The stroke known as Front crawl was first glimpsed in this country in 1844, in a competitive swim between some British champs and two visiting Native American swimmers named Flying Gull and Tobacco.
While the Brits swam their customary gentlemanly breast stroke, Flying Gull and Tobacco beat them every time with their bizarre swimming technique.
A newspaper report moaned: ‘Their style of swimming is totally non-European. They lash the water violently with their arms, like the sails of a windmill, and beat downwards with their feet, blowing with force, and forming grotesque antics.’ And for at least another 30 years Victorians refused to have anything to do with the North American’s technique, which they branded ‘barbaric’ and ‘ungentlemanly.’
Front crawl’s come a long way since then. But for me, the apotheosis of ‘ungentlemanly’ and ‘grotesque antics’ will be witnessed this Thursday, as I paddle across the Solent towards Bestival. (With probably loads more ‘grotesque antics’ when I get there too!)
I’m literally wetting my wetsuit at the increasingly hysterical weather forecast for Thursday: http://www.metcheck.com/V40/UK/FREE/dayforecast.asp?zipcode=Ryde&day=3
(enormous winds & gusts against us as we set out towards Ryde. WTF!)
So I may indeed be ‘lashing violently’ before I even dip toe in water.
The other important target I’ve yet to reach is my fundraising for childhood cancer charity Families Against Neuroblastoma.
I’m only £50 off my target – you could push me over today : http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN
Been nice knowing you,
PS: Since the last list of weird search engine referrals to this blog, apparently these typed in searches have stumbled upon it too:
fat wetsuit dude
- wetsuit for woman fetish
- huge jellyfish sting
- ben belblum superjournalist and swimmer (this one I like… apart from the Ed Millibandish spelling of my name)
- the shark from jaws where is it now? (is Google a bit broken?)
- sock fetish dvds
- ass swim pic
- swimming costumes for fat boys
wetsuit triathlon fetish
and many, many more too disturbing to mention…though while you’re all here, feel free to sponsor us too:
PPS: If you really like photos of guys in wetsuits all that much, there’s a page three swimwear shot of me and fellow Bestival swimmer Andrew Hudson today. Page three of the Guardian G2 section, that is! Along with some advice I got from Basement Jaxx’s Simon Ratcliffe who did the swim last year: http://gu.com/p/3xjbv Simon told me he missed the freezing cold lido at 7.30am with all the eccentric characters you get ploughing across the chilly water so much that he had to do another swim this summer, the Hellespont in Turkey – from Europe to Asia. Not sure if I’ll feel the same after Thursday…