Hi, I'm Lottie-Rose - I am a 17 year old triathlete originally from London, now living on the Isle of Wight.
Having a background in pool swimming I thought the sea was for sailing, paddling and wave jumping and pools were for swimming, but how wrong was I.
Since moving to the Isle of Wight I have found a new freedom - the open water. This did worry me as although when I first started I made sure I never swam alone how would someone get to me if I suddenly got cramp or a jet skier came too close and didn't see me as drowning takes seconds?
Research didn't take long and I found one of the most simplest but clever inventions - a tow float. Instantly visible not only from the shore but from the sea, something to hold onto if anything untoward happened, all my fears rolled into one simple life saving device - I was sold and there was no stopping me then.
With my newly gained confidence, I moved from pool triathlons to open water events and entered many sprint triathlons in both the sea and lakes and in 2021 I qualified for the GBR under 20 age group team. I am looking forward to see where my triathlon journey takes me and now I have the confidence to swim in open water my swimming can fit around my studies.
I was a young activator for the BTF and was encouraged to take a coaching course as I was always on pool side helping the coaches. I am now a BTF Level 1 coach and coach at my club, the Isle of Wight Triathlon Club, and as I coach mainly juniors, safety is paramount. I never enter the sea myself, let alone with any club members, without a tow float. I have helped arrange club aquathlons and coach at open water training sessions and look forward to many more.
Being young we are often regarded as the "reckless ones with no thought for society" but, not only do I have respect for the sea itself, but organisations like the RNLI who work to keep everyone safe and I help to do my part.
I hope by encouraging and educating the club members and their families with sea safety, this will rub off on others and if I was able to save just one life through spreading the word, then its a win win. There are many open water groups on the Isle of Wight and I look forward to joining them and spreading the Swim Secure safety message of #besaferbeseen.
Most of the open water swimming groups on our island are adult groups, which leaves a big gap for the under 18s. There is the odd swimmer, apart from our triathlon club swimmers we see around and I am hoping to encourage more to enjoy the wonderful world of open water swimming which is right on our doorstep! It's hard when you're young to promote sea safety, but I am hoping with Swim Secure behind me I can do just that and maybe set up a group for younger swimmers around the Isle of Wight.
Over the covid period of pool closures & lockdowns we had a crew of younger swimmers who would meet up and swim in small groups but the drop in temperature has sent a few of them back to the warmer pools. May be this will change when the warmer months are upon us.
Last Summer was great for me as a coach to help the more nervous swimmers at the Isle of Wight Triathlon Club take the plunge and venture out of their depth. I found that once they had the comfort of a tow float around them there was no stopping them even in the bigger waves! I am really proud that from the encouragement and knowledge we have given them they have gone on to take part in open water lake triathlons which many had not done before.