Today I had my very first ever swim in the iconic 40 foot. It was also my first swim in Ireland this year.
I’ll be the first to admit I am way behind the whole ‘sea swimming’ curve. As a child I spent pretty much the entire summer in the sea but somehow in the few short years that have passed since then, I’ve lost my sea swimming mojo. I have the same answer to any invite to take the plunge off the island of Ireland; “No way, it’s bloody freezing”. I’m a dyed in the wool (as much wool as possible) perisher. Each year I turn blue around October and remain that colour until around April when I go back to mottled pinky bluey white.
This week however I decided the time had come. Crucially, the forecast was good for the end of the week so the date was made. My great pal and fellow 40 foot virgin Aoife Diamond was enlisted – as her name would suggest, she’s precious, but also hard, no doubt from all that sea swimming she does. (No relation to Neil, no matter what she tells you).
I dug out my grown up swimsuit, which was purchased about fifteen years ago and had never been worn, sparking the slight fear that it might disintegrate upon hitting the water.
The morning was stunning, the sea was like a mirror it was so calm and atmosphere at the 40 foot is lovely. Friendly, relaxed and welcoming, yes definitely welcoming.
There was no messing about with Diamond, she was in like Flynn. There are steps with a handrail down to the sea and on this particular morning there was a little bit of a queue so you have to keep moving – not usually the way I operate when I’m attempting to go for a swim. There’s usually a lot of hopping from one foot to the other, hugging myself, general whinging…it’s a process. No whingey time here, there were four octogenarians behind me gagging to get in. In I plopped and I didn’t have to worry about my cozzie – it held together while I nearly went to pieces – like a puppy jumping into the water for the first time desperately dog paddling, trying to keep their head above water, whimpering ‘it’s freezing, it’s freezing’. Unlike a puppy though, very much not cute.
I was very kindly helped out by one of the aforementioned octogenarians, who promptly forced me to get back in again telling me “it’s much easier when you get in the second time”. I guess it’s the swimming equivalent of getting back on the horse. Mmmmm nice dry warm horse. I got in the second time and it was definitely better. I lasted an entire 20 seconds longer this time. All in all it was a really lovely way to spend a morning.
Aoife went in a second and a third time, professing that she normally likes it a little bit cooler. I’ve realised you learn alot about people when you go swimming with them, for example I never knew my friend was a sadomasochist. For our next excursion she’s suggesting the 6am Wim Rise swim https://www.breathewithniall.com/wimrise . Sigh.