The Oxford English dictionary defines a pod as, ‘A small herd or school of marine animals.’
I don’t know much marine biology… but what I do know is that pods can be pretty multifunctional.
For example, pods of whales might travel and feed together and some can divide along gender and familial lines or they can form large loose temporary groups. Similarly pods of dolphins can provide protection and build social bonds and at times may even merge into super pods of one thousand or more dolphins.
The swim pod works in similar ways and on Monday a pod of Serpentine ladies merged into a super pod of over 1,000 swimmers at the Eton Dorney Olympic Rowing Lake for the Human Race Eton Swim 2015.
The event includes races from 750m to 10km, bringing together swimmers of all ages and experience, with the 5k and 10k swims divided into waves of wetsuit and non-wetsuit swimmers. It’s a great way to kick off a summer of open water swimming.
Eton Dorney also has a special place in my heart. Last year I raced there as the swimmer in Mel C’s triathlon relay team, racing Team Pendleton in the Human Race Women Only Triathlon. That 400m wetsuit super-sprint swim and the women I raced with that day continue to motivate me. A year on, entering the water in my bikini as part of the Eton Swim 5k non-wetsuit wave, I couldn’t help but smile – It was great to be back!
The 5k non wetsuit swim pod included Elina and Arabella who only started open water swimming in September. This was their first ever open water swim event and first ever 5k. Eli swam front crawl and Arabella swam breaststroke. They both smashed it, inspiring all those around them in the process.
Progressing through two laps of the 2.5km course, I was grateful to find myself assimilated into the momentum of temporary pods of swimmers, supporting one another in silent swimming synchronicity.
Other pods swam past in similar unison and when I stopped at the feed stations, it was pretty cool to take a moment to watch the waves of human endeavour progress through the choppy and temperate water, before diving back in to join them.
Of course, a swim pod isn’t just about what happens in the water. On land we continued to look out for each other. At the finish my post swim dizzy head almost got the better of me, and thank you to the race steward who realised that before I did and was quick to catch me before I fell.
Our pod made sure we each got changed quickly into warm clothes, grabbed hot chocolate, coffees and cakes for one another and cheered our fellow swimmers as they emerged from the water.
A fantastic swim pod powered start to the summer: The scene is set for some epic adventures and here are the smiles to prove it!
芙蓉出水: (fúróng chūshuǐ) Out of the water a lotus rises
Get in touch:
At A Lotus Rises we’re celebrating women in open water, from your first splash, through to wild swims and even swimming marathons.