9th June 2021

Swimming out of lockdown

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Jamie Robinson

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Last year was a bit of a blur for me, as I’m sure it was for many others. I spent most of lockdown isolating, eating copious amounts of ice cream and watching everything Netflix had to offer - just to get me through the days.

And then just as life was looking a bit brighter, lockdown number two came in and completely drowned my mental state, you mean I have to go through this again? I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a struggle. I was missing friends, family and simply having some sort of routine. I’d pretty much hit rock bottom and was in desperate need of something to aim for.

I very reluctantly agreed to a triathlon relay that, at the time, seemed a million miles away. This was mainly to do with the fact that no one else in the group could swim, but I also thought it’d be easy - boy was I wrong. As the lockdown rules started to ease (and with only 3 months left until the event) I could actually put my swimming skills to the test, I soon realised just how difficult a 2.4 mile swim was going to be.

The open water was freezing, I had no wetsuit and I’d swam about 50 metres. I was having a panic attack in the water, struggling for breath. Just to put it into perspective, that was about 1.32% of what I needed to do on the day of the event. My memories of being a good swimmer as a child came crashing down, I couldn’t even maintain a front crawl for more than a few seconds.

I spent the next day really beating myself up, and having to try and make up an excuse to let the lads down. I couldn’t do it. It was at that very moment I decided I had to do this. This was the mental and physical challenge I needed to lift me up out of lockdown, and I'd rather drown than throw in the towel.

My personal time schedule completely changed. I went from having all the free time in the world to having none. My life for the next three months was all about swimming, so much so, I’d dream about it as well. I’d swim or train almost every evening in the week, focusing on technique and stamina in a pool, and on the weekend getting used to the feeling of open water. My weight dropped from 14 to 12.5 stone and I was talking about it so much I truly felt sorry for anyone I talked to.

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The days vanished before my eyes and event day was soon approaching. As we were all putting in a lot of effort, we decided it would be nice to set up a fundraiser for Cancer Research. With all three team members having had family battle cancer at some point, we all wanted to dedicate our efforts in honour to those that have either fought or lost their lives to cancer.

Our goal was to raise £200 but with the unbelievable support from our friends and family, we’ve been able to raise over £1400 so far! It’s with that very generous support we were able to really focus on our challenges, and I’m very proud of everyone's performance. Not only did we complete the event successfully, but we were the quickest ultimate distance relay team on the day; completing the 2.4 mile swim in 1:32:37, the 112-mile cycle in 6:04:21 and the 26.2 mile run in 4:10:56 with a combined time (including transitions) of 11:50.26.

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With that being said, I want this to be less of an article on personal achievement, and more of a tribute and a thank you to all those that have donated and supported a great cause. Lockdown has been a challenging and difficult time for everyone, and I hope others can find motivation in setting goals for themselves and not live life with any regret.

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