I’m Alice Dearing from Royal Wolverhampton School and I have been competing in open water for over a year now.
The first time I did open water swimming I absolutely loved it. It is so much more exciting than swimming in the pool as anything can happen! There’s more to think about, like the tides if you’re in seawater, and you don’t have a lane so have to make sure you keep on track.
To prepare for this year’s summer competitions I went to a GB training camp in Mallorca in May. It was a really great experience although I hadn’t met many of the other team members before, but those sort of camps and trips are really good as we all support each other.
The camp was seniors as well as juniors so I got to meet Keri-anne Payne and hear all about her experiences.
Part of the camp included time trial races, which went really well, especially the 7km one which I finished as top junior. There was so much going on in the race, and it was a mixed event so had to swim with the boys. The pace was really fast and so it was a constant sprint, and I was trying to keep up. I reckon I may have stayed at the front if it was just girls.
I then took part in the Great North Swim at Lake Windermere in June, which went really well. I prefer lake swimming to sea as there is less to worry about, like those tides, and seawater de-hydrates you faster. I was so please I completed the swim in 58:41.1 to win the junior race, and I finished second place overall!
Following the Lake Windermere swim, I was one of ten British open water swimmers selected to go to Portugal and compete in the Setubal FINA 10km, which is known to be one of the toughest races of the year outside the European Championships.
There were 40 competitors and it was a very difficult race. I stayed with the main group but it was really competitive and I got hit and scratched a few times. It was a really energy draining race!
The next month I travelled to Croatia to compete in the European Junior Open Water Swimming Championships in Zagreb. This was my second time competing in the competition having won the 5km title last year. I raced in the 7.5km which I finished in eighth place. I much prefer racing 5km, but my aim is to get used to the 10km too.
It’s been a really busy year so far and my next competition is the European Championships which will take place in Berlin, and after that there is the World Juniors.
I’m really happy since last season I’ve been able to make both the junior and senior teams, but it is a lot of work. I don’t taper between competitions, I train all the way through as I need to keep my strength up. All the training and competing has meant I’ve missed quite a bit of school, but they are really supportive which really helps.
With open water you can compete at an older age so my aim is to get to the top of the juniors, see where I’m at, and then hopefully move over. My ultimate goal is to lead the World Cup!