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Aquatic Chimp's Swimming Adventures

Why Swim4Dylan?

AquaticChimpby AquaticChimpJun 11th 2012
Before I really launch into this, let me begin by saying I really don't why I've decided to start writing about my plans, experiences, and future results, other than I thought it might be nice to look back on this in years to come.

Where do I begin? I suppose a bit of history about me, and why I'm going to swim what I'm planning to swim.

As an infant it was quickly apparent to my parents that I loved the water. If there was water, I was fascinated, and had no fear of it. So swimming lessons from an early age, is what my parents decided. I started off at around age 4, going to lessons at Studley Swimming baths, on a Saturday morning, for half an hour at a time. I soon progressed, and loved being in the water so much that I joined my local Swimming Club, at Hewell Road. I started off swimming at Studley on a Saturday morning, and at Hewell Road on a Wednesday evening, both swimming widths. I don't remember much about swimming in the early years, other than loving every minute of my time in the water.

I moved into the top group at Studley, and started to learn butterfly, "Kick your legs, through moving your body like a dolphin", I was told by my teacher David. David was in his senior years (or at least that is how I remember him when I was around 10 years old). David's enthusiasm for swimming, positive encouragement, and methodology of learning to swim being such fun is what had me completely hooked on swimming and being in the water. When I tried butterfly it felt alien, shattering, and energy intensive, but as far as I was concerned I was swimming like a dolphin.

I soon left swimming at Studley behind (for now), and concentrated on swimming for Redditch swimming club, at Hewell Road. I was now swimming lengths and in one of the squads at the club. I initially swam on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening, and on a Sunday afternoon. I soon realised that I was pretty quick at sprinting, especially butterfly. As I started to go up through the squads, getting quicker, picking up club medals I started to train harder, swimming Tuesday and Thursday mornings before school, in addition to the other swimming. Saturday was the only day of the week I didn't get in the water, or do anything to do with swimming. That didn't last long as at 13 years old I went back to Studley and helped out as a Swimming Assistant. I now was at the pool everyday of the week. Any excuse to get in the water was jumped at. I carried on and soon qualified as a swim teacher and tried to be as enthusiastic as David was, who still taught group four.

I continued to train, swim for the club, and eventually swam for the county, picking up Bronze in the 50M butterfly. I also joined the local Army cadets and picked up silver in the individual medley at the Army Cadet National championships. I was very proud of my achievements, but I hit 18 years old and other distractions started to take me away from competitive swimming. Although I still went to the pool when I could and had a "play" around.

My life moved on and swimming became more of a holiday activity, although any time I'd go to the coast I got in the sea, any pools at Holiday / work facilities was used as much as I could. I still remain to this day drawn to water. Something about the reflective, glistening fluid top calls to me, that I can not resist.

I got married and had children, which brought me back to swimming. My youngest child was born with spastic diaplegic cerebral palsy, which mainly affects the mobility and strength in his legs. As he got older we realised that we needed to make some changes to our family home, as my son can't climb stairs when his legs fatigue, can't walk long distances, so needs a downstairs bedroom and bathroom. Both my wife and I work full time, and we live to our means. We eventually realised that converting the garage into a bedroom and wet room for our son would be the best short and long term solution for helping our son be as independent as he longs to be. Could we do this on our own, can we find the money from somewhere to make this idea a reality? Yes and no was our conclusion. We could pay for the building work, or pay for the equipment to kit out the bedroom and wet room with the equipment that would make our son's life easier, more independent from needing to ask for help, when actually he'd rather struggle on.

We decided on a fundraiser, but what, how, where, when?

Water and swimming came calling again. I'd kept my ties to the water, always swimming / snorkelling / water sports / pools, sea, lakes wherever we were I was called to water. My father moved to North West Wales, living in the shadow of the Snowdonian mountains. I loved visiting the Lakes, or Llyns as they are known, and the sandy beeches of Anglesey. My snorkelling and diving around to see what's hiding on holidays meant I took an interest in freediving and wild swimming. My wife isn't keen on the water, mainly due to be a very weak swimmer, and only ever goes in the pool on holiday, to cool down, and never deeper than waist deep. Sat at home one evening watching one of the many programmes about Wild Swimming gave me the inspiration My wife and I needed.

Why don't I swim some of the lakes near to Dad?

I started researching the lakes, and was set on the idea. I was always a sprinter as a swimmer, so wanted to complete some sort of distance. This added to the cold temperatures of the mountain Llyns made this idea very attractive to me. Following the research I decided I wanted to swim the two mile length of Llyn Padarn, Llanberis, and swim the magnificent Llyn Idwal, Capel Curig, with both lakes having stunning dramatic backdrops and the cold temperatures to make this a special challenge for me, on a personal, emotional and I suppose spiritual level. The water had spent my entire life calling me, I was now planning on answering the call.

The more I spoke to my wife about it, showing her the locations, the videos, the pictures, the research around cold water swimming and the physiological effects on the human body, the more excited I became. I was astounded when Mrs AquaticChimp said, "I want to do it with you" Once the childish snigger and cheeky raise of the eyebrows had passed, my wife said, "No, swim a lake with you. Obviously not as long as your looking, but can you teach me to swim enough to do a length of the smaller one perhaps".

That was that Swim4Dylan was born, we launched into the trainings ideas, social media, local media, and of course the obligatory website:

I now propose to write about my training experiences, the swim and anything else people want to read about. I hope, if you are reading this, you are enjoying it and might this and my future blog posts of use.

Ta Ta for now, Love, Fun, Laughter and water.
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