It might seem slightly ironic for a magazine that promotes open water swimming that we decided to celebrate five years of publishing with a party at a pool last Saturday (12 March). However, Hampton Lido is a special place with year-round heated water, and we’re suckers for a bit of luxury. It was great to welcome around a hundred of our readers and advertisers to the pool for a barbeque, something to drink (surprisingly you only drank two out of the six crates of beer that we had) and, of course, a healthy portion of cake.
It was also fantastic to see so many people jumping in the water and having fun, and it reminded me of yet another reason of why swimming is such a brilliant activity. George Bernard Shaw said: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Popular psychology also tells us that play is important for our creativity, yet adult life provides precious few opportunities for play.
However, swimming, both in the pool and in open water, is definitely something that encourages all of us to play. At Hampton Lido on Saturday we had swimmers squealing with delight on the slides, playing games with giant floats and doing handstands and acrobatics in the water.
This week we’ve been trying to decide on a winner for our regular open water swimming photography competition sponsored by Selkie. As usual, choosing the best out of so many excellent submissions is really hard – but one thing did stand out. Many of the pictures are of grownups having fun: literally leaping for joy at the prospect of open water swimming.
So it seems to me that not only were we celebrating five years of publishing a magazine, we were also celebrating five years of fun and, hopefully, five years of encouraging and inspiring more people to take to the water, to play more and enhance the quality of their lives.
Naturally swimming has a serious side too, and there’s a lot to be said for the sense of satisfaction of learning new skills and taking on difficult challenges. In fact, a lot of our ink is devoted to these types of stories. However, let’s also make sure we remember to keep playing in the water and stay young as we look forward to the next five years.
Images (c) Katia Vastiau