Shakespeare Swim 2017

There isn’t much I wouldn’t do for a bacon sandwich. I’ll even get up at 06:45 and swim down a shallow river if leads to breakfast number two. The event is a family run affair and couldn’t have been better managed. Parking was free and straightforward, registration was quick and easy, the swim was very well marshalled, showers were available at the riverside and in the changing rooms and finally, the food station was bounteous.

The swim itself was fast. There is a reasonable current (1mph) and the course is only 1 1/2 miles. The fast wave was released 20 minutes after the slow wave and 10 minutes after the medium wave. Fearing a bacon shortage, it was necessary to go all-out to overtake the swimmers in earlier waves. I’ve no idea what the left bank of the river looks like as I’m too lazy to 3-stroke breathe. The right bank was very pretty and I was surprised at just how shallow the river is. You can stand up at any point and rarely is the water deeper than waist height. There’s plenty of weed in the river, but no sign of pike and the swans kept a sensible distance. Swimming under the bridges in the centre of Stratford was fun, mainly because you know the finish is looming. Even at 09:00 there are plenty of tourists to marvel at 150 swimmers passing through. We exited the river by the chain ferry and were de-registered before walking to the mountain of bacon sandwiches.

I would definitely recommend the event. It only cost £22, which included drinks and food at the finish. I think I’ll now set my sights on the Cliff Lakes Night Swim. They have the most amazing post-swim barbecue.