Lisa Gardiner

Walking along Barrier View Road one day, I saw a string of neon blobs (tow floats) in the water below, bobbing their way northwards along the coast. I stopped to wonder at how intrepid these swimmers were. I liked swimming but thought it was challenging enough to swim 50 metres out to the pontoon and back at Matheson Bay. That is, until I joined Kaye’s swimming pod!

I started with a couple of Friday sessions for beginners. It gave me the security of swimming in a group where people had different abilities and levels of fitness, yet no one got left behind or alone in the water. Kaye has a kind and jovial way of pushing you just beyond your comfort zone and infusing the sessions with great enthusiasm. Within a few weeks I was already swimming out to the island and back and it wasn’t long before I was joining the swims around Goat Island and along other parts of the coast. It isn’t just the actual swimming that’s fun, it’s also the friendships I have made within the pod and the exploration of new underwater seascapes. 70% of our planet is water yet we know so little of how it looks below sea level! On land, we say we put roots down, but underwater it feels more like a spiritual connection to the planet.

I have spent many years practicing Iyengar yoga which I Iove, but joining Kaye’s vinyasa classes offered me a more relaxed style of yoga which I particularly like doing before the longer swim on Saturdays. It gave me focus and concentration and the feeling I could breathe better for longer and consequently swim a bit further. I say gave, because I am now back in Europe, intensely missing my daily swims, and contemplating solo dips in crowded, chlorinated, regulated pools. The collective joy of Leigh swimming seems far away but I am keenly awaiting a reunion with the pod, a predawn winter swim or a yoga/swim vacation!

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