Our cover images policy at Outdoor Swimmer is, as far as possible, to celebrate real swimmers doing real swimming (rather than models doing pretend swimming). On our May 2019 issue we feature Lindsey Cole, AKA the Urban Mermaid, following her swim with a mermaid tail down The Thames last November. Since then, she's embraced a nomadic swimming lifestyle and wound up at the Scottish Cold Water Swimming Championships, where Anna Deacon took these pictures. So what does Lindsey think about becoming a cover model?
Did you have any idea you were on the cover of the May issue of Outdoor Swimmer?
No! Not at all. It's actually a nice surprise as I was planning on writing an article for Outdoor Swimmer about my journey to where this photo was taken, but because I carried on with that journey I missed the deadline. With this, I still got in the magazine anyway.
What were you doing when this picture was taken?
I'd just finished a two week cycle journey zig zagging across Britain to make the inaugural Scottish Cold Water Swim Championships, and I got a bit wobbly after my 50m "Ice fly" event. Sarah, one of the kind safety guards at the event, wrapped her arm around me and supported me off the pontoon. I actually thought that it was a great service they’d put on. I didn’t realise it was because I was wobbly!
How has your relationship with swimming changed since you did your Thames mermaid swim? And how has swimming changed you?
Oh my word. It’s changed massively. I’ve been almost everyday since the end of January. And many times I’ve been more than once a day. I’ve made really good friends through swimming this year and I’ve discovered a medicine to perk me up when I’m not feeling too colourful.
Did you have any idea that you would carry on swimming through the winter after your Thames swim?
Ha! No idea at all. This all happened quite accidentally. After I swam the Thames I started linking up with swimmers whenever I travelled somewhere new. Then people started inviting me to their swim spots. Then I did this mad journey, Dipping to Scotland, which made me feel so wonderful that I just decided to carry on.
What other swimming adventures have you got planned?
I'm aiming for the Isles of Scilly and then I’d like to do one big long swim to put a full stop on this adventure, otherwise I could probably carry on forever. I might be looking to people to joining me for that long big swim, so please get in touch if you’re keen.
(You can connect with Lindsey on Twitter @LindseyCole and Instagram @stompycole)
Why is it important that your swims have a bigger purpose (e.g. environmentalism, support for Crisis etc.)?
With regards to the environment, I’m so lucky to have been to some of the most beautiful parts of the world. It's my payment to the planet to encourage myself and others to look after it. And, despite not having worked out where I want to settle and live yet, I’ve always got a roof over my head. Some people aren’t so lucky. I reckon when we’re in such a privileged position to have the luxury to have a hobby and get out into nature the least we can do is to raise awareness for causes linked to it.