Brandywine YMCA

Post 5-hour flight evening swim out in the Delaware sticks. Sans towel!

4am start, 5-hour flight… But a new state added!

Another super-quick swim for the numbers today, not bad considering the 4 am start in Las Vegas (Pacific timezone!).

A fairly straight-forward 5-something-hour flight from Vegas to Philadelphia passed quickly catching up on the final Clarkson, Hammond and May Grand Tour series three antics. Followed by the usual inexplicably long wait at the checked luggage carousel, when my bag finally pops up the chute, I see a friendly baggage handler has taken a moment to unzip the outer pocket to check I hadn’t left anything of value in there, so kind.

A quick hop over to the rental car lot - why are Alamo courtesy buses always the last to come? - always! Arrive to hear they can’t find my allocated car, ‘would I accept a Range Rover Sport instead?’, before I can answer, the screech of tyres from the neighbouring Enterprise lot, they’ve ‘borrowed one from the competition! Still feeling the post-40th-birthday mid-life crisis, opted for another Dodge Challenger, this time in black, but the cherry on the cake, this one is a long way from home and has Louisiana plates!

A quick zip down the I95 into Wilmington, DE. Whoo, a new state to tick off the list! My tired eyes pool research from the previous night failed to note exactly where the pool I’d chosen was located, a quick pool finder gives two options, I plumb for Brandywine because, well the name is awesome. Pull over and enter the address on CarPlay, Go! The map spins for a minute then tells me I’m in downtown Boston! WTF! Reset, retry, nothing, the car is certain I’m in Boston. Unplug and use Google Maps old school (phone propped up on dashboard).

How beautiful is Brandywine! Follow the directions through some spectacular countryside for 20 minutes, straight to the pool, no missed turns or where am I moments.

Just out of the car feeling surprisingly fresh, ‘open boot/pop trunk’ to the sudden realisation I’ve come straight from the airport and have no towel. Oh well, not the first time I’ve used my boxers to get dry!

Approach reception, ask the lady if there is public lane swimming, ‘just one lane’ she tells me, club swim training have the other five. A quick few minutes chat as she loves the accent, I’m in free, she’s sorted me some sort of guest pass, thank you! and no, I’m not from London!

Enter the pool, damn it’s five lanes of proper club training, and they’re moving some water! Thankfully, the sixth lane is empty but of one guy stretching, he looks like he’ll be nippy so jump straight in.

Intend to swim the old 800, 400, 200, 100 then some 50’s to put the times in, but another guy has started now and I’m quickly catching him. That coupled with its the sort of water that makes your mouth ‘furry’, I reach 400 then stop to grab some water. Finish up with 100’s to a total of 1,500 yards. Still out-of-shape and hungry, I head off to the locker room to see how well Calvin Kleins will dry a 105kg man.

Back in the Louisiana beast, head to downtown Philadelphia, Hilton Penn’s Landing by way of a McDonalds. Not a great Hilton, one of my least favourite, they give me a room sandwiched between the busy (noisy) highway and a barking dog (next room!), ask to be moved for the second night! - and weird car park, to access the hotel, you have to take a lift down one floor, then another up one floor!

Swim Stats

  • Length: 1500 yards total swim
  • 1:20 pace / 100y
  • Garmin Swim Watch



Great community pool set in a beautiful part of Delaware. Facilities were pretty good for a public pool, pool-side, water and changing rooms were all clean and tip-top.

Pool Details

  • Length: 25 yards
  • 6-lane pool
  • Indoor

Brandywine YMCA
3 Mount Lebanon Road, Wilmington, DE, USA

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