Open water swimming is a wonderful sport with a rich history and tradition. Over the course of this year Tim Bailey is the charity steward of Prince of Architects Lodge No 4188 and was appointed to the acting of PrAGDC. Tim is enjoying his year in office and has attended installations and festivals in the Ormskirk Southport and Bootle Groups.
Tim has been participating in a series of swimming meeting’s around the North West this year, to help raise money for the Bootle Group food bank appeal, which was set up by the group chairman Ian Gee, with the proceeds this year being donated to the St Leonards Food Bank in Bootle.
Tim chose a number of different meetings in which to compete from short 1.2 kilometre swims, to longer 3.8 kilometre distance swims, at various locations including swimming across Lake Windermere to swimming around a number of circuits in the Albert Dock in Liverpool.
Tim along with his young son Ross and his coach Neil Thompson, who is a former team GB open water swimmer train at the Maghull Swimming baths at least couple of times a week, usually swimming anything between 65 to 120 lengths each time, each length is 25 metres and helps prepare for the events. This training helped improve and build up their fitness, motivation and their endurance for the distance swims that they took part in.
The first event that Tim participatedin, was the River Dee swim in May. This is a classical race which has been held nearly continuously, since the first race held 1922. Starting near the Red House pub, the overall distance covered by the swimmers is actually a mile and a quarter. The course is downstream and takes the swimmers around the crook of the River Dee with the competitors finishing at the suspension bridge near Chester Castle. The course can times vary depending on the flow of the river.
This was a non wetsuit event and Tim found the water temperature a challenge at that time of the year, as he suffers with permanent sciatica down his left hand side and the shock of the temperature of the freezing water aggravated his condition. By time he completed the first 100m he had found that due to the shock the freezing water had given him, had made both his leg seize with pain, continuing to battle to the end race with the immense pain Tim finally completed the event in 40 minutes and had to be assisted out of the water by the paramedics.
After his challenge and success of the River Dee swim, Tim’s next race along with his son Ross was at Pennington Flash in mid-June. This was a mile and a quarter race, with the course set out in the lake, Tim had entered this race initially to help encourage his son Ross along, who won his first open water event at this meeting, with Tim coming in second in his class.
The following weekend Tim and Ross participated in the next race on the calendar; this was the Windermere Historical Cross event at Lake Windermere. This event has been held ever since the 1920s and was originally started by the Windermere Swimming Club, the event has changed hands over the years and is currently being organised by Chillswim. The race starts on the banks near Wray Castle with the contestants swimming to the other side to the lake banks at Brockhole, the swim in a straight line from start to finish is a 1.2 kilometre swim, with Tim managing to complete the distance it in a time of 18 minutes.
The next race was held at Ullswater in early July was the first of the big races, being a distance of 3.8 kilometre’s, this is the official distance for ‘Ironman’ triathlon events and can prove to be a good challenge for long distance swimmers. Although Tim was in his wetsuit the temperature of the water on the day was only 14 degrees and he could feel the cold temperature through his suit, even so he managed to complete the race in a time of one hour and 30 minutes.
The penultimate event that Tim participated in was held at Albert Dock in Liverpool, race is a circuit course through the dock system, the swimmers proceeding through in an anti clockwise direction with the course marked out by marker buoys, the course starting and finishing, with a circuit at Mariners Wharf. Each one of these circuits has a distance of one mile and the various race lengths depend on the number of circuits completed. Tim entered the four mile event and completed the course in two hours and 18 minutes, coming third in the four mile wet suit event.
The final swim of the series was the Crosby Lakeside open Water Swim held at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre at the Crosby Mariner, the race again was another 3.8 kilometre iron distance event, with the course set out around the Marine Lake; with each circuit being 1.9 kilometre’s, Tim completed his two circuits of the course in a time of one hour and 10 minutes.
With all his endurance from participating in these events Tim has so far has raised £325 towards the group’s food bank appeal, this has been done with the kind sponsorship and donations he has received from the brethren and lodges who have supported him. Next year Tim is hoping to participate in another series of swimming events, including swimming the length of Lake Windermere which is 10 miles, to help raise some funds for another worthy charitable cause.