Sunday, November 1, 2015

Swim Social: Interview with Linda Jordanson - a 'Come & Try Open Water Swimming' Survivor!

Linda: "I was really nervous and when I got in the water I didn’t do anything the coach told me to do. I didn’t relax, I didn’t acclimatise and I panicked. I had to signal to come out half way through and was in tears in the car on the way home"

Mum of four, Linda Jordanson took park in a Scottish Swimming outdoor “Come and Try” event six months ago and has decided to set herself a highly ambitious challenge – she wants to swim the English Channel. 

Linda says "I went to a Beginner’s “Skills and Drills” class where the coach showed me how to breathe and move properly because I wanted to improve my pool swimming. That got me on the Scottish Swimming mailing list and a few weeks later I signed up for another indoor class at Stirling University where coaches introduced us to some of the techniques needed for outdoor swimming - how to swim round buoys, how to sight in the pool and how to swim in big clusters in a group."

Linda then received an email about a Come and Try session at Knockburn Loch in Aberdeenshire. Linda said "It was challenging because it was really cold, but it was really sunny so it was a really positive day to do it. Our coach got us in the water and comfortable in the wetsuit and told us to do our own thing and not worry about what everyone else was doing. I practiced some of the techniques I learned in the pool." 

Linda decided she wanted to get more involved in open water swimming and signed herself up to the Loch Venachar Mile Challenge.

But everything didn’t go to plan for Linda at the Loch Venachar. Linda said "I was really nervous and when I got in the water I didn’t do anything the coach at Knockburn told me to do. I didn’t relax, I didn’t acclimatise and I panicked. I had to signal to come out half way through and was in tears in the car on the way home. I was with my ten year old son and it was a total role reversal when he said "You can do it, you’ve just got to keep trying".

Linda decided to go back home to Aberdeenshire and reassess. Linda said, "I went to Knockburn Loch and I did everything the coach had taught me. I started with baby steps again. I spent ten minutes getting acclimatised, putting my face in the water and doing a couple of laps and coming out, and the next time I went in I did a little bit more and a little bit more and I stuck to everything she taught me."

It was then time to take part in a Come and Try session at Loch Lomond. Linda said "It was the same coaches I had met at Knockburn and they said 'You’ll be fine, just get in give it a shot'. I was really nervous. I told them I got pulled out of the water at the Venachar Challenge and they said 'That was last week, that’s passed just keep moving forward'. I had a cracking session, it was a beautiful morning and the coaches were really positive and it was just a great experience."

The emails kept coming and the challenges kept growing – Linda signed up for the Great Scottish Swim at Loch Lomond.  Linda said, I did the one mile challenge and I managed to do it in 39 minutes and 46 seconds, which is pretty amazing because I didn’t think I could do it at all but I managed to overcome my fears.’

Feeling energised Linda decided to set herself some more challenges with ultimate goal being to swim the English Channel. Linda said "I thought if I can do the Come and Try session and swim the mile, then I can put the Channel at the head of my goals and work towards it. I am going to continue to swim at Knockburn Loch, but I am going to swim the Chill Swim at Coniston Water, which is a five and quarter miles swim. If I can do another couple of Great Scottish Swims and longer distance swims and keep signing up for whatever Scottish Swimming emails at me, I think I can do it. I’ve got five years before I am 50, so I am going to pitch myself towards swimming the English Channel. My Husband thinks I am mad, but he thinks I should have something to work towards!"

Linda is keen to encourage more people to take-up open water swimming. She said "It makes you feel so alive. It really is an incredible thing open water swimming, great experience. You meet some fabulous people. Everyone I met at all of the training sessions was so friendly. It was just great fun, lots of laughter and lots of learning."

There will be more chances to take part in an open water come and try session next year, but if you would like to improve you skills before then check out Scottish Swimming’s website for more details of skills and drills classes in your area. There’s something for people at all level of swimming abilities.

For more information on our Skills and Drills Classes - please click here

Check our Adult Swim Series for 2015-2016 - please click here


Linda was interviewed by Chris Kane