March 2023 ‘Hemispheres’
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Recently I have been enjoying swimmers posting pictures of not just their dips, but also the flower and fauna around them. As outdoor enthusiasts, we often take note of gentle changes in our environment or around the changing seasons. A common thread this year though is how many swimmers have captioned pictures of snowdrops, daffodils and budding trees with the word: hope. Maybe we are all seeking it a bit more, but the comfort of spring is something I look forward to. It even smells better outdoors at this time of year!
This month’s magazine has taken a different shape as with the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere comes the arrival of autumn and cooler months in the south. Ever wondered what it is like to live on the other side of the world? In this issue we celebrate the arrival of spring in the first part of the magazine, then look at a global view of swimming mid-way before asking you all to tilt and turn your magazine to go south. We have a double cover too, to make it extra fun or confusing! Our southern hemisphere cover is of swimmers off the coast of Chile taken by the talented Ana Sotelo and our northern hemisphere cover features the brilliant Tom Boswell in Wales.
Wherever you are swimming and whoever you like to swim with, I hope this issue captivates your international curiosity and maybe even teaches you something about swimming across the world.
Ella Foote, Editor
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- While you’re at the water: fossil huntingBeaches, riverbanks and riverbeds can all reveal fossils, which have been buried for millennia. Susanne Masters has your guide to post-swim fossil hunting.
- Understanding pool training sessionsBeing able to decipher the most commonly used terms and abbreviations in a pool session will take your training to the next level, says Jonathan Cowie.
- The Green Hill: Letters to a SonIn 2017, Sophie Pierce’s life changed forever when her 20-year-old son Felix died suddenly and unexpectedly. Thrown into a new world of loss, she had to find a way to keep on living. In her book, The Green Hill: Letters to a Son, Sophie writes a series of letters to Felix – composed during walks and swims taken close to his grave on the Green Hill in Devon – while learning to live in the landscape of sudden loss, navigating the weather and tides of grief. Here Sophie shares an extract from her book…
- Spring forward, fall back, swim all yearElla Foote chats to Welsh swimmer Tom Boswell about his ambition to swim 365 days consecutively to raise money for testicular cancer charity, the Odd Ball Foundation.
- Spring equinox: a swim to the music of timeAs we approach the spring (or autumn) equinox, swimmers across the world celebrate the beginning of the seasons with their own rituals: sunset or sunrise swims, moonlit dips, gathering on shores to mark the passing of time. Jonathan Cowie reflects on how swimming is perhaps the sport most closely linked to the turning of the earth.
- Songs of the Sea: travelling with grey whalesDoreen Cunningham tells Rowan Clarke how her experience charting grey whales’ migratory journeys became the foundation for a compelling tale about climate, community and humanity.
- Sarah Thomas: Marathon SwimmerMarathon swimmer Sarah Thomas reflects on the enormous highs and sinking lows of the past few years.
- Making time: a history of timekeepingFrom stopwatches and Channel hardy pocket watches to the Swim-o-Matic, a semi-automatic timer accurate to one-thousandth of a second: Elaine K Howley delves into the history of timekeeping in swimming, horse racing and sport.
- Lido guide: spring arrivalAs spring heralds the opening of seasonal lidos, author of The Lido Guide, Emma Pusill, examines the challenges facing small, volunteer-run pools and the current campaigns to restore old pools and even build new lidos.
- Foraging for swimmers: watercressOffering a gentle rendition of wasabi’s heat, watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans. Susanna Masters has your guide to this wild-growing superfood.
- Event review: Ice Swim in MoroccoMonkeys, dancing and medals make for a memorable ice swimming adventure. Jonathan Cowie and Ella Foote take part in this year’s Ice Swim in Morocco.
- Environmental issue: wet wipesImagine swimming past a man-made reef of wet wipes! Misleadingly labelled as ‘flushable’, wet wipes are well known for causing problems in our toilets and sewers but are also a menace further downstream, says Susanne Masters.
- Adaptive Swimmer: Sophie Etheridge“Spring is the time of plans and projects” (Leo Tolstoy). Adaptive Swimmer: Sophie Etheridge on how to plan and train for summer swimming challenges.
- A pool training session for the solar equinoxSimon Griffiths shares a threshold pace pool training session designed to be used at any time of year, targeted at swimmers looking to race between 1 mile and 3km.
- A Highland fling at SwimWild’s WinterFestAuthor and wild swimmer Emma Simpson persuaded her husband to join her for a long weekend in the Scottish Highlands with SwimWild’s WinterFest. He may have expected a weekend of whisky and getting frisky but instead, less than 24 hours after leaving their home in the south of England, he’d been in zero-degree water twice, in just his swim shorts – with fairy lights on his head.
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Rest & Reflection