Thursday, April 26, 2012

1 Out Of 2 Ain't Bad....

This had to be one of the strangest winters weather wise there was no calling it from day to day. After having the mile at 6deg at xmas there was always possibility that January and February might bring the temps. Sea Water teethered about the 7deg and somedays dancing under that but only in a teasing sense.

Peddlers Lake deep in the Conor Pass
 The Lakes in Killarney stayed high and though I continued to train at Peddlers Lake the temperatures dipped to 5 degrees. I tossed and turned about doing the swim at Peddlers but the safety element just wouldn't work. I felt that if the day went against me getting down from the lake would genuinely be challenging. Safety is always the priority, the swim will come. David kept us in touch with the temps at Mulroy Bay the coldest inland sea areas in Ireland.
I got a call from Anne Marie friday night to say that the Bay had dipped under the 5deg deep in Mulroy and they were going to swim on Sunday. It was realistic that I wasn't going to make it to Donegal. I have a lot of organsiation to get out of town and despite wanting to travel it would have added way too much stress. It was important that Anne Marie go ahead and take her slot-my time will come.
Anne Marie decided to take the swim as a training swim. If after the 20 minutes the swim was to be it would. The lands ops and marine rescue in place, Anne Marie slipped over the side in a pristine conditions of Mulroy Bay.
Noel Brennan and Willie Sheridan on board along with her brother Ryan they watched as the temperature dropped on all three probes to 4.5deg (40deg) with the underside probe reading 4.1deg. The Ice Swim under International Rules was on. The Coastguard alerted, the arms rotated quite calmly at 62spm. The crew had been at AM's side for all her swims so knowing the swimmer is integral. Anne Marie looked quite calm. The rain started to fall and this would affect the body temperature with air temperature dropped.
After 15 minutes Anne Marie started to feel the effects of the temperatures. There was a coldness in her chest area and she was aware of the blood receding backwards towards her core. Her feet and hands became quite numb. Her baby fingers at 25min mark started to claw and the spasms were something that she had not experienced. Noel counted her stroke rate climb to 72 pm so aware that this was her sign of anxiety as she is standard to 62 pm they took a moment to chat and check. Anne Marie was unaware that she has increased her stroke-
Seeing the progress was energising and when the two minute warning came she started to kick hard. The final few minutes was quite challenging with a burning feeling in her chest area and a few facial stings. I think it is very important to remember that Anne Marie has spent 4 hours at 8deg, 8 hours at 9degs, 19 hrs at 11/12deg and technically this should not really have been such a battle but it was.

Noel keeping guard
Lifting from the water, dressing was assisted and again the crew are great. The shivering set in after 5 minutes but recovery is what they do well so multi layered with thermals and Immersion suits, the guys surrounded her to maintain body heat for the journey back.
The coldness had set into her chest and once back in the house and wrapped in blankets her first sip of warm liquid was met with cold resistance on the way down.
Recovery took a lot longer than the 6deg swim a few weeks earlier. it was an interesting experience. The guys stayed with her until late that evening.
Anne Marie reported feeling mentally tired, with a coldness in her core and laboured breathing-the variable from 4.5deg to 6 was huge and significant in these challenges, much greater on the body than any changes from 8deg -12deg.

That's one from two and once the water drops next winter I'll pough my way into the Ice Swimming list. I must admit it was a wonderful experience, I really enjoyed it and look forward to pushing my body and mind next season. Anne Marie's success means that one of two ain't bad.

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