Tuesday 12 May 2009
There are sporting moments in life that, with the passage of time, attract the old cliché question “where were you when……?” These questions can be heard in pubs up and down the country every weekend; “where were you when Moore held the Jules Rimet trophy aloft in 1966?”, “where were you when Wilko dropped goal for England to win the 2003 Rugby world cup?”, “where were you when I beat Gary Evans in the 1976 sports day 60 yard dash for the right to be Rebecca O’Connor’s boyfriend?” etc. etc.
Well I have another one for you – “where were you when South London Swimming Club won the 2009 Stock Exchange Relay gala?”
The Date: 12th May 2009
The Venue: Virgin Active Swimming Pool in the City of London.
The Team: Tom “Ice Man” Hudson (Captain), Jason “Can I have seconds” Shaw, Giles “the Fish” Meyer, Katie “don’t mention I swam the channel faster than my boyfriend” Goodall, Ben “the bomber” Pennington and Mark “I’ve run out of superlatives” Sawyer
The Event: the Stock Exchange Spring Relay
There were 11 teams of 6 swimmers each from some of the City’s greatest institutions; including Goldman Sachs, Calyon, Dresdner, UBS and JPMorgan. The format comprised 4 heats, with each swimmer swimming 5 lengths of a 25 m pool and the fastest 4 team times making it through to the final. A nervy start for SLSC as we discover that we are in the last heat. Some lesser captains would have buckled under the weight of expectation (with the SLSC team being victors at least 3 times in the past) but not the Iceman. Calming team nerves by calling a team ‘pow-wow’ in the Jacuzzi. The Iceman had clearly done his homework and the tactics were laid out before us: “get in the pool and bloody well swim faster than everybody else!” Easy.
The Goldman Sachs team were looking ominous – having wisely spent US tax payers money on matching GS Swim Team hats and T-Shirts. The odd American accent (“is that guy really a former US Olympic trialist?”) only added to their aura - looking all sinewy like coiled springs. Fair to say that “sinewy” and “coiled springs” are terms that are not normally applied to the SLSC team – “comfortable” ……yes.
The heats go quickly and its our turn to show the expectant crowds what we’re made of. I step up to the blocks as the crowd quietens – although given my bad back I kind of slouch forward. There were some post race comments that perhaps I went ‘early’ – clear jealousy that my hearing is sooo good that I hear the “G” on “Go!” a split second before my fellow competitors.
Quickly we’re into our stroke and cruising to a first place in our heat in a time 7minutes 41 seconds - with each team member swimming one length 5 times. The Bomber barely makes it out of first gear but Shawy carves up the pool on hearing that there is extra food for the fastest individual leg!
No time to rest as SLSC is declared the fastest qualifier. We are to be joined by the mighty Goldman Sachs, Calyon and another. Tension is running high as we line up again – lactic acid pumping around our considerable and well padded frames. This time we were not leaving anything to chance – even the Bomber went through the gearbox and we cruised home in 7 minutes and 21 seconds – a full length and a bit ahead of second placed Goldman Sachs – and a new world record set for the 35-40 age group/85-100kg classification. Solid performances from everyone.
I would like to say that there was much whooping, punching of the air, etc. etc. but Shawy was already getting changed having heard of a free buffet in the pub next door and we felt it was appropriate to adopt a noble air in victory having just ground those bankers into the ground!!
Good swimming guys. Another trophy for the SLSC team cabinet!