Dip your toes in wild water - Open Water Swimming
Open Water Swimming.
We are using the term here to describe the growing popularity of swimming in outdoor bodies of water, such as oceans, lakes, rivers, lochs and we've put together this guide to help you find the right event and location choice for you.
Clubs like the Serpentine Swimming Club (http://serpentineswimmingclub.com/) and Brighton Sea Swimming Club are annual tv news stories with people taking the plunge for Xmas day and New Years swims but there is a growing movement for people to swim in natural surroundings around the country.
Open Water swims can be as part of a club, solo, and there are also a number of watersports centres that are now opening thier lakes/facilities to people for swim sessions.
Open Water Swimming has also been made more popular by the addition of the Olympic event, the 10km race. This class of event is actually the shortest distance for Marathon swimming which is defined by long distances (of at least 10 km) and uses the traditional rules based on English Channel swimming.
Here are some interesting facts about Open Water Swimming which you may not have known:
- One of the earliest recorded events for the modern age of Open Water Swimming was May 3, 1810, when Lord Byron swam several miles to cross the Hellespont from Europe to Asia
- Captain Matthew Webb was the first recorded person to swim the English Channel without the use of artificial aids for sport purpose. On 25 August 1875, Webb swam from Dover to Calais in fewer than 22 hours.
- There is an event called the "ice mile". Where you have to swim the equivalent of a mile in water with temperatures of 5 degrees Celsius or lower (the water temperature must be measured for at least 10 minutes, between 5 to 20 inches below the water surface with an average pulled from 3 thermometers.
- Open Water Swims typically go parallel to shore, to or around a fixed point, around a closed course, or point to point (according to USA swimming)
- Open Water Swimming was not an Olympic sport until 2008.
Finding the right swim for you:
There are a couple of specialist websites that have in depth information and event/race calendars that can help you find the right swim for you.
Wild Swimming - http://www.wildswimming.co.uk
The Outdoor Swim Society - http://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/
How to get prepared:
If you like the idea of an open water swim, but you're not quite ready just yet, we have found a great guide to help you:
and here is how to get started and comfortable in a pool first http://www.swimming.org/justswim
Event Level: All Levels
Event Participants: Individual