Having developed a love of open water swimming while at Worth, former student Captain Nick Gandy has recently completed a 6.5km swim across the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul.
Nick was taking part in the annual Samsung Cross Continental race, starting on the Asian side of Istanbul just outside of the main city and exiting just before the mouth to the Sea of Marmara. This was the 34th instance of the race and the first time it occurred since the pandemic, with just over 3000 swimmers taking part.
It was necessary for Nick to draw on the resilience he built at Worth and during a career in the Armed Forces to take on the challenge. He said: “At the start we were briefed that although the strait is 800m wide, it gets around 130m deep as it represents the gap between two tectonic plates. The thought of that much depth had me nervous.
“Diving into the strait I actually felt much better. We had been given multiple markers to aim off whilst swimming to ensure we hit the fastest stream. The first, and vaguest, of these was to swim toward the right side of a bridge, not turning into the middle of the flow until we felt cold water, then immediately settle ourselves here.
“The main portion of the race carried on just following the middle of the stream. Aside from jellyfish and hitting a kayak this all passed without incident, but I felt I had hit a decent pace, overtaking more than I was overtaken. The final stage of the race was signalled by passing by Galatasaray island; this meant we were 450m from the finish.
“Whilst this meant it was time to go up a gear and really push for the finish it was important to be careful. The finish line was a small set of barges with flashing lights extending about 30m into the water. Naturally it would be quite easy to miss this and the current was strong enough to mean you would then be swept into the sea of Marmara. I kept an eye on the finish, timing my final turn in but very quickly it looked like I may be too late. I had to put in a real effort to avoid being swept past but finished the race well. I managed the 6.5km in 1hr 07mins, coming 370th in total. Not too bad as I hadn’t been able to swim for the previous two months due to being deployed on Operation CABRIT in Estonia.”
At Worth, Nick was in Rutherford House, leaving in 2011 before embarking on a military career. He added: “I started open water swimming at Worth as part of one cross channel relay in 2010. I have kept it up ever since doing multiple long distance swims, the Henley 4 miler and the Great North Swim (5km in Windemere) being among them. I have also represented the Army at their Open events.”
This is the latest in a series of articles entitled Alumni in the News. Worth likes to keep in touch with former students and to hear about their successes and achievements.