February 2024 ‘Protest’

Outdoor Swimmer Extra: Get the best of Outdoor Swimmer magazine online.

As a swimmer I notice when things are a bit out of sync in the seasons, when there is a change in the flora and fauna or if something isn’t quite right in the water. Like many swimmers I know, I pluck out rubbish from the water when I swim, I litter pick my swim spots and try to do my little bit. But some swimmers take their fight further and I am constantly blown away by the effort, passion and determination in our community to make access to the water better, improve water quality, protect wildlife and campaign for the environment. But fighting for our right to swim doesn’t just stop there. From individual swimmers like Sophie Etheridge campaigning for disability access, to companies like Zone3 trying to bring about industry change, the fight for a better swimming world is being fought on many fronts.

We are all consumers. Our desire for more stuff is a global issue. Swimming outdoors makes us want to protect and look after our world, but we are also impacting it. How can you be a better swimmer? You can consider the things you wear and when to repair or recycle. You can support charities, organisations and communities that are working towards change. You could lead on an issue that impacts you or others.

Whatever kind of campaigner you may or might be, I hope this issue inspires you to think differently about how, where and what you do while swimming!

Ella Foote, Editor

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  • Freestyle Refresher, part 4: Unleashing the power of your legs
    Simon Griffiths has the fourth part of our guide to reviewing and refreshing your front crawl stroke this winter – this time it’s all about the kick action.
  • Nurture nature
    Rowan Clarke meets the outdoor swimmers who give back to their swim spots, whether it be through litter picking and water testing or campaigning and wildlife monitoring.
  • Biodegradable wetsuits are here! 
    An industry first, ZONE3 are launching a biodegradable wetsuit – and it won’t disappear as you swim! Ella Foote meets the team behind the new suit.
  • Right to roam
    Access to outdoor spaces has long been a controversial topic in England and Wales. Lydia Paleschi speaks to Imogen Radford from the Outdoor Swimming Society’s Inland Access Group to shine a light on the legalities around swimming and trespassing so you can swim in confidence.
  • What will you do for swimming this year?
    While access to swimming isn’t about to disappear, it is under threat on several fronts, says Simon Griffiths. He suggests what we can all do to help.
  • “How do I keep up my fitness through winter?”
    Swimming coach Cassie Patten recommends a dryland programme for outdoor swimmers to maintain fitness levels through the winter months.
  • Celebrating different abilities
    Emma Jane Lancaster hasn’t let surgeries, medical conditions and a colostomy stop her swimming.
  • Kit conscious: how to reuse, repair or recycle your swimsuit
    What are the greenest ways to manage your swim kit? Rowan Clarke investigates how to reuse, repair or recycle your swimsuit or wetsuit
  • February in the swim community
    NOWCA and Mental Health Swims give us the lowdown on what they’re up to this month, from showcasing safe outdoor swimming to taking action on water pollution.
  • PHiSH tales
    PHiSH, the annual, invite-only cold-water swimming event, ended on a high with swimmers wanting more. Ella Foote reports.
  • Safety gear for wild swimming
    A waterproof first aid kit, durable safety lights that clip easily to a tow float, marine whistles and a waist pouch for keeping your valuables and medications dry while you swim: we review five items of safety gear for outdoor swimmers.
  • The unintentional campaigner
    Sophie Etheridge shares how campaigning for inclusivity in the open water swimming world has changed her life for the better.
  • Too cold to swim? 
    How the Little Ice Age could be at least in part responsible for Europe’s swimming drought in the Middle Ages.
  • Weekend swim retreat: The Boathouse, Cornwall
    Ella Foote enjoys a windy weekend in north Cornwall with a swim outside her bedroom window.

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