Last weekend I headed down to Dover with many other Channel Swimmers (both relay and solo) for the Channel Swimming & Pilot Federations annual dinner.
My friend Vicky, who was the fastest British swimmer to swim the English Channel last year, and I travelled down to Dover On Saturday via Charlton Lido. It is such a gem of a pool and I have been a few times so far this year. It is a 50m outdoor heated pool and is so nice to feel the freshness of the cold on your arms and head as you are warmed by the tempreture of the pool which is heated to 25 degrees. Once the open water season opens in May I won’t have the luxuries of swimming outside in warm water so I am enjoying it whilst I can and it certainly beats swimming in indoor pools.
The CS&PF dinner was such a lovely night, catching up with other Channel swimming friends that I have met over the years, many of which had their solo swims in 2014. I also was lucky enough to meet some amazing people from the open water swimming world, some of which have swam some incredible swims. It truly is a wonderful community with people always offering support and advice.
During the dinner the awards were announced and some truly fantastic people won, people that I will be inspired by as I swim my solo this year. It was a great surprise then when COSMIC Rays won an award. We won the ‘Most meritorious Special Category Relay’ award, it was such a wonderful surprise and after having the BBC document our swim this was just another lovely way for us to remember and reminisce about our successful two way relay over the summer. Unfortunately Parviz should have been there with us but due to a family illness last minute he was unable to join us – we will ensure that we all meet up to celebrate soon.
On the night a lovely video was shown (Thanks Emma for putting it together) which captured most of the swims from the summer, worth a watch if you have some time and will give you an idea of what a Channel swim entails/means to those that do it. Click here to watch it.
It was such a nice night that we decided to finish the night at the White Horse, for Channel swimmers the White Horse is somewhere where they can add their piece of history to the walls. All over the walls Channel swimmers for years have added their scribble to ensure everyone knows their story. COSMIC Rays hadn’t had a chance to add our piece of history yet so at 1am in the morning last weekend we finally added our names. We also found our scribble from 2013 when we swam our one way relay as the’Flamingo’s’.
The next day we all met on the beach at 10am and most of the swimmers doused their hangovers with a 6 degree swim in Dover harbour. I gave it a miss but it bought back many memories and will over the summer I am sure build many more. It is now just 2 months left till I start heading down there most weekends and the training really begins for my massive challenge of 2015.