Although this was to be my 7th Lamlash Splash, this was to be my 1st without a sighted guide swimming alongside me.
Last year, Rhona was my sighted guide swimmer, but as we swim at different paces, it didn’t work too well. We did have another go a few days before this years’ swim, but our paces were still very different.
Today I was going to mostly rely on my Marlin swim meter, but just to be on the safe side, the Lamlash organisers had asked safety kayaker Abi to accompany me. I had used Marlin on a few previous occasions, but the results had been mixed.
Marlin is a small GPS device that is attached to my goggle strap and sits at the back of my head, with a bone conductor speaker placed just in front of my right ear. It is designed to give audible instructions, using the clock face method. “Go to 11 o’clock, go to 9 o’clock, etc. Fortunately this is the main method of direction instruction I use with my sighted guides during other activities, so I’m very comfortable with that.
Marlin had had a few issues with finding GPS signals in the past, so I made sure to turn it on in plenty of time. A little over 5 minutes before the swim started, I turned it on, (hence the time difference between Marlin, and my actual finish time). Instead of telling me to go to 12 o’clock, it told me to go to 4! Oh no, not a great start.
However, as I entered the water, Marlin sorted itself out, and from here on in, it did a pretty good job!
The water was pretty lumpy, which I absolutely love, but I knew Rhona didn’t feel the same way. This was definitely going to push her out of her comfort zone.
Marlin doesn’t tell you about obstacles in the way, e.g. moored boats, marker buoys, and other swimmers, but Abi was there to guide me past those.
As the water was a bit lumpy, I regularly got swept off course, but with a couple of correction strokes, and a quick check with Abi, I was soon back on track.
On the last section, I seemed to be washed off to the left of the landing spot, so had to swim along the shore for a short section, and when I finished the swim, Marlin told me I had swam 2.59km, as opposed to the regular 2.2km.
When comparing GPS trackers with Rho after the swim, she had also done a very similar course to me, and had also clocked up 2.5km, as well as the wee shimmy at the end.
As always, we had an absolutely fantastic time, meeting up with the regulars and also meeting some newbies.
The Lamlash Splash is always a fun and friendly swim!
If you’d like to see what the conditions were like, there’s a video by Dave The Rave Roving The Rock on Youtube. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO
In 2022, when Rhona and I swam together, our time was 01:07:38. This year Rho knocked off over 12 minutes, crossing the line at 55:27, and I did 45:10. Considering the challenging conditions and the extra 300m, Rho did really well, and I’m very proud of her!