Date: 18th June 2016
Location: The Serpentine, London
Rules: The women's open-water swim marathon took place over a distance of 10k in the Serpentine in London. The event is a real test of strength and endurance. Athletes raced six laps around the lake, with the fastest taking the gold medal.
Olympic Gold Medal, London 2012: 1:57:38.2 - Eva Risztov, Hungary (10K)
Ellie & Sarah: 0:48:37.1 (1K)
Sarah: It's always a bonus to be able to complete our events in an actual Olympic venue, but for some reason it took us a while to link the fact that the open-swim was held in the Serpentine, and that it would be easy for us to do the same! We arrived early on Saturday morning to a grey and dull day, which meant we only had to share the lake with some serious wet-suited swimmers. It definitely wasn't as cold as I'd been expecting, but still fairly bracing when we got in! I love swimming, but feel nervous being out of my depth when I can't see the bottom, so have always avoided the Serpentine in the past. It took a while to feel confident in the water, and we did a fair bit of faffing about, but we soon both warmed up and got in to the swim, doing faster laps as we went along, and ended up steaming along with faces in the water. We swam the longest distance we'll cover in the challenge; 1km (one tenth of the Olympic distance!), and I definitely felt like I had more in the tank. Hurray for open-water swimming!
Ellie: I really enjoyed this event and am happy to add it to the list of things I will try and continue when we finish in the summer. I'm so non-hardy when it comes to cold water but I really surprised myself by handling the Serpentine's chilly 15C without so much as a wince. 1k is the furthest I've swum in one go, as far as I remember, and it was tough going when you get your stride on. I felt a bit dizzy and disorientated at times but I think this all comes down to not really knowing my stroke to breath ratio. I also felt quite squeamish about the alleged snail parasites that could be lurking in the water... but bobbing along on my back or powering along front crawl were both really enjoyable and I'd love to see myself progress to longer distance, quicker times or events where I get a real medal not a chocolate one!