In 2015 the annual Caldey Swim – from Priory Beach, Caldey, to Tenby harbour – was cancelled because of unfavourable conditions – an easterly wind and choppy water, so there was even more expectation attached to this year’s swim.
Come the morning of Sunday 14th August 2016, the conditions were nigh on perfect – a southerly wind of only 4mph to follow the swimmers along the largest section of the swim, parallel to Tenby’s South Beach, and warm, but cloudy skies, so not too hot.
The swimmers left on the boats taking them across to the island from the town’s Castle Beach just after 9.45,
most looking happy, some concerned – nerves were playing a part and quite rightly: this is no ordinary swim, it is across the straits running between Caldey Island and Tenby, where the rip can take a person to Pendine instead if you start in the wrong direction and the tides haven’t been carefully considered. It is never a straight line swim!
No local triathlete Oli Simon to lead the swimmers home this year – he was being a Dublin Ironman – so the normal 42-ish minutes to complete the challenge was only a guide. Indeed, the first finisher, Andrew Wallace, came home in 53 minutes, shortly followed by two others. So no record here.
However, the two hours cut off has previously been a tight call for the last to finish, but not this year: all 94 completed the course within 90 minutes. And after some recovery time with a banana and a bottle of water, all were smiling cheerfully, with their newly won medals, amongst the large throng of family and friends gathered at the finishing line.
The organisers, Tenby Sea Swimming Association, breathed a joint sigh of relief; the swim had taken place; all the swimmers had returned safely; there had been no hitches in the safety systems set up to protect the swimmers and myriad craft operators involved. Everyone was now smiling, a job well done.
Now to collect the monies, pay the bills and hand over the balance to Tenby RNLI, the beneficiary of the Swim.