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Swim guiding and coaching in the South Lake District


What do people get from wild swimming?

Here are a few thoughts from people about what swimming outside does for them. As you will read there is some strong anecdotal evidence in the comments about how swimming outside manages to improve people’s mental wellbeing. Is it the swimming or being outside in nature, being with likeminded people, the chat, laughter or solitude it brings? Who knows, all I know is that it improves my life immeasurably.

S…salvation W…willpower I… imaginative M…mindfulness M…motivation I…inspirational N…nature G…gift

Swimming in nature transports me like nothing else I’ve known. Nearly everything I see, feel, hear and touch has been in existence for millenia and so I become part of that world for the short time that I am in the water. Everything has substance, and I focus on my stroke to train my mind and body to be alert and strong. Then I get out, eat and drink loads of sugar and talk trash with the best women.

Swimming in the cold has helped me feel comfortable being uncomfortable. This has translated to a huge improvement in my outside rock climbing, and also has made things like going to the dentist much more bearable!

Swimming started as something I had to do at the start of a triathlon, then I left the confines of the pool and headed outside and was transported into another world where I can forget and just swim and when the sea is clear, just look at the bottom.

Swimming in the outdoors has filled a gap in my life that’s been missing for years. I’ve always considered myself ‘sporty’ having played team sports in my younger years, then done lots of running and cycling and indoor swimming, but in more recent years I got a bit lost in work, family and various health issues. I knew I needed to get back out and challenge myself and had been trying to build up the courage to start ‘wild swimming’ for a couple of years. I’m so glad I took the plunge this year, as it is much more than just the challenge, it’s the buzz of the cold water, the silky feeling of water on my skin and the real connection with nature. The rituals of warming up afterwards, and, not least, the camaraderie and support network. It’s totally addictive and I feel I’ve ‘found my tribe’.

It is really hard to describe the benefits… the ahhh feeling you get when you approach your swimming destination and see the perfection of the environment; the feeling of vulnerability in the vast expanse of water, the flow of the river, the cold, the exposure, the waves, the dark, the dangers; the ability to be truly in the moment, being present without the burdens or pressures we all carry with us the rest of the time; the challenge of getting there, getting in, getting going, getting out and getting dressed, but most of all the presence of genuine happiness and laughter with other like minded individuals who are part of a very special swimming family who all feel the magic you do.

Swimming was my piece of sanity time while my mum and I were coping with her Dementia,nothing and no one could impede on me during my me time.Sadly after her loss I still continue as it truly clears my mind and gives me a focus on my happy place.As I enter the water my mind clears,how lucky am I to be living the dream and being free.I am now glowing and ready to face the world.It seems to have alleviated my osteo arthritis,and given me a focus in life.It certainly won’t help with a weight loss but so what.I have made some amazing friends and been to new places.

Swimming outside and in nature. What can I say and where do I start. Huge smiles on entering the sublime water. It takes me straight back to my childhood, playing in streams, rivers and any body of water. I was brought up having fun in water. Water was my summer holidays on our family farm, we didn’t need to fly away. Oh my goodness, my Wellbeing has improved 100 percent after 30 years of being on a treadmill. My whole perspective on life has changed 100 % I look at things differently. I love it
Swimming has changed the way I cope with things and gives me a focus, its extremely hard to explain to those who don’t do it.


It’s a simple answer from me, it’s brought me back to life

Swimming has always been a part of my life from childhood but the stresses, strains and hectic, time-poor life of a working mum slowly eroded the opportunities to swim for swimming sake. Exercise became a necessary evil, to get fit, lose weight, and the enjoyment became secondary to the product of my efforts. The last straw was a back injury 5 years ago which has niggled away enough to prevent me exercising at all, as everything I did seemed to set it off again. My mood , self-esteem, anxiety levels all suffered. I started open water swimming in September of this year and since then have been swimming 3-4 times weekly, after work some nights, and in any spare moment that I can meet up with a swim buddy or two. The nervous anticipation of arriving, pulling the goggles on and then walking into the water transforms into a delight and joy at being alive, being fortunate enough to be here, right now, being able to immerse in the cold, breathe in the fresh air feel the tingle on my skin. To come out feeling refreshed of mind and body feels like the missing piece of my life and I’ve finally found myself again.


I have been a pool swimmer for many years but always wanted to try open water swimming but never got round to it. I decided to give it ago this summer after been furloughed from work and shielding because of Covid. Once I was allowed out to meet more than one person I took the opportunity to book on a introduction to open water swim course and I fell in love with it. I didn’t realise how low my mood was and the affect it was having on my metal health. Now I feel like my normal self again and I have met some wonderful people and had some amazing swims and I can’t wait to do more.


Swimming for me (in a pool) had helped me get over my car accident. I swam most days and eventually started to jog in the pool to build up strength in my knee, then Lockdown happened. I couldn’t swim. Everyday I swim in open water. I’m still frightened of fish, but, with the help of all the wonderful people I call my Swim Family that I’ve met along this journey, the fish no longer matter.


For me it’s about going on a mini adventure. You never know quite what to expect apart from the buzz you get.
It also gives me rare moments of being alone and just ‘in the moment’… away from the rest of life, my phone, the world. The environment you’re in demands that you give it your thoughts, allowing your mind to quieten for a few minutes.

I have suffered for 30 years with mental health , recovered from Cancer and had to stop distance horse riding due to neurosurgery on my neck. My mental health became worse the low mood was hanging over me I was wrestling with the black dog. I along with 2 friends braved the water. My confidence has soared I feel so calm and relaxed . My mood has lifted, my anxiety has become more controllable, I want to get up in a morning and my interest in life has come back. I had chronic pain which is improved. I put all this down to cold water swimming. I did not think of the benefits when we started our new venture but now I cant imagine life without it. I have found that earthly feeling being at one with nature, feeling the solitude whilst within company. The changing moods and tones of the lake and landscape is just amazing. I’m addicted to cold water swimming.


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