Parliament Hill Fields Lido in London was the venue for Phish 2016, or to give it it's full title, Parliament Hill Icey Swim Hootenanny. It's a brilliant cold water swimming event with people travelling from all over the UK and further afield to attend.
In the weeks preceeding the event the mild weather had kept water temperatures relatively high but, right on cue, a cold snap chilled the water down to 3ºC on the day.
As the sea temperature was hovering around 8ºC it was difficult to train for the 3º Phish event. The difference between 8º and 3º is enormous and so are the range of emotions it evokes. Whilst a January sea swim is generally thought to be a bit parky, a 3º swim is a whole different ball game and will have you using expletives you didn't even know you knew. Luckily I was able to train at Andark Lake near Southampton which offers winter swimming sessions with great facilities and safety cover.
Opened in 1938, the 200 foot long lido gives rise to some odd length races and categories included 122m, 244m and a 4 x 61m relay. There's also an endurance race which is 10 lengths plus 1 for each degree above freezing, so this year, 13 lengths or 793m. I was happy to complete this in 14:17:20 coming in as 4th man and 6th overall.
South Coast Swimmers were well represented including many from "Just Swim" who swim all year round at Fisherman's Walk, Southbourne.