Calling all outdoor swimmers! Take part in a project about how swimming outside lets you experience the world

Hello Outdoor Swimmers! How does swimming outside let you experience the world differently? How does it make you feel, what connections do you make in and through the water, and how does it shape our understandings of wellbeing, health, our bodies and the risks we’re willing to take?

We (Kate and Charlotte, sociologists and swimmers from Cardiff University) are doing research on these questions – and would love to welcome you to take part. We have been doing swims with people all around the UK, recording videos and chats and thinking about these ideas together. We’ve widened the focus now, given the current circumstances, to think about how you’ve managed without swimming (or perhaps with changes in your swimming) because of lockdown: we’ve been thinking about how do swimmers cope if they can’t swim (as much/ in the same ways).

We’re interested in having a chat and thinking about ways you could tell us about your swimming – maybe through a video or in an online interview. When we can, we hope to get back into the water with our participants, but we’ll have to wait and see when that’s possible. The data will be used to help us understand what outdoor swimming is for the people who do it, and how that can help us make sense of all manner of things – bodies, nature, well-being, community, socialites. We’ll write about it in academic journals and books, as well as producing videos that can communicate those feelings in different ways.

Your participation can be as much or as little as you’d like – if you’re interested in participating we’d just like to hear from you, and we can talk about what you’d like to do then! You can see some of our previous work on .

Please contact Kate at and we can start having wonderful, watery conversations!

Image credit: Katia Vastiau

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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.