In our new blog series, Making Waves, we talk to a different Deakin and Blue customer once a fortnight to find out more about what they get up to in their cossie.
First in our series is one of our favourite outdoor swimmers: Ella Foote. Ella swims year round in lakes, rivers, the sea and basically any pool of water she can get into. A champion of body positivity and mental health, Ella is a free spirit, water wanderer and cheerleader of women.
Ella, how did you first get into outdoor swimming?
All credit to my Mum and Dad who used to take us to Dorset for our summer hols. We would swim in the sea, dodge jellyfish, build sandcastles and catch crabs. I would freak out about swimming over weed, but my Dad would push me and eventually in my twenties it became natural to return to the sea and find rivers more locally.
What is it about swimming in the outdoors that appeals to you?
Fresh air, natural light, wildlife and the zing! Swimming outdoors is a feast for the senses. Smelling the dirt dampness of the riverbank, the sensations of sand and silt on your skin, hearing birds or wooshing waves, salty lips or earthy splashes in your nose and seeing the day unfold or end in the water!
How do you prepare for a swim?
Depends on the conditions on the day, weather, season and type of swim. Making sure I have warm layers and hot drink in winter, or ensuring I have eaten and slept well for a long swim or event. The best swims are when it isn't planned or becomes surprising. Always keep a swimsuit in my car.
What have you learned from outdoor swimming? About yourself? About the world? About the activity?
I am a lot stronger and more resilient than I ever actually think I am. Long swims or tough conditions is more about the mind than physical strength. The world is full of kind strangers, joy and childlike playground conditions - you just have to find them. Swimming is the solution for any problem. It helps you get physically and mentally fit.
What advice would you give to others looking to try outdoor swimming? Why should they?
Discover places where swimming is safe and people already swim, seek them for company. Build up slowly - dip toes in, then do a little bit and get out and next time do a little more. You won't regret starting swimming outdoors - be careful it is addictive.
What feeling do you get after a dip in a lake, river or the sea?
Elation. Peace. Strength. Invincible!
Thanks to Ella for chatting to us - if you don't already follow her on Instagram then please do - her feed is outdoor swimspo for the soul.