Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Swim Social: Scott Ramsay "I wanted to learn how to keep out of harm's way when I am competing in open water"

May’s 'Come and Try' Open Water swimming event at the Helix Lagoon in Falkirk attracted over 100 swimmers keen to either dip their toe in the water for the first time, or improve their skills ahead of a upcoming competition.  Linlithgow based swimmer Scott Ramsay is approaching a milestone birthday and has decided to mark the occasion by taking part in a triathlon.  Scott had never tried open water swimming before and we caught up with him both before and after his experience. 

What brings you here today?

I’m doing my first triathlon in the summer in London – I’m going to be 50 this year and so I thought I’d like to get a triathlon under my belt before then.  I wanted to get a feel for open water swimming and learn some of the techniques and how to keep out of harm’s way when I am competing.

Have you done any open water swimming before?

Apart from swimming on holiday or jumping into the occasional river – no.  I swam indoors when I was younger and now I cycle a lot and do a bit of running, so it seemed logical to put the three together and go for a triathlon.  This is my first time swimming outside in a structured way, but I’ve been back in the swimming pool doing between sixty or one hundred lengths each time and that’s been okay, so I think my stamina will hold up. 

What did you learn from today?

I am used to swimming outside on holiday wearing trunks – but it is really different wearing a wetsuit.  The tightness around my shoulders took a little bit of getting used to.  It was cold, but not nearly as cold as I was expecting when I got into the water – and that’s thanks to the wetsuit.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was very different to swimming in a pool.  I actually think it might be better than swimming in a pool. 

I was worried about the lack of visibility and knowing where I was without the side of the pool or markings under the water, but it really wasn’t a problem.  You notice the wind in your face more than I thought I would, and trying to get a point of reference and keeping your head up enough to locate it and keep swimming in the right direction was tricky. 

Swimming in packs was good fun.  We started off swimming in pairs so you got used to having somebody beside you, then it was groups of four, then it was the entire group swimming together.  I think what I need to work on is being slightly more confident, rather than apologising all the time for bumping into people! 

What would you say to anybody thinking of trying open water swimming?

Definitely come down and try it.  It is well worth it, whatever your level of swimming. 

Scott was interviewed by Chris Kane.
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