Tales from lockdown: how has Covid-19 impacted the world of outdoor swimming?

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As coronavirus forces the closure of the world’s open waters, the outdoor swimming community waits patiently for its return.

In March this year, the global spread of Covid-19 caused the world of outdoor swimming to grind to an abrupt and unwelcomed halt virtually over-night. Just as the sport was set to enter into its biggest season to date, with more events taking place around the world and more swimmers taking to the outdoors than ever before, venues were forced to close, events were cancelled or postponed, all coaching stopped, and swimmers were left unable to access the open water in any capacity. It has meant that the new open water season now looks set to amount, regrettably, to nothing.

So how has the outdoor swimming community adapted to this change? Many swimmers have taken to social media to share their home pools and wheelie bin remedies to get their cold-water fix. But how are swimmers really coping now they are not able to swim? What difficulties do swim businesses now face? And how are athletes and competitive swimmers coping faced with a summer without open water events?

Here we share a handful of lockdown stories from swimmers, coaches, competitive swimmers and business owners about how they are coping without the open water.

To read the full article and support our magazine, please pick up the new May issue of Outdoor Swimmer here.

01 Cover December

Issue 44 December 2020

  • Finding joy in 2020: Sarah Thomas looks back on a very strange year
  • Motivation: triple Olympian Keri-anne Payne on dealing with changing situations
  • UnstoppaBull: the extreme adventurer who swam in the highest lake on earth
  • Wild swimming: misadventures in the Peak District
  • Soul Cap: solving the problem of swimming with afro hair

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