Hats off to cold water swimmers

Crazy hats and costumes were out in full force this weekend, as over 600 swimmers from around the world took part in the UK Cold Water Swimming Championships at Tooting Bec Lido, south London, on Saturday. Competitors at the Championships, organised by the South London Swimming Club, were encouraged to make their own fancy-dress hats for the event. They didn’t disappoint: swimmers wearing creations including a Dalek, a fire-breathing dragon and Darth Vader took to the water to compete in 30m races in 3 degree Celsius water.

Margy Sullivan, event organiser, said: “The Championships really is a festival of cold water swimming. Our aim is to attract more people to winter swimming by focusing on fun and friendship.”

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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.