Saturday, 18 August 2012

In which I go for a swim

After the excitement of meeting Paula Radcliffe last Wednesday, you'd have thought that my week couldn't get any better.  I certainly didn't think it could. But boy, was I wrong.

Last Saturday morning I was on Twitter and saw a series of tweets from Australian Olympic legend Ian Thorpe saying that he would be heading to Tooting Bec Lido on Sunday morning to give swimming tips to people, to get the London 2012 legacy started before he headed home.  Well who would turn down an offer like that?  So I enlisted R, a friend of mine from my swimming days and we arranged to get the train and head up there together.

So Sunday morning saw me get up at five o'clock in the morning to walk Murdoch before I left to get the train.  Oof, super early for a Sunday, it wasn't even fully light, but luckily I was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise.  What a great start to the day.
Good morning!
I had just enough time to feed Murdoch, run in and out of the shower and drive up to Guildford station to get the first train of the morning heading towards London.  I met R outside the station and we got on the train.  Once again I found myself getting off the train at Clapham Junction, but this time the connections were much smoother, no delays and we got on the bus towards Tooting Bec.  And got off it a mile too early.  Oops.  But luckily we had plenty of time to walk to the lido, so no harm done.  

We arrived at around 8.30, in plenty of time and got to watch a weekly race that has apparently taken place for the last 100 years.  Great stuff.  Then Ian Thorpe arrived.  Wow.  What a guy.  On TV he's pretty great, but in real life, he glows.

He gave swimming lessons to all kids that wanted them and then he let a couple of groups of adults have a go.  And one of them was me.

First of all we had the chance to chat to him and ask some questions and then it was time to get in the water! We swam a short way so that Ian could see our stroke and give us some tips.

There I am in the yellow hat!
He advised me that I need to get more movement in my hips, so the next length, I tried to do exactly that and promptly swam in a diagonal line across the pool.  When I raised my head and realised that I'd done that, I treated Ian Thorpe to my loudest cackle.  Oops.  But it was great advice, I'm already getting better extension with my arms.  R also got some great tips and we had an amazing girl in our group who had only learned to swim breaststroke at the beginning of the year taking the first few tentative steps towards front crawl.  Phenomenal.

All too soon it was over, but we had enough time for a quick photo with the Thorpedo.

*excited face*
What a great day.  Ian was really kind and patient, brilliant with the kids and a genuinely nice bloke.  What a fantastic way to kick of a fantastic UK swimming legacy after 2012.


  1. What a great opportunity.

    I trained with an Olympic swimmer in the 70s and 80s, and it really pushed me, both in style and strength.

    Lovely sunrise too x.

    1. Wow, lucky you! We had a couple come to our swimming club when we were kids and they were such an inspiration. Would have been great to get regular input from them!

  2. Fantastic sunrise, glad you had a great day you lucky thing x

    1. It was wonderful, I feel very fortunate x