I mentioned in my previous post that I have only ever done pool based swims and having heard that open water swimming is a different experience I really needed to get into some cold open water before facing Hever Castle Lake in the Gauntlet, I also needed to christen my wetsuit which had not seen the light of day since I brought it 3 months ago!
Having spoken to a work colleague who I knew had some experience of lake swimming I decided to try out Nemes Diving and Watersport Centre based at Holborough Lake near Snodland. New swimmers to the site are required to pre book a swim assessment under the watchful eye of rescue boat, so thats what i did.
After squeezing myself into my wetsuit and an initial safety briefing we were ushered into the clear clean water by our instructor, I was preparing myself for the cold, desperate not to scream in a high pitched voice as I lowered myself in, unfortunately there was the odd shriek as the cold water filled my wetsuit.
After a couple of tips on how to swim in a straight line, (which is harder than you would think) we were asked to swim 50m to the first buoy, and then another 100m to the 2nd. The first buoy was easy to find, a bright orange ball just in front of us, the second however was far enough away that it was hard to see without stopping to lift your head out the water. Our instructor advised us to aim for the centre line of the building opposite and promised us that this would lead us to our destination.
Having managed this without grabbing onto the kayak or visibly struggling apart from the odd check that we were going in the right direction we were given the all clear to continue in our own time, (achievement unlocked, assessment complete).
Having not swum in a lake before I never really appreciated quite how invigorating and free it can make you feel, you soon become accustomed to the temperature which I was assured was 21° and start to feel much more connected to the nature which surrounds you. If you are a regular swimmer at your local pool or just fancy a new way of just getting out there I would definitely recommend giving open water swimming a try and I found Nemes a friendly and safe place to jump in.
If you want to share your experiences of open water swimming in Kent then pop us an email to ExploreKent@Kent.gov.uk or share with us on social media.
You can support Steve in the Hever Castle Half Iron Man and raise fund for the NSPCC by clicking on the link below.