May 2023 is creeping closer so get your wetsuits dusted off, and watch out for those that have inexplicably shrunk since last season. How does that always seem to happen?
We will be ready to go Wednesdays from 3rd May 6-8pm, then Saturdays from 6th May 8-10am until the end of August, then Saturdays only until 23rd September.
Thank you to all swimmers who supported our sessions in 2022, but especially to those of you who donned a yellow vest to Swim Manage or help out, and here’s looking forward to another great season. And of course, I will get the heating sorted for this year!
Di – your OWS manager
Open Water Swimming Information
Tri-Anglia offer open water swimming sessions for club members in Whiltingham Country Park’s Great Broad. Sessions run every Saturday morning and Wednesday evening from the first Saturday in May until the last Saturday of August and then just Saturday mornings in September.
This page outlines the normal operating procedure for the Whitlingham Adventure (WA) provided Open Water Swim Sessions for Tri-Anglia Triathlon Club to be held during 2023. This page should be used in conjunction with WA Emergency Action Plan.
2023 Procedures: How To Book
Book Your Slot – IMPORTANT
All swims must be pre-booked and paid for on the website. Go to the Training -> Adult Training Sessions Page then click on the green ATTEND button.
Numbers will only be limited by the kayak cover in place. At busy times swimmers may have to wait for an earlier swimmer to exit the water before they can start their swim, but we will do our best to get the numbers right.
Online bookings for the month will be opened up, before the end of the month for the next block. Once sessions are full there will be a waiting list so if you sign up and then decide to cancel you may do so without charge up to 6pm the night before your swim. Keep your eyes on your Junk/spam email inbox as a lot of our automated waiting list confirmations are going to spam!
I will always aim to post on the club Facebook page when sessions are open to book.
There may on some dates be spaces available on the day, but this can never be guaranteed. The only way to guarantee yourself a swim is to sign up in advance. Pre-booked swimmers will always take priority.
Session Costs & Payment
Each swim costs £5 (2022 price – 2023 still to be confirmed) and the payment will be initiated following members booking up for a swim. Payment for sessions will be automatically taken via GoCardless Direct Debit. You will be notified by email that a payment will be attempted. Please ensure you have set up your GoCardless Direct Debit payment for training sessions. You can check to see if you have a valid Direct Debit set up by going to your Session Payments page.
2023 Procedures: What To Do On Arrival
Location and Parking
The swim starts from Whitlingham Adventure (WA), Trowse, Norwich, NR14 8TR, which is the series of cabins under the large white canopy at the end of the largest Broad.
Members who drive to Whitlingham are encouraged to park in the Whitlingham Country Park car parks rather than on Whitlingham Lane. In fact parking on Whitlingham Lane within the park will incur a fine and parking elsewhere on Whitlingham Lane leads to congestion. Tri-Anglia members are able to buy a year’s cark parking at a discounted rate of £45, enquires to RCP@rcpparking.com. You must be able to show proof of current membership.
For more information: Parking (whitlinghamcountrypark.com)
Please change before signing in, do not leave any equipment in the changing rooms. There is limited space on the deck to leave personal belongings, so please be mindful of others and their space. Put your bag in a clear area / locker / table space on the deck.
Check in and check out
Once ready to swim go to the sign in desk, hand over your membership card and collect a numbered wristband which must be worn at all times whilst in the water.
All swimmers must have their membership card which will be exchanged for a numbered wristband and placed in the correspondingly numbered pouch in the swimmers file. Upon exiting the water the swimmer must immediately return the band and retrieve their membership card. This will enable the OWS manager to check all swimmers in and out of the water and ensure that we hold appropriate medical and emergency contact details for those in the lake
NO CARD = NO SWIM
Check out the safety information / water temperature on the board. If you are new to the lake, make yourself known to the TA Swim Manager who will be able to talk you through normal operating procedures.
Put on your swim hat and enter the water from the deck.
What you will need
You need your:
- membership card,
- Wetsuit (or exemption form)
- a red, purple, blue or white swimming hat (SEE SWIM HAT SECTION FOR WHICH COLOUR TO BRING)
Are compulsory, unless a signed exemption form is in place for the individual. Copies of all completed exemption forms are held in the TA OWS file during the season. The non-wetsuit swimmers will be provided with details of water temperature at sign-in. Water must be 14 degrees or over for a non- wetsuit swim to be permitted. The non-wet suit swimmer must wear a blue hat.
Any swimmer signed off in 2022 will be carried forward to 2023, all others swimmers will need to register as a non-wetsuit swimmer.
A swim cap must be worn when swimming in the lake with specific colours indicating the following:
- Red swim hat indicates a regular wetsuit swimmer partaking in normal swim session activities.
- Purple indicates juniors and novice open water swimmers.
- White swim hat indicates a participant within a training race.
- Bright green swim hat indicates an approved non-wetsuit swimmer.
- Other colours to be used to indicate other special requirements such as tethered swimmers and visually impaired swimmers. Use of other colours to be communicated to the WA Duty Manager by the TA Swim Manager.
- Members should bring their own hat if possible.
Swimming Caps can now be bought via contactless payment on deck for £5
In The Water – Swimming Etiquette
Enjoy your swim and be considerate of other swimmers. Always leave space between yourself and other swimmers.
If you’re fast and skilled, use your skills and judgement to pass others wide and reduce your kick temporarily, give others space, don’t cut people up. The lake is large and there is space for everyone to enjoy their swim at their own pace.
Don’t draft – spread wide.
Do not stop or gather by the buoys, if you do need to stop, please swim out of the loop slightly to not to become an obstacle.
If at any time you are in trouble, feel anxious or panic, put yourself on your back to float and wave your arms or call to attract the attention of the safety team on kayaks, the safety boat or watching from the pontoon – someone will come over to you and offer the necessary assistance.
In order to respect the safety of the OEC team we ask you to swim within your limits. Take it easy and enjoy being in the water.
At the end of your swim exit the water at the deck and go straight to the sign in/out desk, return your band, and collect your membership card. A warm shower is often a good idea especially in lower temperatures.
Tea and coffee will be available for you to make in Cabin 8, but please bring your own cup.
You will still be charged if you fail to attend. When you book a slot to swim, you are taking someone else’s chance.
OWS General Inforamtion
Dates of Tri-Anglia OWS 2023
Sessions will take place Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings between the first Wednesday in May and the last Saturday in August plus the first three Saturday’s in September, dependant upon water quality and temperature.
The OEC is booked to Tri-Anglia from 07:30 until 10:30 on Saturdays with access to the water between 08:00 and 10:00; and from 17:30 until 20:30 on Wednesdays with access to the water between 18:00 and 20:00 (or dusk, whichever is first).
Itinerary for each session as follows:
- TA OWS manager and assistants to arrive and set up, meet with Duty Manager. DM to advise of water temperature and any water quality issues. (Saturday 07:30, Wednesday 17:30)
- Kayak support will begin escorting last swimmers towards the deck prior to finish times in order to ensure the water is clear by 10.00 / 20.00, please do not attempt to start a “loop” if you think you may be close to the cut off time, choose a shorter option.
- TA OWS co-ordinator and WA Duty manager review and close session (Saturday 10:20, Wednesday 20:20)
- TA to be clear of the deck (Saturday 10:30, Wednesday 20:30)
All swimmers will be briefed as they sign in. First time lake swimmers must identify themselves and will have the rules, the course and safety procedures explained to them. The usual briefing information will include: any change of course, any unusual water quality or temperature, if there is a threat of lightening what the emergency procedure is.
We could not run any of our sessions without you as volunteers. Each session needs a swim manager for the duration of the whole session (Wednesday 5.30 – 8.30, and Saturday 7.30-10.30) and 2 helpers, half a session each (Wednesday 5.45-7.00 & 7.00-8.15, Saturday 7.45-9.00 & 9.00-10.15).
You will be rewarded with a free swim and the opportunity to gossip with everyone who has to cross your path. Full instructions can be emailed to you in advance, and all paperwork is available on site. Please offer your services to Di at OWS@tri-anglia.co.uk or sign up via the OWS Volunteer rota page.
Water Evacuation Procedure:
If it proves necessary to evacuate swimmers from the lake, then the alarm will be sounded. The alarm will be continuous sounding of whistles of and/or horns. Swimmers on hearing the alarm, MUST make their way to the South bank (or return to OEC deck or boat launch if closer), leave the water and walk back to the OEC to be counted.
Junior open water swimming rules and procedures
Junior swimmers who are new to open water must report to the OWS manager. All new juniors must swim with an adult. Junior swimmers who are new to open water and their adult swim companion must swim together and the Junior must wear a purple swim hat.
Once the junior has gained open water swim experience and confidence they will be able to swim without their adult partner. This is at the discretion of the OWS manager, but an appropriate adult must remain on the deck at all times.
The TA swim manager has the right to refuse any junior to swim.
Risk Assessments from Whitlingham Adventure available on request.
End To End Swims 2023
The End to End provides a rare opportunity to swim the full length of Whitlingham Broad, which is just under one mile.
Each End to End follows the same format and timings, with two mass starts, each with their own pre-swim briefing. This allows everyone the opportunity to swim E2E if they wish.
The E2E swim is roughly 2 miles long. You can if you wish exit the lake at the far end, after one mile and walk back to the WA. Shoes will be transported for you to the far end of the lake.
The WA/sign-in desk will be open from 7.45am.
Safety cover moves with the pack of swimmers, this means you will only be permitted to start swimming with one of the mass starts. We cannot allow any exceptions to this rule. So please ensure you get to the lake in good time to sign-in, change and attend the relevant swim briefing.
Swim Start Times
8.15am for any swimmers who wish to allow 35 minutes + to swim a mile. If you wish to join this start please ensure you have signed in by 8.00am and that you are ready to listen to the 8.10am briefing.
8.30am for swimmers aiming for sub 35 minute miles. Swim brief will take place at 8.25am.
All swimmers must be out of the lake by 10am.
Open Water Swim Coordinator 2023
Our 2023 Open Water Swim Coordinator is Di Swanepoel. She can be contacted via OWS@tri-anglia.co.uk. Di is the point of contact for Whitlingham Adventure into Tri-Anglia and will be recruiting the volunteers to operate each of our club open water swims through 2023. Please contact Di to offer your assistance or with any queries, but before the emails start flooding in do have a good read of the information on the website.