FEATURES,  View from the Water

What’s coming up in October and thoughts on gliding

The majority of long distance swimming events in the UK are now over for 2018. We’re already starting to receive dates for next year, which we’re adding to our listings as they come in.

Meanwhile, we’re working on our October issue and, as usual, looking forward to sharing some more great stories.

My favourite so far is our editor’s interview with Jessica Hepburn. Jessica is the author of “21 Miles”, a book she wrote about her pain in not being able to conceive despite 11 rounds of IVF and her subsequent (successful) attempt to swim the English Channel. In a second author interview next month, Ella Foote speaks to Caitlin Davies about her new book “Daisy Belle”, which is probably best described as a historical swimming novel.

Away from the literary world, we look at the controversial question of whether or not you should “glide” while swimming. Some swimming coaches use the word a lot, others think it should be banned.

I have a personal view on this topic. Firstly, I suspect people are using the term to mean slightly different things. When we watch talented swimmers, they do often appear to “glide” through the water, by which I mean they look like they are putting in very little effort for the speeds they are achieving. Other people more specifically refer to “glide” as the movement of the leading hand in front crawl stroke and the amount of time it pauses at the front of the stroke.

As the hand is initially moving forwards (during the recovery phase) and is then moving backwards (during the catch), there must be a moment when it stops to change direction. The only way to avoid this would be if your arm movement is circular. The question is, how long should that pause last? My thinking is that this is the ideal moment to set up your catch, which is a key part of your stroke, so it shouldn’t be rushed. At the same time, it shouldn’t be delayed unduly as you will lose momentum. The ideal pause will vary depending on the speed you are swimming and the water conditions, but it must pause in order to change direction.

Anyway, you can find out what coach James Ewart thinks in our October issue.

Other things to look out for including training sessions to help improve your leg kick and how there is increasing evidence and good theory behind why open water swimming can help people manage some mental health issues.

The best way to ensure you receive our October issue (and all of our subsequent issues) is to subscribe.

Swim wild and free,

Simon Griffiths

Founder and publisher, Outdoor Swimmer magazine

This week’s “picture of the week” is “An Evening Swim at Jacksons Bay.” The photographer is Keri Hutchinson and the swimmer is Jennifer Stone.

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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.