Review: Turkey SwimTrek

October Half-Term 2015 – SwimTrek

Who would want to meet at Gatwick at 5.30 in the morning to catch a flight?
Who would want to go swimming three times a week as training for a school trip?

Eleven Marlburian open water pioneers of course, who went on a long distance sea SwimTrek in Turkey over half-term.  This was Marlborough’s first SwimTrek, and the first pupil group Swimtrek had taken.

This remarkable group of swimmers proved to be all that we would expect of Marlburians – adventurous, courteous, positive, curious and indefatigably energetic.

They swam between five and six kilometres each day and showed such tenacity and resilience in the water.  They were rewarded though, as every swim was memorable in its own way.  What would not be memorable about swimming with turtles, diving into caves, swimming over an ancient city that sunk in an earthquake, reading the inscription on a WWII gravestone on the sea-bed, swimming through the ominously named Shark Bay, spotting tombs carved into cliffs or swimming to an amphitheatre?

Perhaps the most memorable swim, and the most thought provoking in terms of the geopolitical situation in the area, was the 3km crossing swim from the Greek Island of Kastellorizo back to Turkey.  The Marlburians powered through very choppy waters with such determination. Little wonder that they all fell asleep on the boat after lunch. (In case there is any doubt, the Beaks on the trip didn’t spend their days on a boat sunbathing, casually following the swimmers through binoculars whilst shouting occasional encouragement across the waves.  Oh no.  This was Beaks and pupils swimming side by side.  It may be a bold suggestion but I suspect the Beaks might even have earned themselves a degree of credibility as swimmers.)

The pupils proved to be veritable ‘foodies’, tucking into every Turkish mezze with relish – five a day quotas were gleefully exceeded with sun ripened, flavoursome fruits and vegetables carefully prepared for us by the boat captain’s wife.

Despite the endurance and stamina that the swims needed, the laughter and smiles during this trip were incessant. There wasn’t a calamity, or crisis or telling off dispensed all week.  The swimmers on this trip were such excellent company, each of them a uniquely charming and humorous conversationalist that made the week in Turkey with them an absolute joy.

Maria von Weissenberg 

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