Posted by Jess Needham
Penguin training sessions are great, but for me, there’s nothing quite like swimming in the sea. So, Fran’s suggestion of a day trip to the Isle of Wight to participate in the 2017 Pier to Pier Swim – 2.8k from Sandown to Shanklin – was my kind of adventure.
The Sandown to Shanklin swim is a fantastic, relaxed and fairly small event, about 90 participants overall, run by friendly people. Swimming conditions were ideal – calm seas with a gentle swell; an outgoing tide which made you feel like you were flying along sometimes; warm sunshine (thank you summer for returning!); and a bit of cloud cover to take any glare off the water. The water was fresh and cool when you first got in (no wetsuits permitted!) but it was soon just right for cruising along the IOW’s lovely coastline.
Fran and I were rewarded with placings of 4th and 3rd respectively out of a field of about 30 in the women’s event. Steve Baker, whom we stumbled across at Sandown beach, beat the PB he set 14 years earlier as well. However, apart from the swim, the highlight for me was being able to enjoy a beautiful stretch of sea with a group of likeminded swimmers. Everyone seemed to have that post-swim grin as we sipped soup on the beach at the end.
Thanks Lindsey Shenton and her team at Isle of Wight Marlins Swim Club for organising a wonderful event. Fran and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Thanks also to Steve Baker for the pre- and post-swim banter, and for cheering us on at the finish (because the men’s wave started 2 minutes before the women).
Next year’s swim is scheduled for Saturday 11 August at noon if you’re interested (http://iowmarlinsswimclub.co.uk/).