In The Swim - Part 3

Next May, a team of licensing execs will take on the challenge of swimming around the Maltese Islands to raise money for the Light Fund. In his third column, Stephen Gould updates us on the team's progress...
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In the early morning of October 24th, Jane Kennedy and myself met with Simon Murie and John Coningham-Rolls from Swim Trek for the first proper meeting de-brief for the Maltese Islands charity swim next May.

As Swim Trek is also organising the fifth World Cold Water Swimming Championships in February 2008 at Tooting Bec Lido, it seemed only appropriate that we met there.

Aside from discussing trip logistics, a dip was also on the cards. Not surprisingly, very few other swimmers were at the pool and gingerly the four of us entered the water of only ten degrees centigrade, in an air temperature of nine degrees centigrade. To give you a comparative analysis, most indoor pools would be around 28 degrees and when the Titanic sank, the water temperature was an horrific 1.6 degrees centigrade.

To say that this was a pleasurable experience would be a tad off the mark. The pain that numbing cold water inflicts is quite remarkable - a combination of being stabbed with knitting needles whilst simultaneously being immersed in acid would probably be a fair perceptual description.

The feet are the first to succumb to anaemic drunkeness and then it's your bits as they go under too. Next is the chest and arms as you literally gasp for breath from constricting lungs and then comes the dolphin dive and under you go - ice cream head is excruciatingly painful and we're now swimming the 91 metre length towards the deep end.

Will the heart weather the storm? Will cramp attack without warning? Will we swallow any of these autumnal leaves?

The fact is that the longer you stay in, the warmer it feels as your body slowly shuts down - and then it's the return leg and back to the shallow end. We stand up for immediate relief as the cold October air actually feels warm. This is how hypothermia catches the unwary. Then it's a quick photograph for this accompanying blog and a sprint into the hot showers.

Regrettably, however, the intended sprint is a rather mundane hobble as none of us can feel our feet! Indeed, was another three hours before I could feel mine.

John and Simon would not allow us to loiter for too long under the hot water for fear of chillblains and then it was straight into the lido cafe for a well deserved and medicinally needed DIY hot coffee. It was another 40 minutes before I stopped shivering, throwing most of the coffee over myself and my hosts, whilst also jibbering away with a mouth that wouldn't work.

As for Jane, her Irn Bru upbringing in Dundee means she is made of sterner stuff - an exemplary performance for a first effort in cold water and one which even impressed the guys from Swim Trek. That said, both Jane and I succumbed to the same nasty chill in the old internals later in the day and, without going into detail, an early morning swim in such cold water is an excellent way to shed a few pounds.

Our next swim was on Saturday November 3rd at Hampton Open Air Pool. This time, however, it was heated.


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In The Swim - Part 2

Next May, a team of licensing execs will take on the challenge of swimming around the Maltese Islands to raise money for The Light Fund. In his second column, Stephen Gould, co-managing director of 4Kids, updates on the team's progress...


In the Swim - Part 1

Next May, a team of licensing execs will take on the challenge of swimming around the Maltese Island to raise money for The Light Fund. In the first of a regular series of columns, Stephen Gould, co-managing director of 4Kids, asks for your support?

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In The Swim - Part 4

This May, a team of licensing execs will take on the challenge of swimming around the Maltese Islands to raise money for The Light Fund. Here, team member Ian Downes from Start Licensing, updates us on his progress...

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In The Swim - Part 6

Okay, so it's now April; meaning the Light Fund swimathon is a little over a month away. Scary stuff, but Hamlin's Ian Down seems to be on track to complete the challenge...

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In The Swim - Part 5

There's just three months to go until our 16 swimmers head off to Malta for their gruelling swim challenge. Richard Flook picks up the blog mantle...



Warner Bros' David Binnie, Beanstalk's Ciarán Coyle, Woolworths' licensing manager Sonya Little and Mary Vacher from Random House Children's Books complete our round up of Board member profiles...



There are 11 founding members of the newly formed Board. Over the course of the next few days, Samantha Loveday will introduce them all, their career history and how their experience can benefit the site. For starters, here's the lowdown on Stephen Gould, Ian Downes and Peter Byrne...

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