Wednesday, July 16, 2008


On Sunday, July 13th, Finbarr Hedderman became the first Irish person to cross the English Channel this summer, in a time of 13hours 21minutes-an amazingly fast time! All of those long days in Sandycove really paid off. Well done Finbarr!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Greetings from Madrid

I know, I's been a long long time since I've posted! I'm in Madrid and have been for almost a month now. Not that that's any excuse I know, but it does mean that I've done less swimming and especially less open-water swimming so I haven't been in any rush to put stuff up here!!

I've been really enjoying it here, the weather is beautiful, the people are great and I'm getting lots of work done while still enjoying myself. And the celebrations after Spain won the European Cup for the first time in 44 years were just amazing! The only downside to being here is that my swimming has suffered big time.

I joined the university pool here where I'm working, it's an outdoor, 50metre pool. I haven't taken any of my own photos of it so the ones from the university website will have to do!

<- The dive pool

The 50m swimming pool ->

The week that I arrived here was the first week that it was open for the season, and it was perfect for swimming at that stage. Approximately 17 degrees C (62.6 degrees F) and absolutely empty-the weather here wasn't great at that stage and 17 degrees is considered to be ice-cold for most people here! So I was alone in the pool for most of my workouts with someone joining me for a couple of hundred metres every so often and the lifeguards giving me very funny looks for staying in for an hour at that temperature...of course it was nice and warm for me after being in the sea at home so much before coming here!

However, things have changed since then. The weather has gotten much, much better since then (we're up to 40 degrees C-104 degreesF-some days) and as a result the pool temperature has risen to about 24 degrees C (75 degrees F). So lots of people are training in the pool now, and even more are using it to cool down while sunbathing-and there are no lanes to distinguish between the two. So swimming there now is like swimming through an obstacle course and it's impossible to do a full length without having to dodge at least two or three people if not ten! So it's very hard to train there now, and that's probably one of the better pools for training-at least this one only has college students and no children! It's nice there for about the first 30 minutes after it opens and the last 15 minutes before it closes so I've been trying to do my workouts at those times. I'm looking forward to getting back into the Irish sea though, however cold it may be there right now!

And speaking of the sea...we went to the beach a couple of weekends ago-to a town called Oliva near Valencia. It was gorgeous, perfect Spanish beach minus all of the big hotels and tourists...we stayed at a campsite just behind the sand dunes, it was perfect.

Oliva Beach

The water temperature was incredibly warm, around 24degrees C on my watch which I really wasn't expecting from the sea in June (even in Spain)! I did a 45 minute swim on the Sunday, it was very nice....warm, calm, not so many people. But jellyfish instead...and I was told that the jellyfish that were around have a very painful sting so I was none too happy swimming close to them. I did notice that they were swimming fairly deep whenever I saw them so I tried to stay out deep also so that they would be well below me! It worked well, I didn't have any come too close to me. Overall, it was a nice swim, I didn't want to stay in too long though because it was close to 40degrees C (104degrees F) in the sun and I didn't want to end up burning badly.

So that's been the extent of my swimming for the past month. I'm home at the end of this week so I'll need to really step up the pace then to get ready for my big swim in August! I've got some other swimming news to write about but I think that will have to wait til later...if I wait til I've finished writing everything this will never get posted...I'm on holidays for the next few days so I'll try to fit in some time to write some more and post it when I get home....adiĆ³s for now!