AGM 2020 – Open Water Swimming Convenor’s Report

This year is the 7th year that Open Water Swimming has been an organised activity at RWSABC in the modern era.  When I first joined the Club and became the Convener, I was confident that there would be at least 10 new or existing members who would take up Open Water Swimming on a regular basis in that first year.  This year we have reached that milestone. My apologies for taking so long to reach this milestone.

Organised Open Water Swimming activities takes place on Thursday and Friday evenings during the season.  Like other activities in the Club there are also many ad hoc outings throughout the year.  The first organised session in 2019 was on 18 April and the last one was on 13 September. On most evenings there were 4 to 6 swimmers.  I have reviewed the book where club member’s “book out” and I have counted 142 “excursions” between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018 with 531 swims by individuals. Compared to 2018 the number of excursions has decreased by 3% and the number of participants decreased by 5%.  Discussing this with other swimmers I attribute this to extended holidays of some stalwarts and other swimmers not aiming for specific goals during the year.

To encourage members and the public to try open water swimming there were ‘Social Swims’ in June, July and August.  These events had between 16 and 25 swimmers in attendance.  At some there were children accompanied by their parents swimming.

The 2019 RWSABC Clyde Swim from Kilcreggan took place on 3 August.  There were 31 participants.  Conditions at the time of the swim were excellent with a light easterly wind. The water temperature in the Clyde at the time of the swim was 15°C.   Swimmers left Kilcreggan around 1 hour before high tide at 2:15pm and the last swimmer arrived at the RWSABC Beach at 4:20pm. Twenty six of the swimmers were swimming in wetsuits and the rest were swimming in just their swimming costumes.  The 2020 RWSABC Clyde Swim has been scheduled for 8 August but this is under review in light of Coronavirus.  If the swim goes ahead in 2020, we are going to make a concerted push for more junior swimmers between the ages of 12 and 16 to participate.  The last Clyde Swim where a ‘Junior’ swimmer participated was in 2015. With regards to the 2019 Clyde Swim I extend my gratitude to all who helped on the day, especially the kayakers who provided safety cover.

On New Year’s Day 2020 there was a swim at the Boat Club where the public were invited to participate.  It was attended by around 50 swimmers, some went in for just a dip but others did “proper” swims. It was a reasonable day and it is estimated that there were over 100 spectators watching the event from the Club House or The Esplanade.  The Club House was open and RWSABC provided hot drinks and biscuits to participants and spectators.  My thanks to Adam Graham who arranged for the Club House to be open and the kayakers who were down to provide safety cover.

I consider that this season has been successful.  The highlights in my opinion is that Open Water Swimming is becoming more popular among members.  In addition, it is beginning to attract new members specifically for Open Water Swimming.

I thank all the other committee members for their assistance and support throughout the year.

Joe Heffernan – Open Water Swimming Convenor