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  • Writer's pictureNadine Bennett

Gearing up: pre-swim kit

The following is part of a series of posts that details the planning and packing we're doing for my first marathon solo swim, In Search Of Memphre 40km. I'm documenting our preparations so that others might benefit in their own planning or contribute new ideas based on their own past swims, building community and sharing info is so important!

My pre-swim kit has everything in it I need to be ready and standing by the shoreline at the start of the swim. Here's the stuff on my pre-swim kit gear list:

I usually wear the same old t-shirt and yoga bottoms to the start of a swim. They get packed into my warm bag as soon as I take them off and I'll put them back on once I get out of the water after the swim, so I choose something I don't mind getting dirty with sticky zinc oxide or wet and smelly from lake water.

Next, I pack my swimsuit and goggles. I always choose a swimsuit I've tested for fit and comfort, and that I won't mind getting all gunky with zinc oxide. Here's a great article by Elaine on choosing swimsuits, it helped me choose a more comfortable suit this year. This one needed the straps taken it, the straps are nice and soft but a bit loose on the shoulders and were chafing me badly. I folded the straps over at the back, sewed them up temporarily, and tested them on a couple of swims before cutting them and sewing them into place permanently. Perfect fit!

The red adventure light was then sewn in place on the back support band of the swimsuit, and I undid the strap of my goggles to loop in my green adventure light. Why two different colour lights? For direction at night when it's dark, so the support crew can be sure what direction I'm facing while I'm swimming. The batteries on both lights were swapped out with brand new ones so that we can be sure they wouldn't lose power during the swim. There's a spare pair of goggles with the same green light stowed away separately in the swim kit, just in case something happens at night to these ones. Once we're swimming in daylight, the clear goggles will be probably be swapped out for darker mirrored ones.

I've started sticking extra ear plugs into the leg band of my swimsuit on longer swims, on the opposite side from where I normally tuck in the ones I'm using if I have to take them out mid-swim. This way, if I drop an earplug in the water - which I absolutely will - I don't have to wait for support crew to get me another one, I have a couple tucked away on me already.

A few minutes before go time, I'll get undressed and the support crew will apply zinc oxide to any exposed skin and on any chafe points - under bathing suit straps and all seams, on my armpits, up my neck, etc. We'll do my face, down my arms, and tops of my legs too if we're getting any sun at all, I burn very easily and it's better to be safe than sorry. But if we're not expecting sun, then a little sunscreen on those areas will do. The support crew will apply it for me, so that I don't get any zinc oxide on my goggles, it gets all over the place once it's on your hands! I also bring Bag Balm as anti-chafe too, as a friend once quipped, "if it's good enough for cow teats, it's good enough for me too". Indeed.

Once I'm lubed up, the adventure lights get turned on, I'll wait for the signal from the support boat, and off we go!

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