The other day, I made the very temporary transition from relatively safe swimming pool to unpredictable waves of the sea.

It had been a beautifully warm day, plenty of sunshine, and just a few puffy, white clouds that convinced me this was the day to finally get in the real water and test out my newly discovered method of swimming.

By the time I had finished measuring out the distance along the beach, returned to my base to get changed into the borrowed triathlon-friendly wet-suit and my very own triathlon under-suit, and ventured back on to the beach everything had changed.

The clouds were distinctly darker, the sun was barely visible but more frightening, the waves were pretty lively and it all looked so much more of a mission than it had done only a few minutes before.

The problem was of course, there were several people walking along the beach and some even sitting not too far from where I was planning to launch out. I could hardly turn around and pretend I had come to the wrong beach could I?

I sat down on the stones for a couple of minutes, as if this would calm both me and the waves but alas, it was only me who felt slightly calmer.

I walked in and was immediately encouraged by the fact that at least I did not feel cold at all.

Once I got past the breaking waves, I thought I was going to be okay, and might just be able to begin swimming.

That was until a huge wave hit me and hurled me down several feet (or so it seemed!) and then I was all out of sorts, spitting out an unfair share of seawater.

rough waves on the beach

I tried to start swimming but compared to the pool it was like transferring from a tranquil village in the middle of the countryside to a full-blown war zone!

I regretfully have to confess to you that I decided this had all been a bit premature. In the event that anyone might enquire as to what I was doing, after a mere five minutes at the most in the water, I imagined myself saying, “Swim in this water? Obviously not; I was merely testing out the wet-suit.”

Now I know the lake at Blenheim Palace will be nowhere near as rough as the sea that day but the whole experience did not exactly fill me with confidence. I promptly booked a place at a local sailing club where they are laying on pre-triathlon, open water, swimming classes for anyone who is either a first-timer or is a tad nervous about the whole impending experience.

That will be me on both counts!

I will also try to venture back in to the sea but this time, I will only be going when it is low tide and thus relatively calm.

Paul Hatcher

I am at heart, a communicator. I love to use words, whether written or spoken and maximise those words to hopefully, bring some encouragement - literally, to put courage into the hearts & minds of those who read or hear them. In my work as an executive coach, speaker, workshop facilitator, I love also to listen...deeply, and then respond with some encouragement.