WHY I SWIM OUTDOORS
I’ve loved being in water for as long as I can remember. As I was growing up whenever there was water around I wanted to be in it (and under it mostly) and that feeling has never really left me!
This year my good friend (also a swimming lover) and I decided to don our swimsuits at least once a week and made a commitment to swim outdoors either in the river local to me, or in the sea – in fact wherever we happened to be. At first it was a reason to make time to see each other regularly in our incredibly busy lives, and to have a chance to chat, talk things through and often have a giggle.
It’s become more than that.
I can’t explain why I swim; I don’t do it for fitness as I already run and do yoga regularly, I am not preparing for a competitive event that involves swimming and so over time it has become one of the very few things that I do in my life that provides a sense of fulfilment in and of itself without the need for an outcome or goal to work towards.
For me swimming provides a sense of freedom and release that I don’t always get from other activities. The whole process has become a source of delight – the nervous anticipation of getting into cold water, the euphoria and hysterical laughter that comes from making contact with the water, the sense of weightlessness as you float and the pleasure of a shared experience has become incredibly special.
Every swim offers something different; the calm days where you can swim for miles are peaceful, the windy days jumping the waves are exciting and fun, the river swims amongst the boats and (often surprised) sailors are tranquil and serene – there is always something new to enjoy. Every swim is a little adventure in itself.
The icing on the cake is that amongst the swimming and wave jumping my friend and I have shared our lives, talked our heartaches through, offered advice and told our funny stories. Our friendship has always been special but these moments together have cemented something fundamental and important. The sharing of an experience we have both enjoyed has brought us closer together, given us something to look forward to. The experience has become a passion and we plan to widen our wild swimming adventures so watch this space!
To anyone else who is considering wild swimming, I would say go for it! Grab a friend, pick a date, and cheer each other on when the water hits your waist. The idea of getting into cold water may sound pretty horrifying but I can guarantee you’ll be on a high at the end!
Be sure to let me know how you get on!