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Sharron Davies speaks to Outdoor Swimmer

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SwimQuest Swimming Holidays has announced a new partnership with household name Sharron Davies MBE to promote wellbeing and mental health. SwimQuest have teamed up with Sharron to run a new and exclusive open water ‘mindfulness retreat’ in Croatia in October 2019.

“I’m very much looking forward to a great week of open water skills, yoga & motivational chat with new friends in beautiful Croatia”. Sharron said.

We caught up with the Olympic Silver and double Commonwealth Gold medallist to chat about the growth in outdoor swimming, goggle marks and life after swimming.

What do you think of the current growth in outdoor swimming?

It’s brilliant to see it happen. I admire everyone who does it. However, it’s too cold for me! I’m a sun worshipper. Still I would love to see more open water swimming opportunities for youngsters. Very few [youth] swimming clubs have an inclusive structure and open water could help keep some kids interested in swimming for longer.

Do you think you might have been tempted, if marathon swimming had been an Olympic event in the 1980s?

It’s difficult to say. I might have been! I was certainly doing the training for it with 7 to 8km sessions and upwards of 80km per week. I can see how Jazz Carlin is attracted to it today. However, a big difference back then was that there was absolutely no financial support, and we had no means to earn money through swimming. I even got banned for earning £40 and left swimming with a debt. It would have been financially very difficult to stay longer in the sport.

What type of swimming do you do now?

I still love swimming and the pool is my place. However, as I’ve got older, I find the goggle marks take longer to disappear each time, which is a nuisance if I have to appear anywhere looking my best. It’s also a fact that swimming is a palaver and can take a big chunk out of your day by the time you’ve got to the pool, changed, swum, changed again, dried your hair and gone on to the next thing. I've got some gym equipment at home so for a quick workout, that's much more efficient.

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No goggle lines here

Aside from commentary, how are you involved in swimming today?

I love swimming and I love that people are enjoying my sport in all sorts of different ways, including open water swimming, so I promote swimming whenever I can. I work with British Swimming and I'm very much behind what Jack Buckner (CEO) is trying to do with new commercial ideas. Swimming is such a wonderful activity for keeping healthy and I love that people are enjoying my sport. We have a problem in this country with 48% of kids leaving school without being able to swim, and swimming is an essential life skill. Swimming needs to be part of the school protocol and I support any efforts to improve swimming opportunities for kids. I also used to coach the occasional session for my son's club when he was there, but coaching's not really my thing.

What advice do you have for today's elite swimmers? Sport is very fickle and you can easily be side-lined with an injury so everyone should have a plan B. In my experience, swimmers are clever people and should use their brains. I would therefore urge them to think hard now about what they want to do after swimming and consider what skills they can develop alongside their training.

Wellness week

The SwimQuest open water ‘mindfulness retreat’ in Croatia, based the boutique hideaway resort of Palmizana, just off Hvar will run from 10-16 October 2019. The week will incorporate talks from Sharron, technique advice, yoga sessions, and stunning coastal, bay, and inter-island swims.

“This is a really unique trip, and a wonderful chance for us to celebrate the well attested contributions open water swimming offers to wellbeing and mental health” says SwimQuest co-founder, Alice Todd. “The island of Palmizana is the perfect location for this week too; a secret hideaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life – offering space to rest and rejuvenate.”

Find out more at www.swimquest.uk.com/sharronda...

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Cover June19

Issue 27 June 2019

  • How to swim in a straight line - very useful!
  • Swimming with a Bronze Age boat
  • How to overcome race day worries
  • Eco Heroes - Two minute beach clean
  • Love your local lido!
  • Comprehensive UK and international swim listings

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