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Champion of Champions. (BLDSA)
Andrew Wells - Saturday 16th of June 2018

Lovely Dover harbour with its nice thick harbour wall keeping out all those naughty waves, a great place for a gentle swim. Nothing could go wrong here 🤔

Fast forward to mid-way through the 5mile, wind rising, constant battering of white capped waves, tricky sighting. My head was in a dark place and I had a full on case of noodle arms.

I seriously considered getting out, but the thought of a first DNF was just enough to keep going. I was sure they made me do an extra lap (they hadn't) but eventually reached the shore in just under 3hrs, my longest swim time with no food/drink stops).

On the beach fellow swimmers and friends from around the UK and beyond; a chance to recover before the 3mile in just over an hour. Fueling up with a whole ginger cake, bag of jelly tots, roll, some crisps a couple of tomatos (see super healthy) and a banana and just about ready to go again. I can't imagine how those swimmers with a few minutes turn around kept going.

Three miles, and the wind was even higher for the start, we were bouncing all over the place but somehow the swim was a bit better and during the second half the wind eased slightly. Still felt a bit alone but approaching the beach suddenly another swimmer, tempo up, commando role to clear the water, that's one second gained back 😏.

30 minutes break, just time for another banana, some malt loaf and chocolate raisins before the final mile. A very different experience, much flatter and suddenly I could swim again. Go for that sprint finish, zoom past 3 or 4 for those crucial seconds. Does it really matter that they were ahead by minutes and minutes after the earlier swims (yes it does that's how this event works; cumulative time). Still 6 seconds under 5 1/2 hours so that sprint gave me something, and more importantly a place amongst the roughly 50% of the field that completed the full event. Time for an ice cream (cherry swirl).

Red keepsakes all round (and red sunburn on the back of my legs), a day that stands out.


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