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May in the swim community

NOWCA and Mental Heath Swims share their latest news, including lifeguard training and an exciting new peer support venture in indoor pools

Here’s what swim venue network NOWCA and mental health peer support community Mental Heath Swims are up to this month.

NOWCA: Once a lifeguard, always a lifeguard

Pete, a trained lifeguard at Love Open Water Nottingham and member of the adjacent sailing club, was windsurfing on Friday, 5 April. While fixing his sail near the clubhouse after falling off his board, he noticed another windsurfer capsized in the middle of the lake. Pete alerted his friend Dean, who launched a safety boat.

Upon reaching the capsized windsurf, they found the surfer had been discovered face down in the water by two other surfers – unconscious, unresponsive and blue in the face. They managed to haul the surfer into the safety boat, where Pete gave five rescue breaths as they sped back to shore, and an ambulance was called.

On shore, Pete commenced CPR. Despite attempts with the defibrillator, it was unable to administer a shock as no rhythm could be detected at all. They continued CPR until the air ambulance arrived approximately 16 minutes later. Paramedics were able to get the surfer’s heart started again. After three days of medical treatment in hospital, the surfer is awake, talking and recovering from the incident.

Love Open Water have a continuous training programme to ensure lifeguarding skills are always kept up to date, at all their venues. Pete is the second lifeguard to apply their skills outside their duties to help save a life. We are proud to be working with over 40 venues who, just like Love Open Water, share our ethos for safety.

Mental Health Swims launches Swim Together in leisure centres nationwide

We have some exciting news – we are bringing Swim Together to leisure centres across the UK. Swim Together is a peer support model that brings people together who are experiencing mental health issues for a swim in an indoor pool. The model echoes the successful Mental Health Swims peer support model, which brings people together outdoors to experience outdoor swimming.

Unlike Mental Health Swims, Swim Together means we can work to increase diversity within our community and make mental health peer support accessible to a wider range of people who for one reason or another cannot access outdoor swims or who do not feel comfortable or confident in doing so.

How does Swim Together work?

We are currently working with leisure centres that have undertaken the Swim England Water Wellbeing accreditation as we feel this indicates that the facilities are as accessible as possible and that the staff have an inclusive and welcoming approach and a commitment to supporting health and wellbeing.

The introduction of Swim Together at leisure centres means that peer support groups will be available at inner city locations that are easier to access by foot or public transport. By having facilities such as accessible changing rooms, toilets, parking and cafes for a post-swim catchup afterwards, we can be much more inclusive.

Check out for more information and follow @we_swimtogether on Instagram.

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