Open Water Swimming

Open Water Swimming

You would have thought that being selected to swim for your County in your younger years would mean you were a strong enough swimmer to put your mind to swimming anywhere….

I have, from a distance, admired and followed (on Instagram, not literally!) those who partake in open water swimming while feeling a little jealous of their bravery and lack of fear of what lies beneath the surface. It took the re-opening of our local gym following the recent pandemic and them only allowing members to swim, for me to sign up with NOWCA at Love Open Water Swimming to, in my mind, get ‘revenge’ on the leisure centre!

After a few false starts I eventually onboarded my colleague Ulrika, and off we went on a sunny evening after work for our first dip in Hoveringham sailing lake. There was a lot of nervous chatter on the way and conversations about wetsuits, floats, swimming hats, little swimming boots and goggles. Once we had negotiated the gate code and obeyed the 10 mile an hour speed limit, we arrived to a lot of smiling welcoming faces, got changed outside and had our induction. This involved having a photograph taken for our profiles, in which you can see the anxiety in my face.

It was then time to enter the 20-degree calm lake, the moment I submerged my body and glided out into the clear clean water a smile crossed my face and my thoughts were, why didn’t you do this sooner. I turned to Ulli who was also in and smiling and we embarked on 1,000m, two laps of the lake.

As soon as we were out and dry and back in the car feeling euphoric and proud of ourselves, we bought tokens for a further 10 sessions.

I can honestly say that open water swimming has changed me and my lifestyle. I would never previously have dreamed of being in a lake at 8am on a Saturday morning or starting the working week off with the sun peeping through the clouds on my back swimming with ducklings. The mental wellbeing and calm this induces are the perfect start to a busy week, it’s so very beneficial to kick off on a positive footing, and also to wind down at the end of the day. It has certainly aided my sleep, too.

I have realised that most anxieties about starting something new are not around the actual activity but the elements surrounding it such as equipment, getting there and other people, but most of all fear of making a fool of yourself. My advice to anyone thinking about taking up a new hobby is do not let these minor hurdles stop you as they soon melt away and the activity itself could be life changing.

Ulli and I have set ourselves a challenge to swim 1,000m a day for the whole of September, so 30,000m each in total. This will involve swimming in different venues not only in the surrounding Counties but all over the UK, including Edinburgh for me. We are raising money for the charity Mind - who support those suffering with stress, depression and other mental health issues - and any sponsors would be most welcome

Please read more about our efforts on our Just Giving Page: