I swam a marathon for WaterAid!

Kasia completed the WaterAid Swim Marathon challenge in 2022, swimming in 15 different open water locations

I have been lucky to visit some countries like Sudan and Mongolia in the past where I could see how important access to fresh/drinkable water is and potentially how relatively easy it can be done with a bit of will and money. I have only visited for personal and touristic reasons but still managed to see some of the deprived areas where sometime the “West” were quicker to install TV antennas rather than ensure access to drinkable water!

I have been lucky to learn how to swim when I was a child and always liked water. I find that water has a calming effect on me and gives the feeling of total serenity.

I used to swim anywhere when I was growing up in Poland, but since I moved to London 21 years ago I somehow only went to swimming pools apart from holidays. I had some big changes in my life – not all good – and looked for something new and re-discovered my love for the outdoors in general but particularly for swimming. Through various adventure groups on Facebook I came across the Teddington Bluetits. I have now been swimming with them in the Thames since Easter last year. It’s a lovely, supportive and very welcoming group of people that share the love of water. We have two regular swims on Friday and Sunday but apart from that people arrange their own swims during the week at various times and you will always find someone that will swim with you at almost any time

I love the cold water feel, being surroundewd by nature and the lovely people you meet either for “n’th” or 1st time . I have not yet met a “horrible” open water swimmer!

Thanks to the group I entered my first even open water event, the Henley Club to Pub swim, and swam my first 1.5km. I loved it and looked for my next challenge straight away. I came across the Swim Marathon challenge for WaterAid and it was no brainer that I should give it a go!

I wanted to challenge myself to do more regular swims and to go for longer distances than I was used to. I wanted also to push myself to try new open water places and to face my fear of what lies beneath! I have this irrational fear that something will all of sudden appear and grab me … and I was and actually still am scared to open my eyes under water – but I am managing it better now.

I completed just under 44km between 6th Aug and 24th Oct and 60% of that was open water and 40% swimming pool. I managed to try 15 different open water locations, including various parts of the Thames, Canary Wharf, Denham water-ski centre and Hampstead Heath ponds. It was both fun and challenging to actually fit all the swims in, especially since it takes me 30 minutes to get to my closest open water.

Swimming is great for both physical and mental well-being, with a big emphasis on the mental benefits! I always find that this is one of the few moments that I can leave everything else behind and just totally be in the moment, let the water wash away any worries or stresses and allow yourself to be one with nature. Afterwards you have a little chat and laugh with your fellow swimmers, a cup of hot tea or maybe even hot mulled wine or shot of brandy with some delicious cakes! And you definitely sleep better at night.

I have been very lucky with my friends and colleagues who supported me so generously in my challenge and helped to raise so much.

I just want to thank WaterAid for all the great work that they do and hope they won’t stop bringing drinking water to all that don’t have it yet!

Find out more about the 2023 WaterAid Swim Marathon and Half Marathon challenges.

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.