FEATURES,  View from the Water

Challenge of the month – take a friend swimming!

Every month in Outdoor Swimmer magazine we set a challenge. Past challenges include cold water synchro swimming, how many hats you can get on your head and what is the smallest body of water you can swim in. May’s challenge is to introduce a friend to outdoor swimming. Give a friend an experience they want to repeat over and over: take them swimming outdoors. Record their reaction, take a picture, share on Instagram and tag @outdoorswimmer

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Our editor Jonny and his friend Jess in a lake in Amsterdam last summer

Last Tuesday our sales executive and Channel swimmer extraordinaire Joanne Jones took a friend new to open water for a swim. “I had a couple of realisations which I didn’t expect when taking someone who’s a different speed, and new to open water,” said Joanne. “So here are some things to bear in mind when getting your friends into the open water.”

  1. This session isn’t about you. Don’t have a distance, or a time agenda in mind. You might not swim very far, or for very long, or very fast – but that doesn’t matter.
  2. It will be cold for them. Walk them through what will happen as they get in, so they don’t freak out. Explain how it will feel in a wetsuit if they are going to wear one.
  3. Swim at their speed (matching their stroke if possible).
  4. Take a tow float / warm coat / something to stand on for them (as well as for you). Maybe even a cap and goggles, as they probably won’t have this in their repertoire, and understand how many warm clothes they’ll need if it’s a bit nippy.
  5. Keep checking in with them – it helps you see that they’re not slurring words or confused, but also gives them opportunities to say that they’d like to turn back and get out.
  6. Go to well known places or supervised venues
  7. Be mindful of other swimmers and water users. Try to swim to the side, or as directed by venue staff so you’ve space.
  8. Message them the day after to see how they found it, and if they’d like to do it again – bonus if they message you or mention it to you!
  9. Follow our safety advice and always remember to swim safely.

This week’s photo of the week is by Siobhán Russell of Myrtleville Swimmers Jess Burke and Sheila Boland enjoying the 8 degree waves in Myrtleville, Co.Cork on Valentine’s Day 2019.

In each issue of the magazine we publish a selection of your images in our Reader Photo Contest. To be in with a chance of having your photo featured in the magazine and winning outdoor swimming kit enter your best pics now.

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Jonathan is a year-round skins swimmer with a particular love of very cold water. He has competed in ice swimming competitions around the world. He is a qualified open water coach with a particular love of introducing new swimmers to the open water.