Tips, Tricks & Not Freezing Off Your Tits!

January 06, 2020

Tips, Tricks & Not Freezing Off Your Tits!

Written by wild swimmer and guest blogger - Hetty Key (@mudchalkandgears)

DISCOVERING DEAKIN & BLUE

I first came across Deakin & Blue in October 2017 at the Women’s Adventure Expo. At this time I think it’s fair to say I was not a swimmer - in fact far from it! The thought of getting in a pool brought back bad memories of school swimming - awkward changing rooms, sitting on the side feeling self-conscious and failing to avoid the annual gala... Since then, most attempts to get back in the water were total non-starters. This was for a whole range of reasons, fear mainly, but swimwear was one. Trying to find something I liked, which fit well and was practical typically ended in tears. That being said, I really wanted to get into outdoor swimming. I loved the sea and open water - it intrigued but terrified me in equal measure. I just didn’t know how or where to begin (and didn’t feel brave enough!).

All this in mind, I was excited to hear renowned ocean swimmer Beth French would be speaking at Women’s Adventure Expo. Plonking myself at the back, I really hoped it would inspire some bravery on my part. It worked! Feeling fired up after the talk, I decided to enter a competition to win a swim with Beth and a D&B swimsuit.... and miraculously, I won! Although delighted, deep down, I had a tiny niggle... I felt like a bit of a fraud - I wasn’t a swimmer, surely a ‘proper swimmer’ would have made more of this opportunity? Maybe swam an ocean or something, not just learn to get in! However trying my new suit on back home, my mindset changed. I felt awesome - I might not have felt like a swimmer, but at least I now looked like one! Little did I know this was the start of a journey for me.

 

Hetty Key Wild Swimmer Outdoor Swimmer Beach Swimming Sustainable Swimwear

 

DOWN BY THE RIVER

A week later my friend Jenny and I were stood sheepishly on the bank of the river at 7am. Still psyched from the weekend’s win, we’d made a pact to come here and ‘swim’ (dip is definitely a more accurate term!) once a week until our birthdays in December. Even if we only got in as far as our knees to start, we were determined to commit and persevere. Despite being a beautiful morning, the water looked cold and intimidating. I made it as far as my waist before retreating fast. That was enough - any longer and the river monsters would get me!

Despite the slow start, inch by inch, each time we went, I got a little further. December came and went, and to our surprise, we were still dipping in January. Not only that, but our tribe of two had expanded to about six (dependent on the weather). In this time I’d grown to love the river and all its moods - it calmed, relaxed and refocused me. As someone who tends to push themselves a little too hard, I found the cold water gave me some much-needed headspace. Before our early morning dips, I’d been struggling mentally and had lacked motivation for my normal adrenaline-fuelled adventures. The gremlins in my head had got the better of me and really impacted how I saw my body and my confidence. The two had combined in a slow but steady spiral downwards. But here, down by the river, the spiralling stopped - I was beginning to learn a little more self-acceptance and love.

 

Hetty Key Wild Swimmer Outdoor Swimmer Beach Swimming Sustainable Swimwear

 

TIPS, TRICKS & NOT FREEZING OFF YOUR TITS!

Since those early days, cold water’s become a big part of my life - I’ve seen some beautiful places, made a whole host of new friends and changed the way I see myself. This will be my third year swimming through winter, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m still no expert; however I’ve picked up a few pointers along the way. Here are my top five tips:

  1. Easy on, easy off - make sure you have clothes that are easy to put back on when you get out. Tight leggings and fiddly bras can be a nightmare with cold hands. Think your outfit through before you get in - and make sure everything isn’t inside out!
  2. Find a friend - trying something new, or continuing a commitment are so much easier when there’s two of you. You’ve got double the motivation! However, if you’re struggling to convince your friends your not mad, get involved with one of the many swim communities online.
  3. Bobbles make everything better - I’m a big fan of a woolly hat in winter. It’s my comfort blanket on cold days and makes getting in easier. I’m sure there’s science behind it too!
  4. The Bond Girl mindset - Social media can make entering cold water look serene and calm... I’ve slid down muddy banks, stubbed my toe, waddled and swore (I’m sure a few choice profanities raise the water temperature by at least a degree). Channel your inner Bond girl but don’t worry if it goes tits up (literally!).
  5. We’re all different - Like D&B swimsuits! How long I stay in the water varies massively. Weather, mood, tiredness, hunger, water temperature, how regularly I’ve been swimming all affect me differently. Some days it’s tough to get off the bank, others are easier, and I’m in longer. Listen to your body, don’t compare yourself to others and stay safe.


I dislike the phrase ‘New Year, New You’ - it’s often banded about at this time of year. There was a point when all my yearly mantras used to involve trying to reinvent myself and find the ‘thing’ that would fix everything. Cold water hasn’t done that - but it has given me the space to work things out and understand little more about myself. So go grab a buddy, make a pact and just add water - cold or otherwise it doesn’t matter as long as you’re in it!

 

Hetty Key Wild Swimmer Outdoor Swimmer Beach Swimming Sustainable Swimwear



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