After my first time trial, it was time for my first open water event. If you take my journey over the years, I’ve managed to do a triathlon in reverse! With Covid restrictions (understandably) laying travel plans to waste, it was a nervous build-up in more ways than one.

I wasn’t alone this time, first-up I’d managed to talk my girlfriend into entering the 500m event and Zara and Angela from Tyne Tri were also going to be doing the mile event. So it was off to the Lake District we went!

With a start time around 12pm, I decided to go the day before so I could drive without stress, with Angela and Zara heading across on Sunday morning. With some time to kill, I went for a course recce. Looks like everything was ready; Jeannette the Duck was floating waiting to welcome us.

After a summer of using the North Sea for our swimming, it was a pleasant change to dip my fingers into Coniston water. Looks like our swim is going to be quite mild!

Sunday morning comes and it’s time to head to the car park and… would you believe that Angela managed to pull up right next to us? What are the chances! We took some photos and sat around waiting for our waves to get called up. Angela and Zara were up first at 11.30. We took some socially distanced photos (the camera is deceptive, we’re definitely 2m apart), and they were off!

Time for me to get ready, 11:50 wasn’t feeling too far away! Down to the red arch, everything was really well organised and ran smoothly. Sanitise, show your number, grab your hat and chip and queue up to get in. The announcer was having a whale of a time in the water as he welcomed us in and we headed straight for Jeannette.

“444? Ok, go!” and I’m away! I start swimming and quickly realise I’m going to leave my wave behind as I approach the first buoy. Just try not to blow yourself up in the first 10 minutes, Scott! I hit the second buoy and look behind me, there’s a fast group approaching. Maybe I’m not as fast as I thought? As I round buoy 3, they start to pass and social distancing becomes a thing of the past. Now I know why they call it the washing machine! On the plus side, they seem to know where they’re going, so I don’t need to sight as often. Just follow this guy to my right. The 4th buoy comes and goes… and so does the group. They must have been from the wave before. Thanks for the lift anyway!

Lap 2 starts and it starts to feel a bit more lonely now. On my way round buoy 3 again, I’m starting to get a bit disoriented. I take a second to ask one of the marshals which way I need to go. I think it’s starting to take its toll! Once I’m round buoy 4, though, I can see the blue arch and hear the announcer again calling us all in. One last push until I start to feel the stones running through my hands.

Then the final challenge begins: standing up. This one’s a bit new to me! Luckily nobody has a photo of me stumbling in the water like I’ve had a night on the toon! I drop my timing chip off, grab my medal and t-shirt and I’m done! Official time: 37 minutes 58 seconds! That’s a bit better than the 50 minutes I thought I’d do and not too shabby considering I couldn’t swim this time last year!

One last photo with the gang and I’m definitely looking forward to coming back!

Holly Argent3.8k1:01:54
Arabella Pearce3.8k1:08:37
Zara Hough1 mile0:36:08
Angela Mason1 mile0:37:32
Scott Walton1 mile0:37:59
Our official times

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