Thank you to all who took part in this years wonderful 4k swim. Here are some images from the day and some reflections from the organiser and participants.
To see more images of this lovely event have a look at our photo gallery from the day www.lock-to-lock-4k.swimoxford.co.uk
where you can browse and purchase/download.
It is always a marvel to witness the many swimmers making their way downstream.
The glistening waters in the morning sun add to the very colourful and vibrant spectacle of tow floats and swim hats. We, the support crew, vigilantly observe the motion of the open water swimmers. Smooth in their flow or slightly hesitant and nervous at the beginning, before settling down to finding a comfortable rhythm.
I am amazed at how, in a mass of arms and legs in a wide variety of shapes and styles, we can spot from a mile off swimmers we know, recognisable by their stroke. The way they turn or how the arm moves is a signature submerged in the viscous wilderness.
I have swum these waters, and also paddled, and motored along them. I have run along their banks and looked at drone footage. We have even mapped by sonar the river bed. But there is nothing quite like being part of an open water swimming event – the energy, the nerves, excitement, hesitation and the raw material that is clearly felt.
Our aim has and always will be, to support the swimmers from start to finish. I have come to love these events and the swimmers who participate in them. The openness and community, feeling greeted by all involved, swimmers and volunteers alike.
We would like to see these events bring swimmers together and continue the celebration and sprit of wild swimming.
I went to a party last Friday with the impossible (for my wardrobe) dress-theme of ‘sparkle’. If only I could have worn what I wore the following Sunday.
Because of that day I outshone every sequin and every diamante earring. I out-dazzled every single bling-laden outfit in a robe of Thames that sparkled all the way from Eynsham to Kings Lock. And with every breath, I inhaled those sparkles – so by the time I reached the tea tent, I was aglow, and sparkling from the inside out.
I’ve completed quite a few Swim Oxford kilometres along the Thames now and I was particularly grateful for these four. I recently had my first ever proper swim lesson – with Stuart Hacker at Swim Cube. I’ve been practising in a 25m pool and, not having a natural aptitude for sports, it takes a massive amount of concentration for me to remember all the points Stu gave me. In the pool, every time I feel I’ve got everything in place, it’s time to turn, and I lose it.
But on Sunday, for four kilometres, I just thought about my stroke without interruption. There was nothing to worry about because here, all worrying can be delegated to the Swim Oxford team. I had some doubts that I could complete the distance because I haven’t done any long swims yet this year but I wasn’t concerned; I knew if I faded, I would be supported for a break or helped out.
On the day, my body remembered how to cope with the distance, and my new stroke made the swim more comfortable.
Kings Lock appeared quite suddenly, and the tea tent was a happy hum of swimmers; bubbling laughter, gleaming smiles. I don’t think that was just the cake - I reckon they’d all inhaled a few sparkles too.
This is my 7th Lock to Lock 4k! Each one has been unique and memorable, but this year's felt more exceptional! I would not have guessed at my first Lock to Lock in 2015 as an extremely anxious beginner-open-water-swimmer that eight years on I would be joined by my 17-year-old son.
He was very cool, not letting the occasion get to him, the mild conditions and the calm atmosphere helped. It felt like we weren't there to compete but to be part of something. This event always has that sense of celebration of the swim community.
The swim itself felt almost like a dream, to be so free to swim such a long, beautiful stretch of the Thames is always so exceptional – this time my son is swimming with me!
It was deeply reassurring to know the safety team had an eye on him. And at the end it was wondrous to see him finish and now how this experience has opened up a whole new open water world for him. I can see he is hooked, talking about the next one or maybe the 10k ...
It couldn't have been a better intro to open water swimming and the supportive wild swimming community. I am extremely grateful for this experience, its a highlight of every year, and look forward to many more to share.