I often struggle to celebrate my own successes – and I’m sure I’m not the only one like that – but over the last two weeks since the Windermere swim I’ve tried to look back on it and allow myself a smile or two.
The thing is, people were congratulating me for the swim itself which just felt wrong to me. It was tough, but once I’d got in and got going I knew there was no way I wasn’t going to finish. So it seems strange to be congratulated for something that was self-evidently going to happen.
But as I’ve thought about, what I have allowed myself to be pleased about is not completing the swim, but that fact I got myself to start able to complete it. My very first post on this blog was on April 23rd this year – and that is when I committed to the plan of swimming Windermere. However what I was committing to was swimming it next year! My very first outdoor swim of the year was on May 13th – and that was in a wetsuit! And then on June 2nd I did my first proper event – a 3 mile swim in Budworth Mere – and I thought that was a long way at the time.
So in just over 4 months I’ve gone from deciding to do it; in 3 months I’ve gone from swimming 3 miles and being delighted with that – to now, swimming 10.5 miles.
That’s what I’m most pleased about.
I said as I was getting in, what gave me the confidence to set off was knowing that I’d done everything I could to prepare for it – I would have liked to do more, but for me I did the maximum possible. I knew that if I didn’t complete the swim, then I could hold my head up and be proud anyway. That’s what I’m most pleased about.
All the Olympics stuff this summer has seen a narrative of “If you want something enough, then you can win the gold.” To be honest, much of that is bollocks. It should be: if you’re talented enough, lucky enough to have the opportunities and you want it enough, then you can [win Olympic gold / the Tour de France / US Open etc].
But what is true is that to achieve anything worthwhile (Olympic gold, or coming last at Windermere) takes a lot of effort. Well, I know that I put the effort in and that’s what I’m most pleased about.
9 responses to “I’ve swum Windermere”
I think what this also says that if you have some ability, and put in the work it is a matter of focussing on the goal, and then it is possible to achieve things that may originally have seemed impossible. It is a great lesson for life and for business.
Hi Sue, yes I think that’s a good summary. But it’s also about knowing what the goal is. I don’t want to dampen anyone’s dreams, but the goals have to be realistic – I’m never going to win Olympic gold (or even come first in the Windermere swim), no matter how much I want it. But I can still set a realistic goal and work hard to achieve it.
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Hi Patrick, Firstly well done on your terrific achievement. U must be a natural to achieve this a year early – the glow lasts for a while. This is my 2nd year in the BLDSA and agree (after reading your post) that WE must do something to make it all more accessible for the new people and more engaging from existing people. When I started no-one ever wrote up an experience of Windermere and then I found Mark Robson’s blog – I’ve been trying to write-up experiences of swims so people think its more possible to ditch the wetsuit. I think it is up to us new joiners to lead the way and I think Liane Llewelyn has done a terrific job as president to this end. Keep in touch and hope to catch up with you properly at an event soon. (the double Windermere has your name on it!). Cheers, Mark S
Hi Mark, thanks for that. I did have your Windermere time of 7 hours and 5 minutes at the back of my mind, but I couldn’t get anywhere near it.
I’ve not seen Mark Robson’s blog, so if you could send me a link that would be great.
I agree with you that Liane’s been great – she’s been really supportive of me this year and that’s been a great help. But the Association as a whole just doesn’t seem quite geared to newcomers. Maybe with a few more of us blogging about the experience it might help get more people involved, although strangely I’ve not fallen in love with the swimming. I like the fact that fewer people do it that running for example, I like that I’m one of them. But I’m not sure I love it enough to do Loch Lomond (great swim and great post). Or maybe this is just post Windermere blues. I’ll certainly be around a bit next year, so it would be good to catch up in person.
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