Olympic champion Tom Daley tackled the freezing open water and windy conditions of the Redgrave Pinsent Lake this morning
It was a nervous start and finish for Tom as the wind picked up mid swim Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds joined Tom to cheer him on with his coach Kerri-Anne Payne, 2x Open Water Swimming World Champion
All the action is being filmed for a primetime documentary to air on BBC One and iPlayer, in March
This afternoon, Tom faces a 63-mile long stretch back on the bike to Southampton where he will complete day two of his Hell of a Homecoming challenge for Red Nose Day
Red Nose Day returns on Friday 18th March
To support Tom visit comicrelief.com/tomschallenge(opens in new window)
Tuesday 15th February – Exhausted from an intense first day of his Red Nose Day challenge, this morning saw Tom Daley take on freezing cold temperatures in the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake for a 1,600m open water swim, his longest ever swim indoors, or outdoors.
After a lack of sleep, Tom was thrown into the deep end for day two of his four-day Hell of a Homecoming challenge, with a daunting swim in 5.2 degrees icy cold water across the lake, while also battling blustery winds during a very grey 7.45am start this morning.
Tom admitted his fears over the temperatures before slowly entering the water to start his swim. This leg of his journey was make or break for Tom, with doubts he would be able to swim in the windy weather conditions, but after a nervous start, and a touch and go final few minutes, Tom was able to complete his most dreaded leg of this journey and keep pushing towards his hometown, and final destination, Plymouth.
After the swim, Tom said: “As I was getting into the water, I was feeling as ready as I’ll ever be, but the idea of swimming such a long distance in water that was 5.2 degrees, was extremely daunting. I just took on the advice of Kerri-anne, one of my amazing trainers, and Davina, who gave me some tips from her challenge yesterday. I let the water get into my wetsuit, acclimatised slowly and put my face in and out of the water to get the brain freeze out of the way. Then I just had to keep my head down and get going.
“Halfway round the lake, I was going into the wind and it really picked up. It took me a lot longer to complete the second half. Every time I was doing a stroke, it felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere, which was so frustrating. But I just had to keep going. When I got to the finish line, it was just a relief to be out of the cold water and then rushed into the warm.
Tom added: “I am feeling exhausted and tired, and now I have to get back on the bike to cycle to Southampton. It’s going to take a lot for me to get back out there and keep going, but I am going to do it because it’s worth it and it’s for a good cause. So come out and support if you can.
Kerri-anne Payne, Tom’s swimming trainer and Open Water Swimming 2x World Champion said: “I was a little bit worried about Tom at the beginning because he looked really nervous. There was a lot going on for him while he was trying to focus on his breathing and getting into a rhythm, but once he settled into his pace, he did really well. The last part was really difficult though - the wind had picked up and he was really feeling it and getting dizzy. In those last two minutes, we did think, ‘Should we finish early and get him out?’ We needed to get him back indoors as quickly as we possibly could, as hypothermia can happen instantly."
Kerri-anne added: “I am so impressed - I was definitely a bit emotional at just how well he had done."
Paralympic swimming champion Ellie Simmonds joined Tom this morning to share some tips and show her support. Ellie said: “I’m blown away – for Tom to do that swim is phenomenal. He didn’t stop, he just kept on going. I was quite impressed with his stroke too - he’s a diver but that stroke of his, that freestyle stroke was phenomenal! To see him achieve that is absolutely amazing. His swimming trainer, Kerri-anne earlier said that for open water swimming, if the temperature is below 16 degrees the event gets cancelled. For this it was less than six degrees!"
Tom was spurred on by a crowd of well-wishers, who came down to cheer him on this morning. Tom handed out a handful of the red noses he has crocheted as a thank you for all the love and support shown. The reaction from the public is really helping to keep Tom’s spirits high.
This afternoon, Tom faces another long stretch on the bike, as he cycles 63 miles from Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake all the way down to Southampton.
The next few days are set to test Tom’s fitness and drive like never before, and all of the highs and lows will be captured at every moment along the way for a special one-hour BBC One and iPlayer documentary, produced by Twofour, to air in March, ahead of Red Nose Day which returns on Friday 18th March.
The money raised by Tom Daley will help support vital life changing work, tackling issues including homelessness, domestic abuse, poverty and mental health problems in the UK and around the world.
To find out more and support Tom, go to comicrelief.com/tomschallenge(opens in new window)