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Whenever I am asked why I like to swim outdoors one of the main reasons I give is how much fun it is. Yes, it is great for physical and mental health. Yes, I love being in nature and yes, I love the challenge, but I love nothing more than spending a day in the water for the fun of it. I am sure many can relate to the childlike glee of jumping into water or diving down imagining you are some sort of aquatic creature. As Rowan Clarke explores in this month’s lead feature ‘Let’s play!’ (below), play isn’t just about fun but about the risk, experimenting and pushing boundaries – things outdoor swimming gives to us all.
If you have young people in your life and wanted to share your childlike self with them in the water, writer and swimming teacher Hannah May shares her methods of introducing children to open water and young journalist Maisie Bartlett chats with children’s fiction author Richard Pickard about his watery-themed books. Other playful content in this month’s issue includes Abigail Whyte’s interview with a professional puppeteer and Jack Bright looks back into the history of Peterborough Lido and the winged man who attempted to fly across the River Nene.
There is the usual training and technique advice with a playful twist, Omie Dale reviews beach bags and we head to the North East of England for swim adventures in our travel section.
Hope you find as much joy in reading this issue as we have in making it!
Ella Foote, Editor
- Wild swimming spots in North East EnglandSarah Banks, author of Wild Guide North East England, chooses 10 of her favourite places to swim in the North East.
- What’s the cause of my hip pain while swimming?Swimming coach Cassie Patten troubleshoots a reader’s hip pain, and shares some tips for preventing further discomfort.
- The Goddess of the WyeAwe, reverence and joy – this is what puppeteer and activist Kim Kaos has brought to the Save the Wye campaign through his latest creation, a figure of hope for cleaner waters.
- Swim techniques of the pastJonathan Cowie looks back on how swim technique has changed over years, and why it doesn’t pay to be nostalgic
- Son of the SeaMaisie Bartlett talks to children’s fiction author Richard Pickard about ocean adventures, representation and identity – and being born with webbed feet.
- Sea pool sanctuariesArchitect, urban swimming expert and now author, Chris Romer Lee has made waves in outdoor swimming for a decade and this month his book, Sea Pools: 66 Saltwater Sanctuaries from Around the World, is published. Ella Foote met Chris at his daily swimming spot, the London Serpentine.
- Sarah Thomas: Marathon SwimmerMarathon swimmer Sarah Thomas recounts childhood memories of playing in the water near her grandparents’ small cabin on a large lake in Oklahoma.
- Restore playfulness to your outdoor swimmingSwimming has the capacity to bring out our playful side, say Simon Griffiths.
- Peterborough Lido and the legacy of Walter CorneliusOutdoor swimming under the gaze of a legendary Latvian lifeguard. Jack Bright uncovers the fascinating stories behind Peterborough Lido.
- Move of the month: dumbbell overhead pressThis exercise increases the strength of our shoulder by working the deltoids.
- Let’s playOutdoor swimming is inherently spirited, joyful and fun, helping us connect with our childhood selves, with nature and with our communities. Rowan Clarke finds out why childishly playing in the water is the tonic we all need.
- Immersive journalismTwo reporters steeped themselves in marathon swimming to deliver the tales of this waterlogged sport. By Elaine K Howley.
- How to use a pull buoyPull buoys can help with coordination and arms-only training, and can also make for a very relaxing, even meditative swim. Here’s our guide to using one.
- How to keep your shoulders healthySwimming specialist physiotherapist Alex Ewart looks at what works and what doesn’t for preventing shoulder injury.
- Best beach bags for swimmersRoomy enough for a changing robe, easy to rummage around in and waterproof to boot: we choose six of the best beach bags for swimmers.
- A year without social mediaJonathan Cowie reflects on his year of giving up social media, and how it has simplified yet enriched his life.
- A Life AquaticHannah May shares her memories of swimming as a family and discusses the merits and methods of introducing young children to open water.