Oh what a night! I had a blast and a few surprises.
As I mentioned earlier, this evening I headed off down to Boscombe for a swim session organised by Bournemouth Coastal Activity Park I’d come across it a few days ago and exchanged tweets with them to find that on a Wednesday evening they run an hour and a half open water session (supervised and lifeguarded) sounded good to me even if £7 sounded like quite a lot to swim in the sea, which after all is free. Lunchtime today they tweeted “conditions perfect – Swim session confirmed as on”. So off I trundled down to Boscombe travelling as light as I could with my wetsuit neoprene gloves, socks, swim hat and goggles. (I had checked beforehand and they said that they had changing facilities but no lockers, so what do I get then for my £7?) In fact I travelled so light that I didn’t take my reading glasses and so when they presented me with forms to fill in I had to have the questions read out to me. Never mind signed up, registered, signed disclaimers and paid my money then headed off to the changing rooms.
Well that was where the surprises started. I walked into a rather large area with only females in there. I stepped outside again to check the signs on the wall, yup definitely says changing male and female, so in I go again and ask the ladies where the changing area was. “Here!” came the response, “its communal but you can use the far end if you are shy!” Well I’m not overly shy but it seemed discreet to change at a distance so I scurried to the end of the room and started to get changed. Then another lady came over and asked if I was there for the Ladies only open swimming session, to which I jokingly replied it seems like it as I’m the only bloke here. “No” she replied “its advertised as being Ladies only, didn’t they say when you paid”. Well it was too late now I was looking forward to my swim. I checked again at the reception desk and they seemed ok with it being just me, and anyway there was a male instructor so I wasn’t completely alone.
Quick briefing on the beach, introductions all around including finding out why we were all there, (seems that Pier to Pier and Triathlons are a bit of a motivator) a bit of yoga and stretching and then we were in the water. We did a few swim exercises and got a good bit of coaching, we spent some time working on sighting, (not surprisingly different to swimming in a clear pool) and swimming towards markers like bouys or that big concrete thing called the pier, and then before we knew it, it was 8pm.
It was a great evening upwards of an hour in the water (a cool 9 degrees) and I hadn’t even felt the cold. I’m astonished by the buoyancy of my wetsuit, no need to tread water when we stopped you just float. I’m better equipped to swim in the murk (you can’t see your hands in front of you in the water) and getting used to the mouthful of salt water that you get occasionally. And then to crown it all the showers (communal again) were piping hot.
As the song says Ladies night Oh what a night! I may even go back next week.