Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Fortieth Tenby Boxing Day Swim,

Ever since I first heard about the Boxing Day swim in Tenby I'd wanted to do it. It had happened every year for thirty-nine years. Then, the first year that we've actually been in Tenby for Boxing Day, it was, of course, the coldest it's been for years.

I kept waking up last night and worrying about it slightly. What if it really was too cold for me? I knew it wasn't so much as a swim as a mad dash into, and then out of, the sea, because in general it's cold, and this has been the coldest December for a hundred years so it would be actually dangerous to stay in for much time at all.

But finally I thought - - ohhh look, give it a go, woman, you know you want to!

As we walked down to the swim site on North Beach there were some people already there and it did look distinctly chilly what with the snow on the ground! And today was a grey, cloudy day, without the stunning sunshine of the past few days.

When we arrived there it was all very well-organised, with a man with a loudspeaker telling us all what to do and how long there was to go until the swim started at half past eleven.

There were hundreds of swimmers, very many of them in fancy dress. The prevailing theme was red - - there were a couple of dragons made of several people joined by lots of red material, and lots of Father Christmases and Father Christmas's Little Helpers, and several Red Indians and a pack of cards. The Mayor of Tenby was there. It was an Event with a capital E!
I realised that I needed to cool down a bit before going into the water. The compere kept saying cheerfully that the air temperature was three degrees Centigrade, whereas the sea was eight point nine degrees "So why not go into the sea to warm up?"

I decided against wearing my wetsuit, although many were in wetsuits - I just wanted to try it in my swimsuit! I'd already put my swimsuit on, back at the hotel, so I took off all my several layers of clothes, and my socks, and my boots, and stood there barefoot on the snow-covered sand.

So many hundreds of times have I stood on that beach ready to swim in the sea! So as we moved nearer to the waves, ready for the countdown, I kept saying to myself "HOT JULY DAY!" It did work to some extent - - most of me was fine but my feet really did NOT like standing on the snow!

And then we all counted down - - - ten nine eight seven six - - and then when we got to zero we all ran towards the sea.

Fortunately, there were large waves so I never had to make that decision to duck under the water - the water came up and swept over me.

It was, of course, the coldest water I have ever been in. Most people ran in and then ran straight out again but I was determined to stay in for at least a few strokes, and when I looked up again most people were already out of the sea!

Here they are all rushing out again: (thanks to Stephen who was on Photographer Duty, amongst other things!)
But by now I'd adjusted to the temperature and I wanted to stay in longer - - but I knew it was a bad idea so I came out!

As I ran out a lady stopped me and said "Well done! Great to see you've done it!" I felt a real buzz!

Now you don't often find photos of me on my blog, let alone in a swimsuit - - but, just in case you think I'm making it all up - - here I am, immediately after the event. I promise not to shock you with such pictures often. Yes, that is snow, since you ask.

Did I enjoy it? You bet, I loved it. If I'm ever here in Tenby at Christmas - and I'd really like to be - I'll be doing it again.

8 Comments:

Blogger Jennyta said...

I'm stunned - words fail me! But congratulations. :)

6:35 pm  
Anonymous Ruth said...

What's really shocking about this is you don't appear to be wearing your prescription goggles - how did you know which way to get out of the sea once you were in?
Congratulations
I told friends yesterday that you were planning to do this. They didn't believe me, I am so glad I can tell them you went through with it.

6:41 pm  
Blogger Katherine said...

Oh well done Daphne! I'd've been in and out like a shot!

6:49 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Well done Daphne! You're a braver Yorkie than me! I notice that your designer towel had the ironic slogan "HEAT WAVE" emblazoned across it! With snow under your little tootsies! If you're down there next Boxing Day then the nesh Mr Stephen really MUST brave those Welsh waves! I dare him. In fact I double dare him!

7:55 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Glad to hear you were able to gyre and gimble in the wabe.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

I'm chortling in my joy.

7:58 pm  
Blogger John said...

Well done, you look really chuffed, and so you should be

8:12 pm  
Blogger Silverback said...

Bloody idiot.

5:13 am  
Blogger Fourcroft said...

Great description, Daphne. Thanks & especially thanks for going in.
Chris
(Chair of the Swim Organisers: Tenby Sea Swimming Association

12:48 pm  

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