Hope you’ve all had a great February.
Think we got a little bit over excited with the warmer temps that we experienced recently. I know I certainly did. What a joy it was to finally get 3 outdoor bikes done in a week and not feel like I wanted to stand in hot shower for an hour afterwards.
But in true British style the temps have dropped again and I’m back to wearing about 4 layers poolside. Just remember the saving grace is with each week we tick off the closer we are getting to spring.
For those who are attending my training camp at Club La Santa, Lanzarote at the end of month, there are just a few weeks left before you will feel that sun on your face once again. It will be our first camp since covid kicked off and I’m super excited to get out there. I am also considering running another training camp at the same venue in October this year for people that like to swim, bike and run. The aim will be to give your new training year a huge kick start. The ability level will be mixed so if you are reading this and are interested pleased feel free to drop me an email to let me know.
Not much to report this month as most of you are getting well and truly stuck into your training. There was another outbreak of colds/ sore throats and flu like symptoms that kicked off again about 10 days ago. Several of you went down with the same thing but thankfully bounced back quickly within 3-4 days. It was great to see most of you taking the sensible approach and just backing off and taking a couple of rest days straight away, then slowly easing back into training.
Some athletes do find this time of year a struggle with the cold weather, dark mornings and evenings. But there are the odd few that thrive. One of these athletes was our legendary swim squad member Sami Robertson who recently competed at the International Ice swim Championships at the Sandiford Lido, Cheltenham. A former channel swimmer and lover of all things cold water based he competed at multiple distances:
100m – 1:13 (1st in age group 6th overall)
250m – 3:40 (2nd in age group 10th overall)
1000m – 16:31 (2nd in age group 5th overall)
It won’t stop here; Sami has told me his next goal is to swim an ‘ice mile’ and to compete at the World Championships. If there’s one thing I know about Sami, is he loves a challenge and has found the physical & mental health benefits of cold-water swimming immensely satisfying. It’s also huge stress reliever and a form of meditation for him.
A big part of what drives Sami is the exploration of what the body can do. He said that he couldn’t believe the differences between swimming in a water that was 5 degrees versus water that is just 3 degrees. What you experience can be hugely different and the tolerance to it had to be built up it very slowly over time. Typically, you slow down by about 20% swimming in water this cold.
But what he loved the most was the people he met during his journey. Characters from all walks of life with a similar passion.
He’s a braver man than me and his commitment and dedication to his craft to get in a freezing cold lake several times of weeks was hugely inspiring to see.
You can follow his cold-water swimming journey @sami_roberston on Instagram.
Some of my favourite things this month…
I’m sure most of you have watched the Oscar winning film – Chariots of fire. I first watched this film 30 years ago and finally watched it again only a few weeks ago. This film is about 2 men, Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell and their pursuit of the 100m gold medal at the 1924 Paris Olympics.
I’ll be honest and say I didn’t enjoy the film as much second time around but what I did find quite fascinating was the runner Eric Liddell known as ‘The Flying Scotsman’. For me he was the standout character for many reasons. He was a man of great talent but even greater integrity, he was also the consummate sportsman. What was quite extraordinary was how strong is religious beliefs were in refusing to run in the 100m heats at the Paris Olympics because they fell on a Sunday. Eventually switching last minute to the 400m that he hadn’t trained for. The rest is history.
So much so it inspired me to read this amazing book of his life, what a read it proved to be. What happened at the Olympics was just a very small part of who this man was. The deeper more meaningful phase was the life he chose for himself and his family as a missionary in China during the outbreak of the second world war. This is a fascinating historical insight into not just the man but also the world at that time. The extraordinary service he gave to so many people less fortunate than himself was awe-inspiring.
If you loved ‘Drive to survive’ or ‘Breakpoint’ you will love this new offering from Netflix. Full Swing shines a light on the inside workings of elite level Golf. This 8-part series tracks the highs and lows of some of the best players in the world. It was also filmed at a time where golf was entering its most turbulent time in its long history with the launch of the new LIV golf series of events backed by Saudi Money. This is something that has divided the sport and you get to watch it all play out in this fascinating series.
2 leaders of our sport and 2 very different visions. These podcasts have been controversial to say the least. Love him or loathe him Jack Kelly asks the tough questions people want to hear. I’ll let you decide what you think of their answers…
Team out & About
‘The Little Fish’ may have left us for Dubai, but she reassured me she has found a nice little pool to swim in. Middle Eastern swim camp anyone?
Diving into another swim week at Team Nagi headquarters with ‘Backstroke Bridget’!