In 2016 the conditions were just about perfect, warm air, a millpond of a sea, no wind. Roll on one year and a different story.
On Sunday 6th August, at the 7am weather check meeting of the coastguard, the swimmer and the organisers’ Chair, incoming north westerly 20mph winds needed to be considered: they would make it difficult for the less experienced swimmers. Worse, the 20 mph was an average, the maximum could be 27mph. That’s equivalent to Gale Force 6. So, reluctantly, the decision was made to cancel the event. Months of effort by the Tenby Sea Swimming Association’s organising team, support from sponsors for radios, medals, swim hats, two floats and marketing, all for nothing?
Fortunately, there is a backup date, Sunday 20th August, with a start time of just 30 minutes earlier, so leaving Caldey Island at 11am. Unfortunately, not all the original swimmers could make the second date, so there have been some 20 cancellations. Fortunately, there are some eight new entrants who couldn’t make the previous date.
A wheel of fortune that revolves around the sea, much as Tenby living has always been. So fingers crossed on 20th August that a calm sea allows the Swim to take place. The event is so dependent upon the right combination of tide, weather, daylight and temperature, it makes it vulnerable. Two years ago it was also cancelled. But its vulnerability also makes it special – the swimmers understand that and, despite the inconvenience, respect the cancellations. Because, ultimately, you can only respect the sea.