If you’re looking to break out of the swimming pool into open water, or have ever fancied giving it a go there’s never been a better time to go wild. Open water swimming is the perfect way to take your swimming ( and even your life) in a new direction.
Take the Plunge
Now is a great time to take the plunge from pool to outdoors, according to Sport England data around 2.5 million people are swimming at least once per week and more than 400,000 people report that they swim outdoors at least once per week.
While you must be competent swimmer, you don’t have to be a swimming superstar to take on open water – it’s a fairly simple transition from the pool, but it does take some getting used to as it comes with its own challenges including currents, weeds, varying water temperatures and of course the weather.
“The more you do it the more addictive it becomes”
“If you want to do open water swimming you really need to practice outdoors to acclimatise and get yourself used to the different environment and feelings” says Pete Kelly, Director of Swim the Lakes, the Lake Districts open water swimming experts, “and the more you do it, the better you’ll be and more addictive it becomes”.
As Pete explains ” Open water or wild swimming is a great way to explore the outdoors from a totally different perspective, its freedom, adventure and fun all rolled together. There are risks of course, as with any sport, things can certainly get interesting and swimming alone is not recommended for the novice, but there’s never a dull moment and the views are breathtaking”.
Swimming wetsuits are designed solely for swimming, they are made of soft flexible neoprene and wearing one helps insulate against the cold and keeps you buoyant, surfers wetsuits are not suitable as these can be restricting and don’t provide the same buoyancy and warmth.
Join an introduction to open water swimming course
Pete recommends joining an introduction to open water swimming course, Swim the Lakes run a number of half day courses throughout the summer, “our introduction courses are very popular, they are fun and informative and we take you from no-idea to no-fear in one session, everybody always enjoys themselves” continues Pete. ” The introduction courses are only the start of what can be an amazing journey, the open water swimming community is like one big family it really is a friendly sport and swimmers easily find others to swim with, and of course there’s always plenty of tea and cake”.
Open water swimming is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. It could open a whole new world, you can enter a triathlon, go on a swimming holiday, swim in a mass participation event, or dip in rivers for fun.
Take Part: Short Wild Swims the Lake District