Forget the Rio Olympics – strollers on the Esplanade could see real deal off the sea-front this morning as Penarth’s Stamina Swimmers pitted themselves against the mighty tides of the Bristol Channel
This morning’s combination of strong winds, higher-than-usual tides and big waves hurling rocks onto the shore hasn’t daunted a group of what are probably Penarth’s most intrepid swimmers.
A number of them were out on the lumpy-looking sea just after a grey dawn and – pitting themselves against the challenge of an exceptionally strong southerly rip-tide .
Worried onlookers thought at first it looked although there was someone in trouble in the water – until it became clear that these swimmers could look after themselves
The swimmers are all members of the Penarth Stamina Swimmers’ Club who, with today’s extra-high high-water due at 10:30, had decided to do battle with the Bristol Channel and its fearsome tides .
Steve Lancefield had his surfboard with him as he rode the waves off the Esplanade – but Penarth, he says, really isn’t a surfing beach
Steve Lancefield – ready to tinkle the ivories at Penarth Pier Pavilion – if he can just get that audition. And yes – he’ll wear a tuxedo instead of that wet-suit
Amongst the members was Steve Lancefield – a professional pianist – who despite suffering from asthmatic attacks from time to time, keeps fit by surfing and swimming.
Reaching Penarth Pier Pavilion is a target in more ways that one for Steve .
Not only does he want to conquer the notorious rip-tide off the beach – but he’s also very much hoping to get an audition with the Penarth Pier Pavilion management to play the piano on the pier and add to the ambience of the famous building with his blend of jazz and easy-listening classics . (Steve by-the-way also says he’d love to offer his piano-playing services to any venue in Penarth…and provides his own piano) .
“Not waving – but swimming”. Stamina swimmer Chris uses a well-practiced crawl to reach the beach .
Other members of the 20-strong club in the turbulent water off the Esplanade this morning were David, Chris, Anthony and marine biologist Jenny.
There’s no safety boat to go to the aid of any member who might find themselves going backwards against the rip, but these swimmers are tough -(they all participate in ‘ironman’ competitions) and they’re all perfectly capable of taking care of themselves .
The odd mouthful of Bristol Channel goes with the territory when you’re a stamina swimmer like Anthony Bannon
The group of intrepid enthusiasts who usually meet up at the National Pool in Cardiff Bay and swim a succession of 50-metre lengths aiming to cover a total of 2,800 metres in an hour.
The high tides and big waves had already hurled plenty of stones and debris onto Penarth Esplanade this morning
The big waves had thrown plenty of stones and seaweed onto promenade – but that hadn’t in the least deterred members of the Penarth Stamina Swimming club from going for a dip in conditions in which many people might prefer to opt for just lounging on the sofa at home watching the Olympics.