FEATURES,  View from the Water

Seven reasons to be thankful for open water swimming

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the United States and you may have noticed a number of Facebook and blog posts listing reasons why we should be grateful for swimming. So, in the spirit of sharing (and plagiarism) here are seven reasons to be thankful for open water swimming.
1. Open water swimming is awesome
As this list is inspired by our friends in the USA we feel the use (and overuse or even abuse) of the word ‘awesome’ is justified. Open water swimming is awesome and we could end our list there, but that wouldn’t satisfy the journalistic listiness that lazy writers often reach for.
2. Open water swimmers are awesome
We’re not just talking about the giants of the sport here – the winners of multiple medals and conquerors of copious crossings – but everyone who ventures into lakes, rivers and oceans in search of adventure, relaxation or fun. There’s an element of challenge in every open water swim, a sprinkling of risk and a need to overcome some anxiety about the temperature, lack of walls, murkiness or whatever. It’s character building stuff and it shows through in the people who do it. You are all awesome.
3. Elastic (and awesome) challenges
Whatever your ability or experience level you can find a swim to challenge you, and challenges can be expanded in multiple dimensions: distance, temperature, stroke, water conditions. Open water swimming stretches you physically and mentally (and sometimes financially too), and every time is different.
4. Fabulous holidays
There’s an ever increasing range of swimming based holidays in beautiful places around the world and you can choose anything between warm and restful to cold and seriously hard-core.
5. Global community
It doesn’t seem to matter where open water swimmers come from, what language they speak or what colour skin they have, they seem to understand each other. You can expect a welcome and suggestions for a swim almost wherever you go.
6. Cake
The ‘be thankful for swimming’ lists often mentioned food, and a swimmer’s ability to consume vast quantities of it. Open water swimmers go one better and frequently close out their swims with a hefty portion of cake.
7. A dedicated magazine
We couldn’t resist rounding out this list with a little plug. For the last three years open water swimmers have had their very own open water swimming magazine, and if you don’t already receive it why not give yourself a Christmas present that will last all year?

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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.