Time is running out this season in the UK for cold water swimmers with the promise of spring in the air and the slightly increasing water temperatures. But this Sunday (8 March 2015), South London Swimming Club hosted a gala at Tooting Bec lido for a few local outdoor swimming groups including Serpentine, Out to Swim, Brockwell and Parliament Hill, for a last dash of cold water competition.
Unlike the Cold Water Championships that the club hosted earlier this year, the lidos gala was a much smaller, more informal gathering of cold water fans. Keeping things simple, all swims were just one width of the pool (about 30m) and the age categories were under 45, over 45 and over 60. All races were mixed gender. There were also freestyle relays, medley relays and a team canon relay (10 swimmers) and it was all over in about 90 minutes.
Nobody appeared to measure the water temperature but the talk was that it was around 6 or 7 degrees Celsius. The sun was shining and the pool looked glorious. Best of all, the sauna was open so swimmers could quickly warm up after their swims.
Out to Swim took home the hotly contested team trophy this year but some might say they were trying too hard.