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Cold water swimming Swimming and mental health

Swimming during a pandemic

COVID-19 put many things on hold, including swimming, with many people unable to access the water. So what’s it been like for wild swimmers? In this episode I speak to swimmers about their experiences, including those who put training on hold, and those who started wild swimming for the first time.

Many swimmers – including myself – speak of a new appreciation for swimming, and the release that being in the water gives them, plus a new appreciation for nature after being stuck indoors for so long.

Thank you to Eva, Lisa, Liz H, Liz R, Nadia and Russ for sharing their experiences for this episode.

Categories
Adventure swimming Channel swimming Episodes

Jo Jones: If you never try, you’ll never know

In 2020, Jo Jones took on the Bristol Channel, following in the footsteps of Kathleen Thomas, the first person to cross the channel almost 100 years earlier. But things didn’t go to plan, and with the open water swimming season coming to a close, a broken boat and bad weather put the swim under threat.

Jo talks through the lessons learnt over her journey, from the resilience needed to bounce back from the cancelled swim, to how her mindset of ‘just enjoy it’ led to her setting the fastest ever time for the crossing.

Categories
Cold water swimming Swimming and mental health

P B Hughes: Courage from cold water

P B Hughes is a cold water swimmer and poet from London. In this episode she describes the courage needed to attempt cold water swimming, and observes that this courage is something she’s been able to take strength in during difficult times. She also describes the parallels between cold water swimming and her creative work.

P B finishes the episode by sharing a couple of her poems.

Categories
Cold water swimming Swimming and mental health

Tamsin Calidas: I am an island

Tamsin Calidas followed her dream of moving from London to a remote Scottish island. Relocating and adjusting to island life wasn’t without its challenges, and Tamsin shares how sea swimming and finding a bond with nature has helped her overcome those difficult times, and has now started to inspire her creative work.

I love how Tamsin describes the transformative impact swimming had for her, from forcing her to face her fears, to motivating her to get up in the morning. It’s allowed her to connect with her physical self and find a sense of release, or a place of peace, while being held by the water.

Tamsin shares an extract from her book at the end of the episode, and listening to it is like being in the water, swimming alongside her.

Tamsin is a writer and photographer. Her memoir, “I Am An Island” explores the challenges we all face, and is available now.

“I Am An Island” by Tamsin Calidas is available now

All images © Tamsin Calidas

Categories
Adventure swimming

Shannon Keegan: In search of Memphre

Shannon Keegan has a personal relationship with Lake Memphremagog. It’s the place that inspired her to take part in her first open water swim event, and where she caught the wild swimming bug, so it’s no surprise it’s somewhere that she’s returned to multiple times since. In this episode she talks about swimming across the 25 mile lake in search of Memphre – the mythical lake creature who lives there.

Shannon speaks in such a real and honest way about swimming, from the nerves before her first event, to what it felt like as she stepped into the water at nighttime for her 25 mile swim.

Through her work at Intrepid Water, Shannon helps other people find that same love of outdoor swimming, and shes’ been documenting the experiences of endurance swimmers through Marathon Swim Stories.

Categories
Adventure swimming Episodes

Swimming the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz

I share my once in a lifetime experience of swimming from the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz. Not quite the route of the legendary swim from the prison, but close enough (I’ll have to go back one day!)

I can’t swim right now due to lockdown conditions, but I can reminisce about swimming! From being so nervous I didn’t want to go, to being in the water and seeing these two iconic landmarks from a very different perspective. 

Categories
Cold water swimming Episodes

Sara Barnes: Winter swimming

Lake District swimmer Sara Barnes shares why winter swimming means so much to her.

Sara started cold water swimming as therapy and as way to continue to experience her beloved Lake District landscape.

In this episode she talks about how the bravery needed to get into the water in the colder months pays off when you swim under a rainbow, as well as how to warm back up again after a swim.

Categories
Advice on training for events Episodes

Swimming the Dart 10k

My experience of my first marathon distance swim, swimming the Outdoor Swimming Society’s Dart 10k from (very early!) start to finish. I got really lucky with perfect conditions that definitely made it easier than it could have been. In this episode I talk about the highs and lows of the swim and my thoughts on finishing the challenge.

Categories
Advice on training for events Episodes Outdoor swimming for beginners

Simon Griffiths: Training for swim events

Simon Griffiths is the founder of Outdoor Swimmer magazine. He takes part in swimming events around the world and this summer he’s planning a 21km swim along a lake in Sweden.

In this episode, Simon shares his experience of open water swimming events, including how he trains for these big swim challenges, what keeps him motivated during training, and what to expect on event day. 

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Episodes

Karen Smith: The power of community

Karen Smith is a strong advocate for the positive effect that swimming can have on mental health and believes learning to swim has changed her life.

In this episode, Karen talks about the community at her lido, Parliament Hill, and how she’s found friends across the country through a shared passion for swimming.