Dive-in Belles 2009

Photo by Keiran Doherty
In the picture (from left): Debbie Butler, Carol Gook, Lucy Neal, Lucinda Denning

The story behind the photo:

Cold Water Swimming Champpinships 2009. Competitors from all over Europe of all ages 10 yrs old to 90 yrs old turn up to brave the icy waters of the Tooting Bec Lido in London. I am standing about 3ft away from the famous multi coloured cubicles that adorn both sides of the 100 yard long outdoor pool and about one inch from the edge of the pool. It’s a tight 24mm shot with little room for error as we wait for the four ladies to emerge to perform the opening ceremony. It’s pretty simple. Four ladies clad in swimwear matching their corresponding cubicles of colour will emerge and elegantly slip into the freezing water. We are just waiting for the starting bugle to sound on the other side of the pool and as it rings out, a lifeguard decides that now would be a good time to run in between me and the four cubicles, to his credit he did duck as he ran but it was a full length image so it made no difference. His timing however was immaculate. As each door opened in sync, as my shutter fired in sync, he managed to perfectly obscure each lady in turn. Of the seven frames I have of the whole episode he is in six of them. The image here is the seventh frame where I was able to crop out his red jumper in the right hand corner of the frame. What was going through my mind as I wired in the picture was how much better the previous six frames were… But for the lifeguard. So I was left with the one you see here. Another missed picture to go into my end of career book of missed pictures.

Then National Geographic magazine call saying they want to run the image as a double page in their ‘Visions Of Earth’ section. And can they have the original raw file? So I naturally obliged pointing out that they should crop it the way I did. Well Nat Geo do things their own way and they published the image full frame in the mag leaving the lifeguard’s red jumper in the bottom right corner. I remember seeing it and feeling disappointed. I had cropped the lifeguard out in frustration at the time but now I actually prefer their version. Images aren’t supposed to be perfect, just tell a story.

Dive-in Belles 2009
Date of origination  ? 24 January 2009
Date of upload  ?
Scope & content Digital only
File format.  ? JPG image
Tags Cold Water Swimming Championships, CWSC
Add your content to the archive


Add your photos, cuttings, documents, or simply your memories, to our archive.

 Join the TBL history group


If you're interested in researching the past, we'd love you to join the Tooting Bec Lido History Group.


Your comment has been added

Be the first to comment.

Login to comment