By Jess

Tonight I did my first ever night swim in the London Royal Docks! My sighting was terrible (…more terrible than usual) but I’ve really enjoyed this character building experience.

Most people balk at me when I tell them I swim regularly at the London Royal Docks, but it really isn’t as dirty as it looks or sounds! The water quality had improved dramatically in the last 15 years with the installation of a filter at the intake point. NOWCA now run swim sessions most days at the west of the docks and I have swam there regularly without getting ill.

The water was 15 degrees which was pretty cold. But once I started swimming, it felt quite comfortable. I pulled through the water, took in the darkness of the night and just swam. It felt peaceful, surreal, and safe too, being with so many other swimmers.

A couple of times I had to come to a stop because I lost my bearing and every single time people would come to my rescue and tell me to tag along. It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling, knowing that strangers out on the course were also in a way, watching over me. On reflection, triathlon training has led me to places I would never have gone and meet people I would never have known. People are so friendly in OW swimming community – I think it’s because there is such a small group of us that we all just band together and motivate each other to being the best versions of ourselves.

This swim was not a race, it was a journey of discovery. It takes a bit of faith, because you really can’t see where you’re going (except knowing the general direction in which you must swim) and you have no idea how long it will take to reach that beacon of light! Like most things in life you just need to put your head down and trust in the process, and eventually you will reach the end goal.

After the swim, we headed over to the finishers’ party where burgers, soft drinks and tea were all available for the race participants’ enjoyment. I really loved the positivity from the swimmers after the swim, all smiling and laughing and relieved to have made it. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend this to anyone who wants a night swim experience. For £18 this was truly a BARGAIN!

-Jess