To Swim Or Not To Swim…

December 1, 2016 by Luke Shipway

This email has been sent in by Sarah who took part in our event at Lake 62 in summer;

As the season comes to an end I have been reflecting on what has been my first year in triathlon. Your lovely email, even if it is just good (indeed, exceptional) customer service, has been one of those little sticks in the sand for me. You told me not to be frightened of the swim, and that it gets easier with practice. Well, here’s how it played out ….

At 07:15 on Sunday 18th September I stood on the sand of Tenby North Beach watching the sun rise. All the photos show I had a big smile on my face as I made my way down to the beach. I was really looking forward to it. I had swum the course on the Friday night with my boyfriend, at the same state of tide, the sea state was much the same too. I knew I could do it with ease and in a respectable time. I ran into the water, ready. But not ready for the way my chest contracted with panic as soon as my face entered the water. It was entirely irrational and, this time, completely unexpected.

You said that it gets easier with practice. What I learnt in that moment was that it’s not the swimming that gets easier (although it does), but handling the panic.
In that moment I was able to make myself relax and deploy the mantra “Not today! Just head for the buoy.”

I’m lucky. I have no fear of swimming, I’m a strong swimmer and living on the coast of Devon I get all the open water practice anyone could wish for, and I love it. But racing, that’s a different matter entirely. The support and encouragement of people like Debbie and yourself have made invaluable contributions to my progress and enjoyment of triathlon this year.

I completed the 2.4 mile swim in 1hr 22mins and finished Ironman Wales 4th in my division.

With heartfelt thanks again for your support and for Debbie’s


About Luke Shipway

I am the event director for LPS Events, designing the courses and working the logistics within the events. With input and feedback from you, the competitor, these events continually get reviewed to improve your race. I also referee, coach and train triathlon, so i can bring you the very best event.

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