Having completed the application form, signed the waiver absolving everyone of any liability should I get Weal’s disease or any number of other diseases listed, I paid my £20 annual membership am now a member of the Serpentine Swimming Club. The Club swims in the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, London between 06.00 and 09.30 throughout the year whatever the weather.
So, earlier this week, I set the alarm for 05.30 and walked the short distance from the hotel I stay in when work takes me to London to the lake and rather small and sparse changing rooms. At about 4m x 2m the change room has a bench and coat hooks along three walls and a sink, kettle and assortment of mugs on the other. But no showering facility. A range of club photos adorn the walls commemorating noteworthy events and members of this historic club.
The water was a decent temperature (perhaps 17 degrees centigrade), rather murky but tasted Ok (it is hard not to get some water in your mouth when your swim).
With only three other swimmers in the water at 06.15 my swim was very pleasant with views of central London ahead of me and the temporary Olympic stand to my side (the Open Water Swim and Triathlon will be held in the Serpentine).
After swimming about a mile I left the water and headed back to the changing rooms where a couple of elderly ex-army types with cut glass English accents were also changing. We were joined by a triathlete.
Then, while we were in various states of undress a Scottish lady walked (fully clothed) in, warmly greeted the two elderly gentlemen by name before picking up a clip board and exiting. The triathlete turned so that only his bare backside could be seen. Nobody seemed to mind. Welcome to the Serpentine Swim Club !