Pool Streaking

Posted on June 23, 2015. Filed under: great scottish swim, swimming |




The idea came to me on Saturday night. Like most of my ideas it could not be described as a good one. In fact it was boss-level, top shelf, championship half-wittery. However, to it’s credit it was at least an idea.

I am a reluctant swimmer these days. Once I am in the drink I normally get on with it without incident except, of course, if the crabbit old bitch is in. But getting in is always the challenge.

With that background, consider this – I have entered the 5k Great Scottish Swim. Five fecking kilometres. Five thousand metres. 200 lengths of yer standard Great British, council sized pool. Idiot.

It’s not unknown territory. I tried this foolishness before in 2012. And it did not go well. In fact, as a direct consequence, I promised never to stick my head in swan shit infested bilge and swim that distance ever again. In fact, also, I vommed a sausage bun with brown sauce in my own mouth and managed to gob it out, to present a floating obstacle to the drafting swimmer on my toes, without missing a stroke. But, like the kind of fool that signs up to do a second Ironman, the painful lessons were conveniently forgotten. And so it was, I entered on a whim. Romantically post rationalising my stupidity as some kind of macho desire to exorcise the demons. But in reality demonstrating that I was a simpleton.

With this in mind I got in the pool seven weeks ago and swam 1200m. I hadn’t swum since Ironman Austria 11 months before. Two weeks later I swan a beautifully symmetrical set, a pair of 1200s, that got me to 2400m. But that trajectory was not going to get me through 5k in Loch Lomond. And right there was born The Idea.

A STREAK would get me going. Not a baws oot, white fatty dash round the jacuzzi, you understand, but some continuous days of swimming. How many I thought?  Seven seemed a challenge given my track record.  What distance I thought? 3000m a day, I replied impulsively and unsurprisingly foolishly.

Now some context here. I was a swimmer. Theoretically I think any distance is swimmable. This is very unlike my run philosophy where I firmly believe that I will spontaneously combust if I run over 26.3miles. Even on my base training of bugger all, a 3000m swim would be no problemo. Hell, back in my teens I would be swimming 50k week in week out. 21k is the kind of distance that Brett Sutton gets swimmers to do every morning before breakfast. But I am old. And fat. And lazy. So 21,000m in a week for me was a demonstration of a whole new level of swim fool.

I tend not to apply a 10% rule Iike we have in running to swimming. If I did apply that logic then last week I would have swum 5250m instead of 21000m. Do I fear injury? Not at all. And to be honest my old, battered and aching swimmer’s shoulders could actually hurt less after an injury now than they do without an injury. Such is the wear and tear of the teenage years of pool bashing on a middle aged body.

Nothing really left to do but get on with it.

Day 1 – MONDAY


My Speedo Jammers as modelled by my body double.

Found my speedo jammers. Noticed the Lycra had pretty much perished down the arse crack region. Daren’t look in a mirror to confirm there is full arse exposure. I proceed with haste across pool deck to the lane exceptionally conscious that everyone loitering outside the steam room will be exposed to faded worn through Lycra arse in every tumble turn.

Remarkably survive day 1 of swim streak without launching toys from my pram and declaring swim streaks are a bloody stupid idea.  Probably aided by having a lane to myself.

Swam: 15 x 200 with 15s rest

Highlight: longest swim since Ironman Austria


I remember the state of my jammers and opt for tri shorts. These are my lady tri shorts that I bought by accident a couple of years ago (there is a story that can be read here) and are now reserved for pool use. They aren’t that bad for swimming except the gusset feels a bit waterlogged for push-offs and drags behind.  In fact, all things considered, they are actually pretty awful for swimming.

To be honest the Monday 200’s involved a bit too much pool end loitering.  Tuesday’s 300’s were a much better choice of set. Less hanging about and more getting on with it, finishing faster and getting the feck out of Dodge.

Swam: 10 x 300 with 15s rest

Highlight: biggest training week since June 2014 pre Ironman Austria


Forget about the state of the jammers and put them in the bag. Putting them on I discover how frail the Lycra actually is. Thankfully there are no children in the pool.

While searching for an alternative form of pool clothing modesty I discover I have 5 pairs of identical goggles in my kitbag. Only one actually provide a window on the world that I can see through. Therein lies my kitbag Russian roulette that leaves me thinking my eyesight is failing in 80% of swims

The set got unnecessarily complicated. And for some reason I decided that mid-way through a swim streak 1200m with big paddles would be a good idea.  Duh.

Swam: 1 x 600 with 15s rest, 12 x 100 paddles on 2 mins, 6 x 200 with 15 secs rest

Highlight: put my big toe through my jammers and exposed my arse to the world 110 times in 110 tumble turns.


This was a tricky one.  Through various procrastinations I found myself getting in the pool 1 hour and 10 minutes before I needed to pick Rory up from nursery.  3000m takes me about an hour.  If I didn’t give it some welly I was going to find the wee laddie sitting outside nursery with a glum look on his face. Or with the cops or something.

So welly it was.  400s proved to be a bit on the long side for my fitness level.  Still feeling remarkably sprightly in the water.

I got to the nursery with time to spare, albeit sweating indecently.  I now look like a chlorinated Stan Laurel.

Swam: 7 x 400 + 1 x 200 with 15s rest

Highlight: chlorine has now made my hair stand up permanently, like some extra from The Muppet Show stuck in a wind tunnel.

Day 5 – FRIDAY

I’ll be honest, it was getting tough.  Although the shoulders were holding together the back muscles were definitely feeling the distance.

Once again I decided to just go for it.  It was Friday evening and I had a cold beer in the fridge.  They switch the lights off at night and it feels a bit like the Playboy Mansion. In my ladyshorts, and with lots of preening Geordie Shore types in the jacuzzi, I was not entirely comfortable with this development.

300m sets are fast emerging as my favourite training distance. An ideal compromise between rest time and endurance.

Swam: 10 x 300 with 15s rest

Highlight: in a swimming pool on a Friday evening for the first time since my last squad session in 1989


I am joined in my lane by a sizeable unit swimming breastroke. It is like encountering the bow wave of the Bismark every few minutes. If you have ever swum in foul weather open water and had the sensation of waves battering down on your head, it was like that.  I was left concussed and disorientated.

Everything was hurting.  300s felt too far, backing down to 200s felt like an admission of weakness.  So I invented a new distance like a modern age Archimedes in a giant, chlorinated, pish filled bath.  But it was no eureka moment – 250s were dull.

Swam: 12 x 250 with 15s rest

Highlight: officially the biggest training week since records began. I suspect.  Probably.

Day 7 – SUNDAY

8am.  A whole new demographic of swim fwends for my last day.  I encountered my first pool triathlete.  No wonder people think we are tools.  Seriously, the only reasons a male swimmer should ever wear a swim cap are if they are in a race, the water temperature is near zero or if they have grown their hair all the way down to their mangina.  He was also wearing speedos.  And, to paraphrase Bill Hicks, I took too many breaths that ended up facing a hairy bobbing man-ass.  Or worse.

As I neared 3000m I knew I couldn’t settle for 21,000m for the week.  I wanted 21,100 metres.  Metric runners will understand the significance.  A half marathon of swimming in a week.

And how to finish?  Butterfly, of course.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 21.15.16

Swam: 10 x 300 with 15s rest, 50 backstroke, 50 fly

Highlight: the swim streak was over and I can still swim fly!

So, what was the outcome of the swim streak? Well my jeans are looser. Despite getting a bit fatigued towards day 7 I was averaging 2 seconds per 100m faster than the start of the week. My arms now feel quite muscularly functional and no longer like Beomax with a slow puncture. Oh, and I need some new swimwear.


I would like to make it clear these are my own views and speedo have not paid me for this blog. Neither have Aquasphere even though I have 5 totally scratched pairs of their goggles. The buggers.


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Hilarious as always. My shoulders started to hurt just reading this…. Well done for smashing it though!


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