My name is Juliette Piesley. I currently swim with Teddington Swimming Club along with open water events when the water breaks 12 degrees. I am an experienced swim teacher of more years than I care to remember, a teacher trainer and open water swim coach. A Mother, Grandmother, and Carer for my Mum who was sadly struck down with Dementia last year. Swimming is my saviour, my little piece of me, I think some of you will relate to this. I took up open water swimming after my brother died suddenly as a way of coping and went on to do my first event the British Gas 1 mile in the Docklands. That was Just the beginning. It’s an amazing feeling to be free with the wildlife and so exhilarating especially on the cold days. I used to wear a wetsuit but gave it up last year and now it’s even more amazing.
When I wanted to swim a 50k swim in 5 days for Alzheimer’s there was no other venue for me but Heron Lake. It is run by Alan and Pete and a great team of water safety experts. As a natural reservoir the water is very clean. It is primarily used by the disabled water ski club set up by the Tony Edge Fund.
As you approach the club there is a car park and also the track road in which you can park. There is a large clubhouse in which are changing and showering facilities, a kitchen and lots of seating for those long Summer evenings watching the sun go down. There is also a small play area for little ones who come to watch their parents, giving the evenings a real family feel.
There is a lovely grassed area down to the Jetty with steps or wheelchair access passing the outdoor thatched kitchen serving great food and hot and cold drinks. The smell of bacon in the mornings is very tempting but make sure you have earned it!! Jane is extremely good at baking cakes too!! Off to the side of the kitchen area is a great supply of wetsuits for hire but if you are keen to buy Alan is the wetsuit specialist.
There are 2 circuits to choose from. The 500m circuit enables the beginner to see the jetty at all times but is equally a great speed challenge for the sprinters. I love the 1k circuit which has a great long straight down the back enabling a lovely long stroke to be maintained and great sighting practice.
Besides all the wonderful facilities this venue is possibly the friendliest and most welcome that I have been to. It is a little oasis and being there gives you that little holiday feeling when the world around you never stops. For more information take a look on the website: http://www.swimheron.co.uk/
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