Imagine, its October the cool autumn fog is sitting above England’s largest lake, the water temperature is 12oc. A small group of swimmers gather on the lake edge and one of them has a gold medal.

Olympic Gold Medalist Duncan Goodhew won Gold for Great Britain at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, but he also won the hearts and minds of the nation. His bald head is instantly recognised amongst us enthusiasts of a certain generation.
He and others sporting heroes of the decade became an inspiration to many budding athletes and newbie’s.


So it was a pleasure when last Wednesday he walked into our shop in Ambleside.

We discussed the merits of open water swimming and the unfortunate cancellation of the Great North Swim in September which was to be held in Lake Windermere. We planned a dip in Windermere for that afternoon.

The Lake was 12oC so we went well prepared.

Here’a our top tips for Chilly Lake Swimming

  1. Get changed as quick as possible on the lake edge. Wearing a neoprene vest under your open water swimming wetsuit will add some extra warmth.
  2. As soon as you’re in the water and chosen a fixed object (in our case a large buoy) to swim too, start swimming straight away, move steadily as you warm up into your rhythm.
  3. Keep a regular check on those around you. You may have agreed a system before hand to let each other know you’re OK.
  4. Enjoy as you relax into your stride.
  5. As you exit the Lake take care not to knock yourself on rocks, jetties etc as your tendons and muscles could be cold and you want to avoid any injuries.
  6. Have plenty of hot drinks in a waiting flask.
  7. Share laughter to keep yourselves warm as you change into your cosy clothes.
  8. Put on a warm hat & gloves and insulating mid-layers such as down and fleece jackets and thermal base layers to get your body temperature back up as soon as you can.

Remember to enjoy your swimming and lets us know how you get on.

Related Articles:

Cold Water Swimming Tips

Accessories for Cold Water Swimming