Brockwell Brrrrr

The first Brockwell Lido Cold Water Swimming Gala took place on Sunday morning under brilliant Brockwell blue skies.

It may have seemed warm on the outside, but a water temperature of 3.9 degrees told a different story.

Cold water swimming is going through a resurgence in South London. The South London Swimming Club over at Tooting Bec has always been strong.

This has been the first season where Brockwell Lido is open seven days a week throughout the winter months.

There was no shortage of competitors for the 11am start on Sunday morning. Swimmers from other London lidos and clubs were invited to assemble their teams.

As well as Brockwell and Tooting representation, there was also teams from the Windrush Swimming Club and various informal swimming groups.

The safety talk took place first. Races were only competed over a width of the art deco pool. Most swimmers were incredibly experienced and actually relished the cold water challenge.

A sizeable crowd started to gather as the competitors were given the pre-race briefing.

Keeping the BONKERS theme of cold water swimming strong was Clive Broadbent and his amazing Dalek swimming hat. Clive was invited to swim a length of the lido to open the Gala.

Try and follow that…

Nine races were then competed for. Age categories covered the under 45’s, over 45’s and over 60’s. Cold water swimming is generally for the more mature crowd.

The competitors included a very brave chap on crutches. His leg was wrapped in a plastic bag coating once he entered the water.

Individual races, relays and the rather chaotic Pot Luck Plunge were all on the race schedule. I still have absolutely no idea what the rules were for the Pot Luck Plunge. It seemed to involve handing over wristbands.

The Gala was superbly organised. The races kept flowing, leaving some mad dashes from the two hot tubs as swimmers were called upon once again during their recuperation period.

After an hour of racing and the overall winners were not surprisingly team Tooting Bec 1. The Tooting seconds and Out to Swim both tied in second place. Streamline picked up the third place position.

The amazing cake effort from the Lido Cafe girls was rightfully crowned as the winning cake entry for the morning. All of the cakes were then offered up as a reward for both swimmers and spectators.

This was a brilliant effort. Hopefully it has started a tradition that will now continue at Brockwell Lido. The race organisers and sponsors Fusion Lifestyle jointly pulled off something quite special.

Come on in. The water’s… as we use to claim back in the day.

Brrrrr.

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