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February can be a strange month. It is short, often cold and can feel long. Festivities and New Year is way behind us, yet spring is yet to arrive. It can be a good month to start thinking about goals and how you might like to challenge yourself in 2023. This month’s issue is designed to inspire you to tackle a new swim challenge.
One of my favourite things about outdoor swimming is the variety of ways you can push yourself and swimmers are always surprising me with creative ventures. I love that there are a huge number of events up and down the UK and across the world that you can enter. Fancy a mile or a marathon, there is something for everyone. Have you ever wondered how hard it is to put on an outdoor swimming event and keep everyone safe? Find out below. Melanie Barratt shares her story about being the first blind person to attempt to swim the English Channel and Jonathan Cowie finds out about swimming from Sealand. Jasmine Harrison tells us that logistics was the biggest challenge with her length of Britain swim and I meet Jayde Adams to hear all about Strictly Come Dancing and swimming. Of course, if you don’t fancy a mass participation swim – dream up your own event. Invite some pals, grab a map and plan a swim that is meaningful or challenging for you. Check out Alison Gilchrist’s swimming into fear piece. There is so much in this issue, you might have to boil the kettle twice to get through it!
Ella Foote, Editor
- Water wildlife: Native OysterA feast for the Romans and a Victorian staple, the once humble oyster (Ostrea edulis) has had a long and varied history on British shores.
- Vanishing lakesThe challenge of finding swimmable water is getting harder in some locations, no thanks to climate change and human industry. Elaine K Howley investigates
- Use mindfulness to help you tackle challengesLiz Lowe is your guide to how you can use mindfulness to help you recognise the transience of uncomfortable sensations.
- Trends in Outdoor Swimming 2023Our annual review of what’s happening in the world of outdoor swimming.
- The Isles of Scilly: a destination for all swimmersFrom epic challenges to bay swims for beginners, the Isles of Scilly have routes to delight all kinds of swimmers.
- Swim from SealandEmbark on a unique swim from Sealand, the world’s smallest nation some seven miles off the coast of Suffolk, back to the UK mainland.
- Strictly outdoor swimming with Jayde AdamsComedian, actor and singer Jayde Adams is well known for her antics on television but, like many swimmers, she finds the best way to relax is in the water.
- Small steps towards a more meaningful lifeDo a triathlon to get to the supermarket, and other ways to live a more meaningful life. By Jonathan Cowie.
- Retaining the joy of swim trainingSimon Griffiths on prioritising the process of swim training, rather than the end goal of completing a challenge.
- Research and planning for a swimming challengeAdaptive swimmer Sophie Etheridge on the importance of doing your research and planning ahead for a swim challenge.
- Para V: a new event for swimmers with disabilitiesRowan Clarke talks to Jonty Warneken about his new challenge aimed at swimmers with disabilities.
- Move of the month: Kettlebell SwingThis full body exercise works muscles in both the upper and lower body as well as the core. Vivienne Rickman is your guide to the kettlebell swing.
- Learning to breathe above waterNatasha Longridge is a photographer from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who suffers from hypochondria. In 2020 she discovered the benefits of outdoor swimming and worked on a creative project, Learning to Breathe Above Water.
- Land’s End to John O’Groats: swimming the full length of BritainIn October 2022, Jasmine Harrison became the first woman to swim the entire length of the UK from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
- How to have a happy public lane swimJonathan Cowie shares his advice for how to make your training sessions in public pools happy and effective.
- How swimming events shape the world of outdoor swimmingOpen water challenges shape outdoor swimming more than you realise. Rowan Clarke investigates.
- How do I feel less ‘heavy’ in the water?Swimming coach Cassie Patten answers a reader question about heaviness in the water, and improving stamina for an upcoming swimming event.
- Embrace all the challengesWhether it’s a short sprint or a monster challenge, for marathon swimmer Sarah Thomas all swimming challenges are an opportunity to learn and grow.
- Create your own challengesNot all challenges are to enter, or to follow, some are created ourselves. Alison Gilchrist set herself a series of challenges to mark her 65th birthday. She shares her story.
- Blind wild swimming: Melanie Barratt’s new passion for the open waterParalympic champion Melanie Barratt is hoping to become the first blind woman to swim across the English Channel solo. Here she shares her story of challenge.
- Best towel robes for outdoor swimmersRoomy sizes, quick-drying fabric and super absorbent: Omie Dale reviews the best towel robes for you keeping you snug after a cold water swim.
- AI: A new source for swim training inspirationArtificial Intelligence can provide ideas for coaches and swimmers, Simon Griffiths reveals.
- A winter swimming adventure in IcelandLindsey Cole often claims she is useless in the cold, which made Iceland a strange choice for an adventure. But she learns Iceland is so much more than the weather and enjoys hot springs, Northern Lights and friendship as 2023 begins.
- 5th International Ice Swimming Association World Championships in SamoënsIn beautiful Samoëns, 500 swimmers from 42 countries descended for the 5th International Ice Swimming Association World Championships (IISAWC). An incredible number of records were broken, which elevated swimmers all round to swim at their best in Lac aux Dames. Joanne Jones and Jonty Warneken report.