15 July 2019 - By James Montgomery
Henley Swim Festival, Henley-on-Thames
This was supposed to be a report about a triathlon, but with blue-green algae creating its annual havoc amongst open water-based sports, meant that the Alton Water Triathlon was cancelled. This was a major disappointment for Sandy Karl as this was to be her first open water based triathlon in prep for Ironman Vichy 70.3 in August and really wanting some open water experience beforehand and on hearing that the triathlon had been cancelled she was then challenged by her swim coach to attempt the Henley Swim Mile event at Henley-on-Thames instead.
Sandy’s start wave was at 1:45pm and having to keep thinking that “it’s just a practice for Vichy” as the mass start was bit of a shock to the system, especially by placing herself in the middle of the crowd. Breathing every three, keeping arms nice and long, constantly thinking of superman, breath, head down. But once the Pavilion was in sight she knew it was then only 200yards to the finish line, one last push and done.
Sandy was ecstatic about accomplishing the one mile in an excellent time of 28 minutes 5 seconds, loved every minute of it and – bonus – received no kicks to the face, even when finding another swimmer to draft off. Finishing 8th in her age category, 50th female and 143rd from 800 competitors and proud of what she accomplished!