Watford Park

WPU3A Swimathon 2018


Yes, thanks to the generosity of our members, we have already reached an impressive total of over £700 for UK Cancer Research and Marie Curie Nurses, with more donations still to come in.

We did it! On the afternoon of Saturday April 28th, a team from Watford Park U3A completed all 200 lengths of the UK National Swimathon in aid of UK Cancer research and Marie Curie nurses.

Waiting For The OffMeeting up on that wet and dull day, we all put on our bravest faces as we approached the challenge that we had been training up for.

The first task was to devise the team strategy to make sure we completed the swim within the time allowed - we had three hours, between 13.00 and 16.00 and a total of 5 kilometers to swim. So on the day, each team member decided how many lengths they felt they could comfortably handle, and I planned to make up the rest at the end - hopefully not too many!A Fine Body Of Swimmers

So, we changed into our swimwear, grabbed our swimming goggles, and headed to the hustle and bustle of the poolside for our registration and briefing from the organisers. There was no going back now!

Team Watford Park U3A was to be in lane 3, wearing the rather fetching red swimcaps. One team member would swim at a time, with two swimmers from other teams, wearing different coloured swimcaps, in the same lane with us. We were definitely the senior kids on the block- no one else there came anywhere near our ages. As if to acknowledge that fact, the organisers had put us in the same lane as the Leisure Centre staff!

Each lane had a member of the pool staff doing the official length count, so at least we didn't have to count and swim at the same time.

The plan was for those wishing to swim the least number of lengths to go first, and then to swim in order of ascending length numbers. This would make the timings, and maths, easier for me to calculate the time I would have to start swimming to complete the 200 length total by 16.00.

Jane Cadd 1Jane Cadd 2Jane Cadd offered to go first - her target was between 20 and 30 lengths. Jane entered the pool with gusto! She was really going for it! Yes, team Watford Park U3A really meant business! Deploying a well-rehearsed backstroke, Jane completed 30 lengths with ease - a young man from another team in our lane had to make way for her to go past. We had made a great start! Well done Jane!

Graeme Harding 1Graeme Harding 2Next to swim was Graeme Harding - modest Graeme had told me that he had not been well and that he was a little concerned about doing any more than around 20 lengths - his absolute maximum would be 30! So in he went alongside Gary, the manager of the leisure centre, and, using a steady, firm breaststroke, gave him a run for his money! Did Graeme want to stop at 20 lengths? No, he did not! Graeme completed 30 lengths and did us proud. Well done Graeme!

Joyce Mackenzie 1Joyce Mackenzie 2Joyce Mackenzie was next. As a real stalwart of our swimming group, I had watched Joyce practising and improving over the previous months. Since starting with the group, she had progressed from a maximum of 30 lengths, with no more than 10 between out-of-breath rest breaks, up to 60 lengths with fewer breaks. Yes, swimming is a great form of exercise for people of all ages, and I know Joyce feels a lot better for it. Using a steady breaststroke, Joyce cruised up to her 40 length target without a rest break in site! Well done Joyce!

Linden Sharpe 1Linden Sharpe 2Linden Sharpe entered the pool in a flash, and was off! Another member of the U3A swimming group, Linden has done a lot of swimming over the years - and it showed! Swapping effortlessly between breaststroke and backstroke, Linden sped along with ease. It was clear that we would complete the task before 4pm, and I could have a nice relaxed swim at the end to finish it off. Linden's target was between 40 and 50 lengths, leaving me between 50 and 60 to complete. Lovely! And things got even better when I was offered a spare lane to swim alongside her and get going even earlier than I had calculated. But Linden had a nice surprise for me! As she could now carry on swimming at the same time as me in a separate lane, she decided to pull out all the stops and completed 52 lengths- more than her stated maximum. Well done Linden!

Malcolm Robb 1Malcolm Robb 2So, by the time Linden finished, I had already been swimming for some time and we had it all wrapped up before 15.40, with me only having to do 48 lengths. Luxury! What a pleasant day!

Spot The One Without A MedalAll that remained for us all, was to receive our Swimathon medals from the orgasnisers, and proudly pose with our mascot!

Then it was off to the pub with Peter Prosser, study group leader of the Watford Park U3A Advanced Photography group, who kindly came along to take all the pictures in this article. Well done Peter!

So, at the end of a very enjoyable day, everyone in the team had gained a sense of personal achievement, along with the satisfaction of having raised money for two very worthy charities. I would like to thank all the team members for taking part and everyone who has sponsored us.