How I Began Open Water Marathon Swimming – Alina Warren

How I Began Open Water Marathon Swimming – Alina Warren

Alina Warren – An introduction

Hi, I am Alina, an open water marathon swimmer from West Wales. I started open water swimming in the summer of 2009, when I was 16. I am a PhD student at Aberystwyth University, and I can be found in the water when not in the office.

How I started open water marathon swimming

My journey to starting open water swimming was completely unplanned. I was on holiday with my parents, both keen canoeists. My father had taken me out into the lake to learn the basics and I of course fell out and had to swim to the edge. It was quite unpleasant and certainly not the moment I found a love for the open water.

The next day my dad challenged me to swim the width of the lake, a very short distance, but a challenge all the same. It was very cold and I struggled across, with a mixture of doggy paddle and backstroke. I have always been one for a challenge and my father knew it. The next day he challenged me to the length, a half mile and I succeeded. The subsequent weekends after we had returned from our holiday he continue to drive me to local lakes in Wales. After a few of these weekends I managed to master some basic front crawl and my swimming was quickly improving. My love for the open water was found when I swam my first mile, doing front crawl, without stopping. From then on challenges of greater distance, in less time were constantly being set.

I had never considered myself a swimmer

I try and explain to people that I was never a swimmer, nor did I ever plan to be a swimmer. It happened by accident really. I have always enjoyed sports, but had never realised I had an aptitude for endurance sport, as I had never really been exposed to it as a child.

From beginner to swimming across Scotland!

Three years after I started swimming in the open water we (my dad and I) decided to come up with a challenge. A challenge I could train for as our weekend trips were becoming a little monotonous. I gained a fantastic coach and started training in an endless pool multiple times per week as well as the open water on weekends. The challenge we came up with was to swim across Scotland, using the great Glen Way, a 117km channel from the east coast to the west coast. We gathered a team made up of 1 land support, Ady, a team Dr on the water, Simon, and my Dad and Gary, both experienced canoeists who led the expedition as well as sighted me whist swimming. We succeeded and gained a world record for being the first swimmer to ever complete this waterway. My love for swimming has only ever grown and it’s now a fundamental part of my day. Living on the coast gives me the opportunity to swim in the open water as much as the weather allows, and I also have a coach based here with an endless pool too.

Keep up to date with my swimming, training and trips away by following my Instagram (@alina_warren), and please feel free to get in contact!

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