Some swim for the freedom, some for the friendship. Others for the weekly workout, some for the mindful meditation. For the peace and quiet, or because the pure joy of being in water is irresistible. We all swim for different reasons.
We recently asked some of our customers "why do you swim?" and their answers blew us away.
Here are some of our favourite responses...
I rediscovered swimming two years ago when I had to give up long distance speed walking due to hip problems. After a year I realised I missed being in nature and the social aspects of my walking life, and wondered if I could find that in swimming. After a winter researching how, where and with whom I could swim outside, I started swimming with a couple of local groups in April 2018. Not only did I get back my connection with nature but I found my tribe! I’ve never experienced such inclusivity, warmth and sheer bonkers-ness before and through this year I’ve become stronger, fitter, happier and more confident than ever, swimming with my merpeople and finding swim spots wherever I travel for work. Swimming outdoors presses my reset button and gives me a buzz like no other.
I took up swimming about 3 years ago to ease the loss of having to give up a 30 year running habit post some major surgery. I have discovered a wonderful inclusive community of very disparate individuals with whom I swim, drink tea and eat cake in West Berkshire. I swim to keep my mind and body in balance with each other and the rest of my life - skins swimming in cold water is life affirming, and being out in river in the the beautiful Berkshire countryside throughout the year so joyful.
It is a time to feel free, to feel beautiful and to feel strong. I am the City Selkie and my true form shows through when I take off my concrete gown and tarmac shoes. I swim in the lake district and the curves and rolls around me are very female. I feel like a goddess in the cold water.
As a typical not-perfect teenager, growing up in Cape Town was no fun: always at the beach, swimming training at school, trying to cover up my wobbles and hair. That feeling has stuck with me for most of my life: worrying what other people will think. I had particularly tough teenage years, and when I had my two children I felt reluctant to go out at all, let alone spend any time exposing myself to strangers!
Then my sister starting swimming - in pools, in lakes, in the sea... And her enthusiasm was infectious! I wanted some of that crazy! It finally struck me that it didn't matter what you look like as long as you're laughing and loving it and doing it! So I dived in. It's been a year so far, and I swim to get away, swim to keep fit, swim for the feeling of summertime in the middle of winter, swim because it makes me smile and mostly because everyone around me seems to think I'm crazy!
Lara, South Africa
I swim for me - for peace and quiet, to notice things (herons on banks, the feel of the water), to be able to think about nothing except my breath. And I swim to be part of something - the post-swim sit on the bank with a group of ‘women who do’ drinking coffee and learning.
For me outdoor swimming takes me to my happy place. All worries and stress are washed away. It has definitely improved my health: in fact, I’ve had just one cold in four years. I feel refreshed both physically and mentally when I swim. Whilst the sea is my spiritual home I literally jump in any spot of open water. Our holidays revolve around tracking down swimming spots: I jump in whilst my hubby holds my towel and acts as lifeguard! I’ve swam in rivers, lakes, tarns, lochs and the sea all around Europe. I even climbed to the top of Haystacks in the Lake District so I could swim in Innominate Tarn. I have made new lifelong friends and have done some amazing swims because of them. I can’t quite believe what a wonderful life I have because of swimming. My life changed when I took up open water swimming. I am truly blessed.
Karen, The Lake District
I swim to reconnect with nature, to be with ridiculously positive swim friends, to eat cake, to take photos and be creative. I love the tingle of anticipation and the sheer freedom and joy of the ocean, the tranquility of lakes and frankly all water everywhere. I’m also a heroically awful surfer. I’ve swum in Estonia, Sweden and Grimsby for the lols and will go on for much longer but I have to do some work...
Jane, North East England
I swim in the sea off Brighton because it makes me feel grounded. No matter what’s going on as soon as I get in it all gets washed away. It makes me feel strong and wild. I think I’m actually a thoroughly modern mermaid.
Swimming through winter helps me cope with the winter blues, the stresses of life and keeps anxiety from bubbling over. It’s wonderfully sociable and bonding; I’ve made wonderful friends. It’s also helped me deal with my poor relationship with my body image, focussing on what it can do more than what it looks like. In fact, I love swimming wild and free so much that I trained to be an open water coach and pass it on to others!
Swimming for me is both an escape and a social outlet. I love to come to the pool/beach/pond/lake/river to meet new like minded people and catch up with friends but it’s also the best escape! I love the feeling of submerging myself in water (either diving or a bit of underwater breaststroke) and feeling totally encompassed by water, like a great big friendly hug!