 20 minutes to be able to feel our toes again but the buzz of being out there - particularly on such a beautiful day - more than compensated, something we contemplated whilst sipping tea and watching both the setting sun over the lake and the impromptu catwalk modelling of one of the group (see picture). Nice one Kevin..
Anyway, much fun had by all. It's a bit of a trek from Brighton, but great as a fear-free way to learn OW skills and to get in cold water for the first few times, and highly recommended whilst we wait for the sea temperature to rise another degree and the lifeguards to start duty.
Thank you Weir Wood and Hedgehog Tri!