Earlier in the year, I was asked if I would take on a challenge event to fundraise for Sea Cadets, at which point I said, the only two things I could do was swim or climb. The team told me that they were entering a new challenge event called Swim Serpentine, so I decided I would give it a go.
My biggest worries before I started were:
- I had not been swimming regularly for 20 years
- When will I fit in the practice?
- Will I be able to swim a mile?
- And my biggest worry was how will I raise the minimum amount (£200)
At every opportunity, I tried to practice. I swam in Scotland White Sands and Gorleston on Sea. During my practice period, I began to worry about the cold rather than the distance so I started to have cold showers, and would purposely swim in cold water to see how long I could last.
I really wanted to raise a substantial sum for the offshore team because I really believe in the impact offshore voyages have. I was really surprised at the support I got from friends, family and volunteers -it made me really happy and motivated.
On the day I was terrified. I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to finish. I’d never swam in cold water, lakes or ponds for longer than 10 minutes. Plus, I’d never swam in a wetsuit before, which made me panic as I wasn’t sure how it would it affect me.
I also needed to swim without my glasses and I actually can’t see without them, but that turned out to be a good thing because I couldn’t see how far I had left. Although, a swan did get in my way which was interesting considering I couldn't see!
A highlight for me was meeting a lovely lady who was also taking it slow, she kept me company most of the way until we were separated by aggressive swimmers.
I finished the challenge in 1 hour 15 minutes which I am very pleased with. Although, it still feels like someone else did the challenge and not me. If I learnt anything from the experience it would be that you can never practice too much!
- Ami Haralambous, National Fundraising Officer
Sponsor me to raise money for offshore bursaries.