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Swim Dem Crew conquer Great Manchester Swim

This weekend was the culmination of 12 weeks of training for Swim Dem Crew, a group of young novice swimmers from East London, who successfully swam a mile in open water at the Great Manchester Swim on Saturday 4 July.

Swim Dem Crew was launched in January 2015 as a youth movement to get more young people into the pool and overcome their fears of water. Recent research from the Amateur Swimming Association found that one in five adults couldn’t swim. The crew is the brainchild of Charlie Dark and ex-Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere.
The group is supported by the Swimming Trust, a charity that is dedicated to getting more and more people swimming, and Speedo, who provided essential kit for the crew.
As well as overcoming their fear of water, members of the crew have also found that swimming has helped them tackle other issues. Celia Smith, age 24, has found that swimming has helped her tackle her body image issues: “As a teenager I looked different to the skinny girls around me. I was totally inactive and made myself believe I didn’t care. Sports was for ‘other people.’ In reality, I had really low body image and just hated people looking at me without my clothes on. I am taking on this challenge because I want to learn how to face up to my body and because I want to be more than a big girl with her head in her books.”
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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.