Covid 19 doesn’t stop Connie Emmet from her attempted Channel swim at home! Yes it is a paddling pool!
Writing the Cranleigh Swimming Club article for this magazine focuses the mind on the passing of time. As I write, I am usually mindful of the season, often observing how it is reflected in the weather. The changing of the seasons punctuates the repetitive schedule of club swimmers. It is a nice reminder to take stock. To look back on all that our hard-working swimmers have achieved, as well as forward to the goals that lie ahead.
It is hard to put a positive spin on the last few months. Many people have gone through significant and unexpected hardships. And it is not only in the past tense. Our society, our economy, our culture, our village life are all affected. And above all, this has been against the backdrop of a substantial health risk to our families and friends.
Like so many organisations, Cranleigh Swimming Club has been hard hit by the consequences of the virus. One of the great things about our club is the community. For the swimmers, the social side of swimming is a huge pull. As I have written before, our children train very hard and put in long hours of demanding work. Doing that on their own would be almost impossible. Going through that as part of a team, driving each other on, it not only becomes possible but suddenly is a draw.
And then there is the parent community. The club is full of welcoming and friendly people, spending significant time sharing a common interest. It is hard not to make good friends. When my own children became involved with the club, it was the first time I really felt part of this wonderful village.
And as for so many others, limiting our community life leaves a big hole.
But it is not helpful to dwell on the negative. In spite of it all, there have been many things to be grateful for. Generally, everyone’s sacrifices have been made in good grace, with people doing their best to help us all get through this. By and large, people have been more considerate and looked out for each other. We have also been very fortunate with the weather. The sunshine has meant that being outdoors is appealing. As outdoor places dominate where we can safely spend our time, we should be thankful.
Beyond that, the selflessness of key workers continues to be inspiring. People working in extraordinarily difficult situations have received the lion’s share recognition. But behind the scenes, there are many unassuming workers going about their daily work. It is important that the contributions of these often overlooked people are recognised. And celebrated. Again, as last month, and from everyone at Cranleigh Swimming Club: thank you.
In January, when I thought about the swimming articles for the year ahead, I expected my June update to be significant. Our pre-coronavirus schedule was very busy for this time of year. We would have had several open meets to report on, as well as Regional Championships. Given the circumstances, these have all been cancelled and there is very little news to report.
For swimmers, it is not clear when and how things will resume. Some initial thinking about the implications of social distancing in a pool environment is taking place. This will hopefully mean that the club can get back to some form of training when facilities reopen. It won’t be before July but, hopefully, swimmers will be back in the water in the not too distant future. Competitions are a different matter. Swimming open meets are crowded affairs. There are lots of swimmers and spectators in an indoor and relatively confined space. At least, this should give our swimmers some time to recover some of their extraordinary fitness levels before they compete again.
And talking of fitness, many of us non-swimmers have been doing more exercise than normal. Partly it has been because we have more time, and partly because it has been one of the legitimate ways to leave our houses. But for swimmers, it has been the opposite. Their fitness levels are normally far above average. Their challenge has been to try to exercise to prevent it dropping off too significantly. And it is fair to say they have been inventive.
From land-based training, to running or cycling there have been some great efforts. Joe Wick’s online daily PE workouts have been followed closely by many members. Elsewhere, there was an engaging virtual head-to-head 5km run battle between Sophie Moore and Abi Southwell. It ended with both setting astonishing 5km times of a few seconds over 20 minutes. And then another of our members, Annabel Morton, ran 3km averaging a searing 3:19 per kilometre.
The fortunate few who have access to pools or improvised pools have also been working hard. Ruby Mort swam 260 lengths of a 15m pool, raising money for NHS charities. Connie Emmet has set herself the challenge of swimming the length of the channel in her paddling pool. She is raising money for the Royal Surrey Foundation. If you wish to support her efforts, please visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/connieswimchallenge. For more ideas of some of the things our members are doing, why not follow the Cranleigh Amateur Swimming Club page on Facebook?
And so, like everyone, we are muddling through. We’ll keep doing so and we hope you will too. We continue to wish you the very best and hope you stay well and healthy.
If you are interested in joining Cranleigh ASC, visit our website www.cranleighsc.org.