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Issue 17 • August 2018



t raining tips






9 772399 755007

Founder & Publisher
Simon Griffiths
+44 (0)7958 312607 t the Outdoor
Swimmer Show
Editor Contributing Editor
Jonathan Cowie Alice Gartland
last month one of our special
guests was Paralympian
Sales Managers Susie Rodgers, who as
Sharon Tice Joanne Jones well as chatting to us on the stage about her pool
+44 (0) 7947 148 422 +44 (0) 7545 387 979
swimming career also
Marketing Manager Production Support swam the Henley Mile in
Lorna Manley Stuart Churchill the River Thames. She now has the open water
swimming bug! But
Design finding wild swimming
Juliet Boucher spots that are accessible
to all is not always easy.
Contributors This month in our
Rowan Clarke, Ella Foote, Cassie Patten, Elaine K Howley, feature Access All Areas we ask how we can help
Susanne Masters, Pete Kelly, Alice Goodridge, Fiona Ford, James Ewart, more people get in the water.
Helen Davis, Kathy Findlay, John Weller, Lola Cusán, Susan Stos In our Training section we bust a few
swimming myths, show you how to tune up
Subscriptions your catch using paddles and explain how to
Outdoor Swimmer Subscriptions, Warners Subscriptions
West Street, Bourne, Lincs, PE10 9PH think your way out of a performance slump.
+44 (0) 1778 392467 I love wild swimming as well as open water racing, so combining both in a recent trip to Wales was a perfect weekend. We also look at
outdoor swimming events in Albania, the Lake
Cover image: Ella Foote District, South Africa and Mallorca.
Swim wild and free,
Outdoor Swimmer Magazine is published by
ZG Publishing Ltd
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Cheltenham, GL53 7ER

Printed in the UK by Pensord Press Ltd on behalf of ZG Publishing

Ltd. All paper used in this publication is sourced from well-managed, Jonathan Cowie
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Distributed by Warners Group Publications plc, The Maltings, West Street,
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publication may be used or reproduced without the written permission
of the publisher. ZG Publishing Ltd (Company registration no. Get in touch…
3799982) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: 6 Email me at editor@
Maida Vale Business Centre, Mead Road, Cheltenham, GL53 7ER. All
content is provided for information only and, while we take reasonable or connect
efforts to ensure its accuracy, we cannot guarantee it. Views expressed on social media. It’s good to talk!
are not necessarily those of the publisher. ZG Publishing is not an
expert provider of medical advice. You are advised to seek professional outdoorswimmermagazine
medical advice before swimming if you have any injuries or medical
conditions. Open water swimming does involve a level of risk and you outdoorswimmer
are advised to take appropriate precautions.
For more tips on open water safety, please see: outdoor_swimmer
open-water-safety Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 5

A Thames fit to swim in?

Win a wetsuit from Selkie Swim Co

Watford Swimming Club


How can we help more people get in the water?


Ella Foote swims with writer Abi Andrews

Lake George posed a challenge that Diane Struble
was keen to best

Swimming costumes, trunks and
jammers; swim fashion; swimming art

6 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer




Our resident Olympian Cassie Patten
answers your swimming queries 62 WALES
Fine-tune your catch


Race day snacks
Comprehensive UK and international
swim listings Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 7


8 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


Submit your best swimming photos for a
chance to see your photography featured
in an upcoming issue. In each issue we will
pick an Editor's Choice image, and the
photographer will receive a great prize
from outdoor swimming clothing company
Send photos to

Carole Gorman

Brighton Pier to Pier men’s wave

Brighton Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 9


10 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer



Denise Gent

Clive, the Battery Belles and Buoys

Penzance Promenade Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 11


12 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer



Cailean Macleod

Catriona Macleod

Loch Farr by Inverness, Scottish Highlands Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 13




We caught up with the

Team GB 10k open water
star ahead of the European

Are you looking forward to

racing in Loch Lomond?
Definitely. It’s a beautiful
place and it will be great to
do a European Championship
Lewis Pugh, the UN Patron of the Lewis will swim according to Channel Lewis Pugh will event in Britain. However, I’ve
Oceans and endurance swimmer’s latest Rules – wearing just Speedo swimming swim between
not been able to train as much
challenge is to swim the length of the trunks, a cap and goggles – and the 10-20km a day on
English Channel. He set off on his Long swim will be observed and verified by his Long Swim of as I’d have liked because of a
Swim on 12 July and expects to finish at the Channel Swimming Asscociation. the length of the broken rib!
Dover at the end of August. The Long No one has ever attempted to swim English Channel
Swim marks the start of worldwide the length of the Channel according to Ouch! How did that happen?
campaign Action for Oceans. Channel rules. I don’t honestly know. I just
The challenge will see Lewis swim “I am swimming the length of the woke up one morning in
560km along the English coastline, English Channel to call on the British
terrible pain. I’ve done two
averaging five hours swimming, and government to urgently protect the
covering between 10-20km, each day. waters that surround the UK. Only 7 races already with it, in
The total length of the swim is the square kilometres out of a total 750,000 Portugal and Hungary, where
equivalent of crossing the Channel square kilometres of the UK’s waters I finished third and eighth, so
from Dover to Calais 16 times over. are fully protected,” says Lewis. I can still swim but I’ve had to
change my tactics to cope.

How have you coped with

CATALINA FLY! the disappointment of that
John Batchelder of Littleton, Colorado, disqualification in Rio?
completed a butterfly solo across the At times, it’s definitely been a
Catalina Channel in the unofficial time mental struggle but you can’t
of 17:14.57 on 17 July. John began his dwell on the past too much.
21-mile swim on the mainland and I decided to throw myself
swam in rough sea conditions before
back into swimming and work
landing at Doctor’s Cove on Catalina
Island. John is only the third solo hard to put myself in the best
swimmer to swim butterfly across the position possible to put it right
channel, and he is the first to swim in Tokyo.
butterfly from the mainland to Catalina.

14 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


Open water swimming takes
place in Loch Lomond at the
European Championships.
The 10k race is on 9 August,
5k on 11 August and 25k on
12 August. All open water
events are unticketed and
free to view.

Classic swimming book
Haunts of the Black Masseur
by Charles Sprawson has
been reprinted by Vintage.
Battle of the ages Available in all good

On 18 July 2018, seven ultra- marathon TEAM bookshops

open water swimmers will gather SUSTAINABLE

to swim the 25-mile length of Lake SHARE IT!
Memphremagog, between Newport, SELKIE Share your swims with us
Vermont and Magog, Quebec. In Outdoor swimming brand Selkie’s on our Strava club. Who
Search of Memphre was started on the new swim collection is made from will be top of the weekly
tenth anniversary of 9/11, intended a sustainable techno fabric made club leaderboard? Sign
to promote a more open border with with Econyl – a 100% regenerated up at
Canada, and to search for the legendary polyamide fibre made from post- outdoorswimmer
lake creature, Memphre. consumer materials. The whole
Among this year’s swimmers are range has been designed to have
14-year-old Vera Rivard and 69-year-old as little impact on the environment WATCH IT!
Dan Shub. If successful, Vera would be as possible. Selkie will also be The sixth stage of the
the youngest to swim the length of the working with the Wild Swimming elite 10k FINA/HOSA
lake and Dan would be the oldest to do Brothers on creating sustainable Marathon Swim World
so. An amazing achievement from both swim related products. Series 2018 takes place in
swimmers! Lac Megantic, Canada on

Double Jersey ‘TRY BEFORE 11 August. The third leg of

the UltraMarathon Swim
On 15 July Andy Truscott successfully YOU BUY’ WITH Series takes place in Ohrid,
completed a double circumnavigation
of the island of Jersey. The 82-mile swim
AQUA SPHERE Macedonia on 25 August.
Watch all the action live at
Aqua Sphere has partnered
took him 22 hours 7 minutes. His first with RG Active, one of the UK’s
round took 10 hours 35 minutes and
largest specialist sports coaching
the second round 11 hours 32 minutes.
Andy is the first person to complete a
businesses. As its official swim WEAR IT!
partner, Aqua Sphere is offering Our Swim Wild and Free
double round of Jersey.
wetsuit hire to RG Active’s swim hats designed by
customers as well as the chance
20 Bridges to ‘try before you buy’ at a number
Nancy Farmer are available
from our online shop at
July’s 20 Bridges around Manhattan of coaching venues across London
marathon swim was won in 7 hours and further afield – perfect for swim-hats
21 minutes by Nathan Payas, who in those wanting to dip their toes
winning also added the Triple Crown to into open water swimming.
his swimming accomplishments. Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 15


On the same weekend that
Kilian Jornet smashed Billy
Bland’s Bob Graham Round
fell running record, Jenny Rice
became the fastest lady to
complete the Frog Graham
Round challenge
What is the appeal of the Frog
Graham? How long had you been
planning it? Jenny swam with her running kit in a
I’ve been aware of the Frog Graham dry bag
for three years. I loved that it
combined two of my favourite
things – fell running and open water rest of the day. Crummock Water and down to Catbells. The only good thing
swimming. I liked the self-supported Buttermere were just magical, my body was a usually packed fell (especially
nature of it, and the fact it takes you too just felt so relieved each time I got in in good weather) was deserted – the
some of the less visited fells, via some the water. I was exhausted at Otterbield reason: England were playing in the
‘interesting’ routes. Bay before the final swim, and I could World Cup semi final!
see Rick, my swim support, looking
Did you have support? at me a little concerned (probably Why do you think trail running and
I decided to find runners to support me worried about how I was going to get outdoor swimming are enjoying such
on the fells, but to do all the swims solo across) but as the swim went on, I felt a boomtime?
(towing my running kit in an inflatable better and better. There are so many amazing events
dry bag) except for the last swim, as I cropping up all over the country, giving
knew after 38 miles on the fells I might Which run was the toughest? people the opportunity to run and
be a little tired and it felt safer to have Legs 3 and 4 were equally hard. Leg 3 swim in new places. And I also think
company for this swim. is just 5 miles, but took over 3 hours that maybe people who have done
– there’s a huge amount of ascent triathlons and slightly more controlled
Which swim was your favourite? over really horrible terrain! Leg 4 is events, like the challenge of different
They were all amazing. Bassenthwaite so familiar as several fell races take in terrain and environments, with maybe
felt like an adventure as it was about the same summits – but I usually have less of a focus on the time/position.
6.30am, I was a little nervous, and it much fresher legs when I’m running
looked quite a long way! But once I’d over them, so it just seemed to drag How does it feel to complete the
completed it I felt confident about the on and on. Towards the end I was Frog Graham on the same weekend
stumbling and swearing as we came that Kilian Jornet smashed the Bob
It was such a special weekend for
THE CHALLENGE the fell running community. I was
The swims: exhausted on Sunday morning –
having been up since 2am on Saturday
Bassenthwaite Lake, (and maybe enjoying a beer too many
Crummock Water, on Saturday night)! But as soon as
Buttermere, Derwent we saw on social media that Kilian
Water had started his Bob Graham attempt,
The runs: Around 40 supported by the top local fell runners,
we knew it was going to be a special
miles of fell running
day so headed up to Keswick in the
Leg 1: 9 miles, 2719ft afternoon to see him finish. From only
Leg 2: 11.5 miles, 4070ft a handful of people being aware of his
Leg 3: 5 miles, 3072ft start at 6am, it went crazy on social
Leg 4: 9.8 miles, 3371ft media, and by the time he finished
that evening around 1000 people had gathered around Moot Hall.

16 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


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Write in...
Have your say | @outdoor_swimmer

First marathon swim
On 23 June I did the 10km event at the Great
East Swim which was my first ever marathon
distance swim. I trained well for it but still
found it a real challenge – by two thirds of
the way in my arms were starting to ache and
I had to call on all my reserves of physical and
mental energy but I finished it and was very
pleased with my time which was under my
3h45 goal. The feeling when I was coming up
to the finish line was amazing and I’ve already
signed up for another one in August!
The magazine was a fantastic help – I made
use of the training plans, nutrition advice and
general hints and tips, and the inspirational
stories always spurred me on when training
was getting hard! Hopefully this is just the
beginning for me and I’m looking forward to
more open water challenges and adventures!
Laura Finucane

Doggy paddle
My training ground is Cirencester in the
Cotswolds lakes ( Lake 32). A very popular
lake and one of the few left with no crushing
rules. It’s a lake where you have to take charge
Vintage chic of your own actions – very refreshing in these
My mum-in-law, Mave, was commissioned to knit me this marvellous swimsuit by my days of rules and regs.
husband Bob. He wanted to give me something special in honour of my team “The I had just finished my swim and was chilling
Faffing Frosties” being one of the first successful English Channel crossings of the in the sun. I saw a young man with his partner
year. We achieved our goal on Sunday 3 June in a time of 16 hrs 56 mins, the water was and their dog heading to the lake and, having
around the 13C mark and we were with Stuart Gleeson on Sea Leopard. a dog myself, I volunteered to take the dog
I was thrilled to receive such a unique pressie, and was keen to give it a test run, which around the lake for a walk so they could relax
I did in Llyn Dinas (where this photo was taken). I’ve long been intrigued by these early on their swim. Imagine my surprise when the
swimming cossies and can report it was both comfortable and well fitting, even once it owner said ‘Oh no, that’s fine, Huxley swims
was wet. No relation to the “jaggedy arse wool” knitted trunks Billy Connolly told tales with us on the mile course!’ I was so impressed
of years ago! and decided to write in for Huxley as was not
Mave used a pattern by Susan Crawford as the basis for it but made a few tweaks sure if he had a computer.
as she went along. Here’s a link to the pattern: Jon Coe
Such a vintage feeling costume demanded a bit of a pose, I
just wish I’d worn my super spiky vintage cap with it to finish GOT SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT OPEN
Emma Hegenbarth Email us at
Emma wins a
Zoggs Duffle Bag and you could win next issue’s star prize: a
Zoggs Duffle Bag worth £25.

18 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


Magical experience
Five years ago I decided to teach myself to
swim again at 36. I couldn’t swim a length CLUB OF THE MONTH
without spluttering and stopping each time.
With perseverance and the support from
Stamford tri club I progressed from the pool Eastbourne Sea Swimmers
to open water and have never looked back. Eastbourne Sea Swimmers is a friendly, inclusive group of swimmers of mixed ages
This week I proudly took my eldest daughter and abilities, who enjoy the freedom of swimming outdoors. We meet regularly each
Jessica on her first adventure at Rutland weekend, and often during the week, on the
Water. Such a magical experience for young beach opposite the always welcoming Langham
and old! Thanks Outdoor Swimmer for your Hotel. We swim all year round, completing
continued inspiration. our swims with hot drinks, flapjacks and
Stuart Dolby conversation in the cosy Langham.
Each month we meet for a full moon swim,
often followed by a visit to our local chippy.
Some of our members compete, locally,
nationally and internationally, while others
simply enjoy.
To us, swimming, socialising and eating are
important parts of our lives, and we are all
keen to welcome and support new members.
When you are next strolling along the prom
at Eastbourne, look out for us in our red tee
Boxing Day swim shirts and hoodies and yellow swim caps.

Connect with Eastbourne Sea Swimmers on


Surprise for Stuart!

Here is a photo of my husband, Stuart
Myers, celebrating after swimming 2.6km in
beautiful Loch Etive in June. This is less than
a year after not being able to swim more
than four strokes front crawl in the hotel
pool we visited just down the road. I feel so
proud of him; he took “back to basics” front
crawl lessons with channel-swimming coach,
Christine Bradley, then followed it up with Suits and skins are all
coached lane sessions, and now joins me two welcome
or three times a week. He’s really taken to Full moon swim
it, and I would love to see the surprise on his Email
face if he could at all be featured in the pages if you would like your swimming group to
of your magazine. feature as club of the month.
Cheryl Myers (aka very proud wife) Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 19


Send your swim selfies to

This is Leah, Sophie and Ashleigh

having an evening dip in Hanmer
mere surrounded by dragonflies.
Ashleigh Seymour

Swimming in Blackmoss Pot, Langstrathms.Beck. This is

part of an adventure of 14 tarns in 39k
Handstand in the
River Danube!
James Kirby Karen Biles

Eynsham Lock, Oxfordshire. So many

people enjoying the sunshine, swing
ropes, tree jumping, swimming or just
floating about. So nice to see!
Katia Vastiau

20 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


Rob Pring and Rebecca Osborne

in the River Fal, Cornwall.
Daniel Osborne

Four generations of my family

swimming.George is the baby so he has
definitely always been a water baby. Bala lake, July 2018- Scorchio!
My gran was 88 in this picture. She is a
great inspiration for me and hopefully I
Keri Hutchinson
will be in the sea as long as her.
Rosie Rand

My mum Julie Cribb

and best mate
Clea Warner at a
secret waterfall in
Glenbrittle in the
Isle of Skye.
Tamsin Cribb

Alison Wright and Sara Rogers

enjoying the early evening
swims at Hanmer.
Sara Rogers Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 21



A Thames (sometimes) fit to swim in. By Simon Griffiths

n October 2012 I took part in
the Hampton Court to Kingston
Bridge swim that resulted in
more than 300 out of 1000
participants reporting symptoms of
gastrointestinal illness in the days
following the event. I was one of the
300. A report into the incident found
no single cause of infection, but the
swim took place after a spell of heavy
rain, and that is often a cause for
concern with rivers.
While the Thames today is
massively cleaner than it was 50
years ago, it is still the occasional
receptacle for potentially hazardous
inflows, particularly after rain. Much
of the sewerage system in the UK
is old and many legacy systems are
combined sewers. This means they Theo Thomas
carry both surface water run-off along testing the water
with waste water from our houses. of the Thames
In normal circumstances, the sewage
is carried to treatment plants but if
the inflows are too high because of London Waterkeeper is a charity Theo uses LaMotte Bio-Paddles to
rain, they can be discharged directly with a vision of “a Thames fit for detect e-coli. These paddles are covered
through storm overflows into the swimming” and a mission to defend in agar treated to allow only e-coli to
environment. There are also pipes that London’s rivers and challenge multiply. When these are incubated,
carry surface water drainage polluters. Theo duly brought any orange or red dots that appear are
directly into rivers. While along his bottles and took e-coli colonies. The more there are, the
this shouldn’t contain away some samples. more polluted the water is.
human waste, these As he explained, Under the EU Bathing Water
pipes carry muck
MUCH OF water testing Directive, a bathing water is classed
washed off roads THE SEWERAGE in a river can as “Excellent” if it has fewer than
and, sometimes, only ever be a 500 colonies of e-coli per 100 ml.
human waste SYSTEM IN THE UK snapshot – they Of the three samples Theo collected
from illegal and
IS OLD AND MANY are accurate for
the water taken
from where I swim, one indicated 50
colonies of e-coli per 100ml of water.
connections. LEGACY SYSTEMS at the time but The other two had none.
I live near only indicative of So, the great news is that the
Teddington Lock,
ARE COMBINED the overall quality. Thames at Teddington is sometimes
a couple of miles SEWERS We tested during a clean enough for swimming, although
downstream of Kingston long, dry spell, when the at other times it clearly isn’t. Our next
Bridge and, despite the water quality should have step is to test it after a rain storm and
above, I still swim frequently in the been at its best. at different times of year to see how
Thames and it doesn’t cause me any “I test for e-coli, which indicates the quality varies.
problems. However, to get a better whether sewage is present,” says Theo. Hopefully, through Theo’s work,
understanding of the quality and “E-coli is an indicator organism used we can one day have a Thames that’s
whether it really was clean enough for in tests because it is easy to detect. always fit for swimming, not just
swimming I called for the assistance Where you get high levels of e-coli during dry spells.
of Theo Thomas from the London there will be other pathogens in the Find out more about the London
Waterkeeper. water.” Waterkeeper at

Simon Griffiths is the founder and publisher of Outdoor Swimmer • Email Simon at:
22 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer



Wraith Tekniikka
as worn by
Team Selkie
Stephen Peters Fast Fit Tec
design allowhsnology - The unique
critical shouldethe wetsuit to get the
r fit almost inst

The Wraith

Wetsuit –
and worn by N AV Y To enter theBRIGHT

open water competition go to

16-1462 TPG

win and answer the
The Selkie Swim Co Wraith Tekniikka Wetsuit is made following question:
with super stretch and mesh Glideskin neoprene.
The Wraith Tekniikka will redefine your swim style
What brothers are
and your technique. Set with neutral buoyancy, the Selkie working with
suit works with you to improve your balance, your
technique, and ultimately your speed in the water.
this year?
The suits are 3mm thick around the torso and legs, and A) Wild Swimming Brothers
2mm around the arms and key parts of the shoulders, B) Brownlee Brothers
for flexibility. This gives a good balance between, cold
protection, buoyancy, and shoulder flexibility.
C) Johnson Brothers

Photo credit: Christopher Lanaway | @chrislanaway

Outdoor Swimmer competition terms and conditions 

Competitions are open to readers of Outdoor Swimmer Magazine. Employees, sub-contractors or contributors are not allowed to enter. Entries must be received by 31 August 2018. Outdoor Swimmer
magazine cannot take responsibility for lost or delayed entries. Only one entry per person (multiple entries will be disqualified). A list of winners will be available on request. There is no cash alternative. The
judges’ decision is final. Submission of entry will be taken as acceptance of these rules. 


All the latest news from OS Towers!
A weekend fell
running in Wales
has hopefully
got me ready for Breca have a confession to make. relationships –
Buttermere swimrun. As As well as being an outdoor these have to take
this issue goes to press swimmer I also love trail second place.
I am off to Corfu for a running. For me there is No drinks at
week’s swimming with a huge crossover between parties, whole
SwimQuest and Cassie the two sports: the joy of days devoted
Patten. being outside in nature, to training and
the adrenaline rush of recovery. All in
Alice competition, the necessity the pursuit of a
Gartland, to deal with whatever single goal.
contributing weather is thrown at you What happens
editor – be it choppy water in the when endurance
English Channel or tropical sports become
I’ve been enjoying heat as you run across the an escape from
regular training sessions
Fell running
Brecon Beacons. Both sports yourself? I know that I like to
at the lido, launching the are an escape from city push myself to extremes. But

in the Brecon
Swim Nation! project life – as different from the what if you just… try to enjoy
at the Liquidscapes chlorinated pool and the yourself?
conference in Devon
and putting the final
gym treadmill as it is possible
to be. Being active in the
Sometimes in life you
need a major challenge. Beacons
preparations for Lake outdoors makes me a happier Nothing is more rewarding
Zurich in place. person. Fact. But where does than dedicating yourself to
endurance sport fit into that one goal, training hard and
Simon equation? What drives a succeeding. But you should
Griffiths, person to run 100 miles or recognise why you need that
founder & swim the English Channel? challenge: sometimes you
publisher And does the associated pain need to take a step back, to
of endurance sport make you remind yourself why you love
My swims have a “happier” person? swimming or running in the
included 10km in Follow your dreams. It first place, and to reconnect
Paris (no wetsuit), where is the mantra of today’s with that simple enjoyment
I got too cold, and 14km self-obsessed society. But at of being outdoors. Sometimes
in Italy (with a wetsuit) what cost to those around your biggest challenge is not
where I got too hot! you? Training takes time and having a challenge.
dedication. To be a successful Jonathan, editor
Joanne endurance athlete you have
Jones, to be obsessed. And you have
sales to be selfish. Friends, family,
executive SUMMER SHOW
I swam 11k The sun shone on the Outdoor Swimmer Show
down the on 15 July and warm water temperatures made
Broads, and am for great swimming in the Henley Mile. It was
enjoying seeing the kids a privilege for the OS team to meet so many
I teach on a Saturday of our readers and hear about your swimming
morning go and come adventures – and see so many people taking
back from holidays and to the open water for the first time. Thank you
beach trips with stories to everyone who came along to the Show and
of where and how much swam in the Henley Mile. See you next year!
they enjoyed the water. Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 25


Traditional uses, future cure?
By Susanne Masters

e were swimming in a river are being distinguished as different the seeds, which were consumed by
pool when my friend Cassy species – such as Nuphar pumila due indigenous peoples in North America,
said: “I’ve been testing that to their differentiation under molecular and we know from archaeological
plant in my laboratory, can you take a analysis, and others such as Nuphar records were cooked and eaten in
photo of me with it?” Cassy works on lutea sbsp advena are being recognised Europe.
anti-infective drug discovery and that as distinct subspecies. It seems the
plant was yellow waterlily. American species of yellow waterlily VITAL DEFENCE
have more edible roots than the British It is an interesting juxtaposition that
ANCIENT MEDICINE yellow waterlily. Far more palatable are a plant encountered when swimming
Cassy studies plants used by traditional in ponds and slow moving rivers
medicine to treat infectious disease. could become a vital defence for us
She extracts their active components in the rapidly evolving arms race
and tests if and how they work to between humans and bacteria. The
inhibit microbial growth. Yellow World Health Organisation considers
waterlily’s roots were used antibiotic resistance one of the
medicinally by the Iroquois, biggest threats to human health.
Menominee, Mi’kmaq, With their stumpy petals yellow
Ojibwa, Potawatomi and waterlillies are not the most
Sioux. It has also been elegant of waterlillies, but
a plant used as a food. they merit appreciation
Its fleshy roots are for feeding our ancestors
large and easily pulled and offering hope for our
out of the mud they future.
grow in. In theory It is worth pausing
this makes it easy to and quietly looking at
collect a large amount. yellow waterlillies to see
But while the roots the other animals that
were eaten in the make use of them. Frogs
US, in the UK people can perch on the leaves
have found them and rest while remaining
Illustration by Alice Goodridge

unpalatable. Some camouflaged from

botanists have started predators. Blue damselflies
to separate the yellow often lay their eggs attached
waterlilies found in the US to the underside of yellow
and UK into separate species. waterlily leaves
Previously they were all
called Nuphar lutea. Now some
Distributed across Eurasia and North America, yellow waterlilies are
found in sheltered areas of lakes, and languid rivers. They don’t inhabit
water where they would be buffeted by wind or fast moving currents.
As they grow with their roots in mud and their leaves and flowers
floating on the water surface they tend to be at the shallow margins of
lakes and rivers. So be prepared for a muddy entry. It is worth ducking
under to see light coming through their leaves, and flipping the leaves
over to see if anything has laid eggs on them. They flower from June to

l Warleigh Weir, Somerset, England

Wildlife &
l Lough Leane, County Kerry, Ireland
l River Thames, Berkshire, England

l Stroan Loch, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
l Llangorse Lake, Powys, Wales

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Watford Swimming

Ella checks
out Denham
Lake Ella Foote leaps in with an enthusiastic
bunch of young swimmers

eremy Irvine and I first met at his DENHAM LAKE
front door, I was picking him up There are around 170 people in the
on the way to the airport to fly to Watford Swimming Club squad. It
Glasgow. We were off to swim the Gulf has a long history, established in
of Corryvreckan together with a 1901, originally meeting at the
group of other swimmers, river in the lower part of
none of them I had Watford near Bushey
met either. This Arches. In the ‘30s
bonkers trip with the club moved to
strangers led to a the central baths in
great swimming THE YOUNGEST Watford and they
The Watford friendship and are now based
Swimming before I knew CLUB MEMBER IS at Woodside
Club squad it I was rowing
the length of
meet the club
Windermere while IN THEIR 60S at their summer
he swam it and spot, Denham
became part of his Lake, where 30 of the
memorable swimming squad swim through the
journey across the English open water season. So far
Channel. Jez’s swimming CV is this year the team have taken part
impressive and it is no surprise that in the Outdoor Swimming Society’s
he is taking this energy, expertise and Bantham Swoosh, the Jubilee River 10k
passion to encourage young swimmers and when I met them, were training
from Watford to dive into open water. for the East Region Open Water

28 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer

Quick Q&A
gets very busy with people training for with Watford Open
all sorts of challenges. The lake offers
a simple one kilometre loop, so it is a
Water Coach
great place to train for longer swims. Jeremy Irvine
It is part of NOWCA, and opens two
evenings and three mornings a week.
On Mondays swimmers can enjoy a How did you
barbeque after swimming and in the
mornings bacon sandwiches are a
get started
welcome choice. I arrive at 6.45am on in outdoor
a Saturday morning and join a long
queue of cars waiting for the gates to swimming?
open. By 7.30am the lake is busier than I’ve always enjoyed
the adjacent M25. The water is warm outdoor swimming.
Young swim
addicts and
from the recent heatwave, 26 degrees, In 2012 a friend
Olympic hopefuls and it feels like bath water. and I started doing
The kids leap in and get straight longer, more
to training. Heads down with clean, challenging and “Seeing swimmers
“This is the fifth year we have been beautiful strokes. A couple of younger iconic swims. catching the buzz is
swimming in open water as a club,” kids swim with their parents. Passion is I loved the
says Jeremy. “In our first open water flooding into the water. Smiles and joy,
unforgettably awesome”
atmosphere and
event in 2013 we had four kids take despite the disciplined training. I watch camaraderie at the
part and this year 28 swimmers took in awe, such a thing was never an events and really felt
part in the Jubilee River 10k, either option when I was younger. Swimming part of a wild swimming community.
as soloists or in relay. I wanted to do outside was deemed dirty, dangerous  
something different and add some fun
to the club, so as soon as the lake opens
and cold. It feels like I am swimming
alongside a future generation of open
What inspired you to get
in April we start swimming, mainly water athletes, Olympic hopefuls and involved with Watford?
with no wetsuits. The kids want to swim addicts. Swimmers return to the Once I started swimming events, my sons
moan, but they are too busy shivering!” jetty and proud parents wrap them James, Pedro and I joined Watford Swimming
The youngest club member is seven in large towels. Club coaches note Club that year.
and oldest in their 60s. It is an absolute times, distance and stroke rates. Adults
joy to leap in with such an enthusiastic
bunch of young swimmers.
lark about and joke with the younger
swimmers, the energy is catching. I What is Denham Lake like
leave with a big smile on my face as a venue? 
Denham Lake is just off the M25/ If you would like us to join your group Denham Lake has supported us since 2013.
M40 west of London. It is a spot I have or club for a swim, email editor@ The 500-metre straight allows for time to
swum at a few times, but come summer focus on stroke and breathing. It gives a true
perspective of 20 lengths and helps develop
the mindset for distance swimming. While it’s
One, two, not for everyone, seeing swimmers going out
three... of their comfort zones and catching the buzz
is unforgettably awesome.

Club ambitions for 2018?

I would also love to organise a swim-out social
swim with other clubs, maybe on the coast.
There are also talks of relay teams swimming
across the English Channel, it is certainly
something I would love to support. Outdoor
Swimmer | JUNE 2018 29

One of the best things about outdoor
swimming is that anyone can do it.
For some, however, access can be
tricky. Rowan Clarke finds
out how we can help more
people get in the water

I feel that a lot of the social
media side of outdoor swimming
is of white able-bodied people.
It’s cool that people are loving
the swimming, but if you aren’t
white and able-bodied it isn’t
encouraging or welcoming.
So how do we change that?”
30 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer

usanne Masters has become
something of a spokesperson for
accessible outdoor swimming.
Quite literally putting accessible
swimming on the map, her collection
on not only equips
swimmers with knowledge and
confidence, but it also raises awareness
within the open water swimming
community as a whole.
“Sometimes the open water
swimming community seems a little
inward-looking rather than looking
out for who is missing and welcoming
them in,” she explains. “Trying to make
it easier to find places to swim outdoors
that are accessible is just one component
of a wider feeling that I would like to
see the imagery of outdoor swimming
reflect the variety of people who can
enjoy it.”

People with disabilities are still among
the most marginalised in our society.
While swimming is a great leveller that
disregards most physical differences,
it’s not always easy to access physically
or mentally. Many people have to not
only deal with tricky access points to
the water, but also overcome self-
consciousness about their physical
But attitudes are starting to change.
At the Bosphorus Cross-Continental
Swim, for example, marshals take
people’s prosthetics from the starting
point to the finish. It was this event that
inspired Susanne. As she contemplated
her apprehension of swimming alone in
deep water, she saw the man next to her
who had entirely attenuated limbs jump
joyfully into the sea.
Exploring wild swimming spots
with her friend Cassandra Quave, ➜ Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 31

➜ whose right leg is amputated below the swim, and he shares his experiences via the path was rocky and hilly. On the
knee, Susanne has come to realise that Facebook encouraging others to venture other hand, when we visited An Lochan
having a body that works differently into the water. As well as Clevedon, Uaine, it was a longer walk to reach the
isn’t a barrier to swimming – the only he recently swam at Portishead Lido, lake, but the path was relatively flat and
hindrance is access. and both get a mention in Susanne’s without rocks, so no hiking sticks were
For Somerset swimmer, Ben, outdoor collection of accessible swims. But needed and I could take my time and
swimming is invaluable for his physical Ben also ventured to Claverton Weir rest in the shade when my weaker leg
fitness and mental well-being. “It’s my near Bath, a much more challenging was tired.”
main form of exercise,” he says. terrain of grass and rocks down Once at the water’s edge, getting in
“Without swimming I to a wide weir. “I found it is the next challenge. “For me, the best
would get very uptight. reasonably accessible as I location is one where there is a rock or
It helps me relax. rather unglamorously overhang with a point of entry that is
It’s for fitness and SUPPORT shimmied down into deep water that I can immediately
relaxation. For to the water,” he swim in,” says Cassie “If the point of
my legs and my LOCAL INITIATIVES says. “But oh my entry is gradual and the distance to
Ben swims at
THAT MAKE YOUR goodness was it
worth it!”
swimming depth water long, then I
need assistance to either be supported
Clevedon Marine FAVOURITE SWIMMING Like Ben, being to hop in, which can be painful in rocky
Lake, a tidal prepared helps bottom lakes, or be carried in. I prefer
pool surrounded SPOTS MORE Susanne’s swim spots that allow for self-entry and exit
by level concrete ACCESSIBLE buddy Cassie access from deeper water as it allows me to be
that you can access swimming spots that more independent.”
via slopes. Entry into might not be obviously
the water is by graduated accessible. “I can reach most A COMMUNITY EFFORT
metal steps with handrails on places at my own pace with the By building tools like the crowd-sourced
either side. “Clevedon is good,” he says. help of some standard walking sticks. map, we can all help
“I can walk with a walker or crutches – I But rocky or hilly terrain can present people plan around their accessibility
have a wheelchair, but I don’t depend on additional challenges and knowing needs. You can also share information
it. I use a buoyancy aid around my waist what the challenges are ahead of time through Facebook pages. Starting by
so I can use my arms because I can’t can help me better prepare,” she says. with your favourite outdoor swimming
kick hard enough to float.” “For example, the hike to the fairy pools spot, describe the approach, whether
Ben’s confident to try new places to on Skye wasn’t very far in distance, but or not you can get close to the water by
car or wheelchair, and highlight features
like steps with handrails and beaches
with sand-friendly wheelchairs.
“It would be amazing if the
swimming community included more
posts on a map of accessible wild swims
with information on reaching the swim
site and entry points to the water,” says
Cassie. “The challenges for people
with different types of disabilities are
somewhat different than for ambulatory

Top five accessible swims

Here are some of Susanne’s favourite swim spots in the UK.

1 On a calm day in winter when the water is clear it is a real treat to

swim out to the artificial reef at Boscombe in Bournemouth, Dorset
and check out the seaweeds and creatures that have moved in.

2 Huishinish beach on the Isle of Harris is gorgeous. It has car parking

nearby, though it is little walk over uneven ground to get to the beach.

3 Lough Hyne in Co Cork, Ireland has bioluminescence that is

phenomenal. It’s right by the road and there is a parking spot
close to the ramp.

4 Man O War Cove, Dorset is sheltered and you can see a lot of marine
life swimming through the seaweed there. It’s a steep trek, but you
can access it by swimming from Lulworth Cove or by boat.

5 Lochan Uaine, Highlands, Scotland for the colour of that water!

It’s a walk over an uneven path, but Cassie managed with her
prosthetic and it’s fine for a rugged wheelchair.

32 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


amputees, but they too would benefit

from this information.”
You can also support local initiatives
and schemes that make your favourite
swimming spots more accessible and
encourage venues to waive the entry fee
for swimmers’ helpers and carers so that
they don’t have to pay to have somebody
to help them into the water.
We have a wonderful, welcoming
community of like-minded people,
and the joy of outdoor swimming is
unlimited by physical differences. But
being inclusive is often about thinking
beyond your own experience. Small
changes will help to start to turn the
tide and make open water swimming an
activity that truly is for all

Add my venue
Go to,
click ‘collections’ and find
Susanne Masters’s Access
Swims collection. You can
then contact her to add your
venue. To help people with
different needs decide how
to use your swim spot, think
about these points:

l How close to the

water can you park?
l Can you get to
the water’s edge I PREFER SPOTS
in a wheelchair? THAT ALLOW FOR
l What’s the entry/
exit like? For example, AND EXIT
are there steps with FROM DEEPER
a handrail or hoists?
l Is there a ALLOWS ME
secure place to TO BE MORE
leave belongings,
including prosthetics, INDEPENDENT
crutches, sticks and
l Are there specialist
sand wheelchairs or
mats for wheelchairs
to go over sand or
wheelchairs that
go in the water? Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 33


Ella Foote swims with Abi Andrews, author
of The Word for Woman is Wilderness

he landscape of how we talk River Severn is famous for its fast flows
about men and women is and our spot is no different. We stick
changing. The gender gap close to the riverbank and laugh that
has been a hot topic in the despite our best efforts we don’t appear
media this year. Daily news talks to be getting anywhere. While Abi
about difference in pay, treatment, loves to swim, she had never ventured
work and attitudes. It is no surprise into her local river.
that the discussion is seeping into the
outdoor world and Abi Andrew’s debut FEMINIST FABLE
novel, The Word for Woman The book follows the story of
is Wilderness, tackles the Erin, a 19-year-old who
subject head-on. has never left England
“I have this thing and wonders why it
that bothers me
“I HAVE NEVER is always men who
about how often BEEN TO ANY OF get to go on all the
when women cool wilderness
write about the THE PLACES IN THE adventures.
outdoors and BOOK, IT IS ALL FROM Erin sets off on
their experience a voyage into
of it the books RESEARCH AND the Alaskan
become self-help,” wilderness, making
says Abi. “If a man
GOOGLE EARTH” a video documentary
had written Eat, Pray, of her journey.
Love or Wild they would Travelling via
have been great adventure sea and land rather
stories. When I was researching the than air, for environmental
book I was trying to find examples of reasons. Erin takes cargo
women writing about this kind of stuff and research ships across
and the market was full of things like, the north Atlantic, stopping
Pink Boots and a Machete: My Journey in Iceland, Greenland and
from NFL Cheerleader to National north-eastern Canada before
Geographic Explorer. It was like the hitchhiking to eventually
wilderness wasn’t accessible to women arrive in a hut in Alaska’s
unless something had happened to Denali National Park. Abi’s
them.” descriptive and intellectual
Abi and I meet on the banks of the writing of Erin’s story makes
River Severn near Bewdley, where she me believe Abi herself
is temporarily living with her parents explored and travelled at least
before her next project. The day before some of the places in the book.
she returned from Greece where she “I have never been to any of
was volunteering, spending her time the places that are in the book,”
camping and swimming in a gorge. It is she says. “It is all from research
and using Google Earth to
Ella and Abi in the fast flow
midsummer’s day and the sun is high
and warm. After a brief exchange with zoom into roads in the middle
a local fisherman, we manage to find a of nowhere in Canada.”
ledge to scramble down into the water. Abi explains that while Erin’s the River Severn
The water is cool, but welcome. The character isn’t based on her the

34 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


RISKS TO A MAN Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 35

➜ idea for the book and Erin’s trip come

from the same source. “She definitely
isn’t me,” says Abi. “But I was trying
to write it as if I did the journey when
I was 19 – what I would have done
in each situation, how I might have
been emotionally – but the book is
completely fictional.”
The first page explains that Erin’s
and Abi’s journey began after watching
the film Into the Wild, a story about a
runaway traveller called Christopher
McCandless, who ditches an entitled
life to travel across America to get
to Alaska and live the Jack London
dream. “I had watched the film
with two friends and we all were
left with the feeling of doing
a trip exactly like it,” says
Abi. “I couldn’t think of
anything more authentic AS WE GROW UP,
than doing that trip, it was
so beautiful. It was when
I was planning it that it TO BE AWARE OF
struck me how different
every step would have been STRANGE MEN
for him, if he had been a
woman. I started exploring why,
thinking I could do it and make
a documentary on how different it
would be to do something like this as exploring and swimming
a woman.” in wild places solo.
The reality was that Abi had a final “Often a woman on her
year of university to complete and own is inviting company,”
no money to do a trip like it anytime says Abi. “While most
soon, so she wrote about it as if she of the time being
was doing it. Abi was studying English approached is natural
and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths and innocent, it can make
University and the book became you feel vulnerable. As
her dissertation. She submitted the we grow up, women are
beginning and end of the book, with told to be aware of strange Sharing stories of
a synopsis of the middle and then
tackled the whole thing once she
men, so it becomes a
worry in the back of our camping and exploring Abi and Ella – wild women!
finished university. “It was a relief to mind that we are not even
finally have the book finished and aware of. It is a dynamic
published,” says Abi. “I spent the best a man doesn’t think too much about.”
part of the last four years writing it and Abi tells me stories of camping across
while my parents have always been America, worrying about bears as step is exploring WWOOFing – a term
totally supportive there was a sense of well as strangers outside her tent. I had never heard of. “WWOOFing is
relief that I hadn’t wasted that time.” We tell stories of taking risks for the where you live and learn while working
adventure, then wonder if they would on organic farms,” says Abi. “You live
WHAT IS WILDERNESS? look like risks to a man. alongside your host helping with daily
The strong female and feminist theme I ask Abi if she will ever follow in tasks and experiencing life as a farmer.”
comes from the root of the idea, Erin’s path and do the trip. “I don’t Having only just learnt of the term, I
but Abi explores the topic in depth, think I would ever do the trip from suggest perhaps there is a book in that
referencing research and books like beginning to end like she did. I would kind of experience
Walden by Henry David Thoreau like to do similar but not the same –
and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. that would be a bit strange,” she says. The Word for Woman is
There are parallels made with the “I have always wanted to go to Alaska Wilderness is out now.
history of space travel and women and often look at work-away options
being excluded. All this asks, what is over there.” Now book one is finished it
wilderness and what does it mean to has given Abi the boost needed to put
women? We shared stories of camping, her energy into another, but her next

36 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


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Lake George posed a challenge that Diane
Struble was keen to best. By Elaine K Howley

Jack Dempsey
champion boxer


Diane Struble
on the Today show with
Betsy Palmer
38 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer

hen America’s third
president, Thomas
Jefferson, first arrived in
Ticonderoga, New York,
in 1791, it was his first experience
setting eyes on Lake George. Of
the narrow, 32-mile-long, glacially-
formed waterway, Jefferson wrote:
“Lake George is without comparison,
the most beautiful water I ever saw;
formed by a contour of mountains
into a basin... finely interspersed with
islands, its water limpid as crystal, and
the mountain sides covered with rich
groves... down to the water-edge: here
and there precipices of rock to checker
the scene and save it from monotony.”
There’s certainly nothing
monotonous about the “Queen of
American Lakes.” The upstate New
York mere has been one of America’s
most beloved resort locations for more
than 150 years. Nestled at the base
of the Adirondack mountains, rustic
Lake George drains into larger Lake
Champlain and the St Lawrence River
basin. It lies far enough away from the
buzz of big cities – roughly halfway
between New York City and Montreal
– to feel remote, but close enough to
be a reasonable retreat for residents of
both cities. Well-to-do New Yorkers
in the 19th and 20th centuries flocked
to the lake in summer; the Vanderbilts
and Rockefellers were regular visitors.
A LARGE ROCK AT As marathon swimming’s appeal
THE NORTHERN END grew in the early 20th century,
swimmers began eyeing Lake George
OF THE LAKE WAS as a potential top prize. In July 1927,
a year after Gertrude Ederle became
NAMED “DIANE’S the first woman to swim the English
ROCK” AND STANDS Channel, a mass event not dissimilar
from the deep-sea derby held in the
AS A MEMORIAL TO Catalina Channel in January of that
STRUBLE’S SWIM year, was staged in Lake George.
The spectacle drew thousands
of people to the Lake, as much
to witness the 110 swimmers’
struggles as to see the ceremonial
starter – world-famous
heavyweight champion boxer,
Jack Dempsey, the most popular
athlete of the era. So many people
flocked to the dock to see the
start of the race that the wharf
collapsed, “ducking” Dempsey
into the drink, reported the New
York Daily News. “Jack Dempsey
still seems to be heavyweight
champion of the world. At an
early hour this morning, he
stepped from a speed boat to
a wharfing here and the entire ➜ Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 39

➜ structure collapsed throwing more DIANE DOES IT

than 100 people into the lake. … On 23 August 1958, Diane Struble
Everybody screamed, including your became the first swimmer to complete
correspondent, whose typewriter was a lengthwise crossing of Lake George.
faster getting to the bottom of the lake The 25-year-old mother of three swam
than Mister Dempsey.” Mercifully, no the 51.8 kilometres (32.2 miles) from
one was hurt in the incident, and ever Ticonderoga to Lake George Village
the showman, Dempsey climbed out, in 35 hours, 30 minutes. She was
shook himself off, and motored to reportedly greeted by 10,000 cheering
another dock where he fired the pistol spectators when she arrived.
to launch the race. Struble’s success had been hard
The race continued on until the wee earned. She had first attempted to
hours of 13 July. Despite the dark and swim the length of Lake George in
absurdly early hour, the roar of the August 1950 at the tender age of 17,
20,000-strong throng of spectators covering about 19 miles in 18 hours,
must have been deafening when according to an Associated Press
24-year-old New York City resident report. The report, which described
Edward Keating staggered up the Struble as “an attractive blonde high Struble hit pause manager Paul Lukaris (whom she
ladder at a dock in Lake George Village school senior from Scotia,” indicated on her swimming married in the 1970s), she struck a
at 4.30am after nearly 19 she’d swum through a storm career to raise her deal with the F & M Schaefer Brewing
hours in the water. He’d for four hours and three children Company, a New York City-based beer
swum from the Hague terminated the swim manufacturer, to complete several
town beach 25 miles near Hatchett Island. marathon swims in the area. (Schaefer
(42 kilometres) STRUBLE It’s unclear why her was bought by the Stroh Brewery
away and made looks figured so Company in 1981. A subsequent sale to
himself $5,000 WAS REPORTEDLY prominently as the Pabst Brewing Company took place
richer (roughly GREETED BY to be the second in 1999. Pabst still makes Schaefer’s
$72,000 today) item noted in traditional German lager, sold under
by outlasting all 10,000 CHEERING the report – a the brand name Schaefer Beer.)
other swimmers. Perhaps it was her sex appeal, or the
(The remaining
SPECTATORS WHEN ofcommon feature
all subsequent slightly scandalous fact that she was a
$5,000 in posted SHE ARRIVED reports about the single mother making her way in the
prize money went swimmer’s adventures world in the 1950s that earned her
unclaimed because no – but Struble told the extra attention. Maybe it was Lukaris’s
other swimmers finished.) reporter that she’d failed efforts to build a media darling in the
The International News Service because she wasn’t prepared enough. talented swimmer he represented.
reported that “Keating’s victory was “I’ll never try anything like this again Whatever it was, Struble became a star
complete. One by one, the other without more training,” she said. seemingly overnight. A 2015 Glens
contestants had dropped out and his The following summer, Struble Falls Chronicle article noted that
nearest rival, Miss Lucy Diamond, of attempted a 30-mile swim the length Struble’s daughter, Gwenne Rippon
Brooklyn, was taken from the water of Lake Sacandaga, one of New York said “it helped that she was young,
shortly after two o’clock, five miles State’s famous finger lakes. That swim blonde, beautiful, personally ambitious,
from the finish. By virtue of his victory, was also unsuccessful, as was a second witty, and kind.” The combination was
Keating becomes the fresh water attempt at Lake George she made in dynamite; after successfully swimming
champion of the world.” 1951. into the record books in Lake George
With his strong performance, Struble hit pause on her swimming (and earning a $2,500 bonus from
Keating had earned a place in the career for the next several years as she the Schaefer Brewing Company),
record books. But he hadn’t swum married her high school sweetheart she appeared on several TV shows,
the entirety of the lake. It would take and bore three children. But by including a swim-suit clad spot on the
another 31 years and the efforts of 1958, she was separated from her Today show alongside actress Betsy
a gutsy young woman to connect husband and living with her three Palmer.
Ticonderoga to Lake George Village small daughters at her mother’s house
the hard way. in Scotia. That’s when, assisted by


Ticonderoga to 1958: 1962: 1967: 1977: 1981:
Lake George Diane Struble Bill Stevens George Stella Taylor John Freihofer
35:30:00 31:27:00 Dempsey 26:51:00 21:26:00
Village (North 32:15:00
to South)
JUNE 2018 | Outdoor
2018 | Outdoor

CHAMPLAIN DREAMS AND professional marathon swimming IN HER WAKE

MANHATTAN WISHES circuit in the 1960s. The report said Since Struble first got across, 10
The following summer, again that Struble had lasted until the early other solo swimmers have completed
sponsored by the Schafer Brewing morning, but was pulled from the 14.4 lengthwise swims of the Lake. Bill
Company, Struble completed a degree Celsius water more than 20 Stevens, a 31-year-old ex-Marine from
solo 32.7-kilometre (20.3-mile) miles from her final destination. Little Ferry, New Jersey, became the
swim across Lake Champlain from After that swim, it appears Struble first man to swim the length of Lake
Burlington, Vermont, to Plattsburgh, faded from the marathon swimming George. He swam from Diane’s Rock
New York, in 16 hours, 40 minutes. world. A 2015 Glens Falls Chronicle southward in 31 hours 27 minutes
Struble’s crowning glory came article reported that Struble lived at on 9-10 September 1962. George
less than a month later when she Animal Land, a zoo-like theme park Dempsey, Stella Taylor, John Freihofer,
completed a 45.9-kilometre (28.5- just south of Lake Sacandaga in the and Jerry Ferris all got across between
mile) circumnavigation of Manhattan summers. (The park was owned by 1967 and 1983. Then, the lake went
Island. Again sponsored by Schaefer, Paul Lukaris, her manager-turned quiet to long-distance swimming.
the swim was one event in a year-long husband.) Struble worked “as a But interest in swimming across
celebration of the 350th anniversary celebrity animal handler who wrestled Lake George began reviving in
of Dutch exploration of the Hudson alligators, among other attractions.” 2007, when a local group sponsored
River. Struble was the sixth woman A large rock at the northern end of the a professional race from Lake
and eighth person to complete that lake where it meets Ticonderoga Creek George Village to Hague Beach to
swim, taking 11 hours and 59 minutes was named “Diane’s Rock” and stands commemorate the 80th anniversary of
to tour the island. She apparently asked as a memorial to her swim. A placard the last large race on the lake. Strong
to go around a second time, but was on the rock marks her achievement and winds delayed the field of 10 swimmers
told that ferry boat captains who’d the scrub-covered rock also indicates and only two swimmers reached the
delayed or altered their routes for her the starting or ending point of modern beach before the event was called
first pass wouldn’t allow it. swims on the lake. Struble died of cancer for darkness. Nevertheless, event
Lake George
Those three swims represent the drains into
in 2006 at the age of 73. organisers were so impressed with the
sum total of Struble’s successful swims. larger Lake swimmers’ grit they paid out the prize
An April 1960 feature in the Fort Champlain purse to participants based on where
Lauderdale News reported that Struble and the St they were on the course when the 12-
was in town preparing for a double Lawrence hour time limit was reached.
Manhattan Island swim. It also noted River basin In 2016, another mass event was
that Struble had previously completed planned to traverse the entire length of
a 25-mile swim in Boston Harbor. the lake. Fourteen solo swimmers and
Details of that swim remain scant. 14 relay teams were entered. Again,
An Associated Press report from heavy winds scuttled the event, which
20 August 1963 noted that Struble was cancelled after four hours amid
was among the 20 swimmers (three chaos that likely mirrored that of the
of whom were women) to start a 1927 event.
60-mile swim across Lake Michigan These days, a solo swim takes
from Chicago to St Joseph/Benton place a couple times per year. David
Harbor alongside powerhouse Dammerman currently holds the men’s
marathoners Greta Andersen and record for his 19 June 2016 crossing,
Ted Erickson. The report noted completed in 18:49:22. Caroline Block
that the 30-year-old Struble had is the fastest female across the course
five children at the time. so far, having swum the lake on 11
The following day, the June 2017 in 19:21:00. The water is
Associated Press reported that still as beautiful as when Thomas
only two swimmers remained in Jefferson first spied it. But if you want
the 60-mile quest for a $15,000 to swim this scenic waterway, wait for
prize purse: Ted Erickson a calm day
and Abdel-Latif Abo-Heif, a
legendary Egyptian swimmer
who was a fixture on the

1983: 2016: Lake George 2016: 2016: 2017: 2017:

Jerry Ferris
Village to Jaimie Monahan
Jennifer Dutton
Caroline Block
Bridget Simpson
18:49:22 Ticonderoga
(South to North) Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 41

Unique open water swims in castle lakes; 5k, 2.5k and 1 mile (open for the whole
family) swim courses. NEW 10k marathon swim at Hever Castle only on 8 July.
These events promise not just stunning swim courses, but a medal, finishing
banquet and festival event village filled with live music and entertainment.

All swimmers will be provided with timing chips and the races categorised into
wetsuits and non-wetsuits. Prizes will be awarded for the first place
male and female competitors in each distance.

Save 10% when signing up with code OUTDOORCSS2018



45 Coach Cassie 46 Training sessions 48 Mythbusters
50 Sport psychology 52 Open water coaching 54 Recipes H2OPEN | JUNE/JULY 2016 43


Our resident Olympian answers your swimming questions

I have signed up to a I am a runner who has

just taken up open
swimrun race where water swimming.
I will be swimming When I swim my legs
with paddles. I have seem to drag along the
read that paddles can bottom of the pool!
How can I improve
injure your shoulders. my position in the
How can I safely use water so I am more
them in training to get streamlined?
ready for race day? Andy Sloan
Sarah Martin Coach Cassie says:
One of the things I get asked
the most by runners, is how to
fix ‘sinky’ legs. 
One of the best ways
to improve leg position is
to try and ensure that the
Coach Cassie says: Paddles movement comes from the
are a great training aid and really hips, rather than from  bending
help produce power in a swimrun at the knee. This can be tricky
race. However, if you use huge paddles as in pretty much every other
and have poor technique on your sport a kick would be driven
entry or catch this can add a lot of from the knee, eg, a football
pressure to your shoulder joint. I free kick.
would say to start by using paddles In  swimming  the leg should
that are no more than 1 inch bigger stay relatively straight with
than your hand. This will give your only a slight flexion and
body time to adjust to the extra enter the water just slightly wider extension at the knee. You
power you will be producing per pull. than your shoulders. This puts your need to engage your glutes
It is really important to make sure shoulders into their strongest position to bring your ankles up to the
you’re not entering thumb first into and will assist in reducing injures. surface without bending the
the water; also your hands should Good luck with your event! knee to do so. I tell my
Cassie Patten swimmers to think ‘up, up,
won bronze in up’ when they are kicking, to
I often get peckish on long swims. Is there a way to take the first ever assist in bringing the feet to
food with me so I can snack on the go? I usually wear Olympic 10km the surface. Another issue
marathon swim, that can affect the leg position
a wetsuit but it has no pockets! is head position and the
in the Beijing
Jude Fisher 2008 Olympics. catch phase in the pull. If your
Coach Cassie says: I would say invest in a tow float with a waterproof head is too high or you are
compartment that you can put snacks into. Have a think about what kind Cassie now creating too much ‘up thrust’
of food you take with you, as a soggy marmite sandwich may not be the coaches and is by pushing the water down on
best option! You could always stick a small gel pack up the leg of your a commentator the catch, your body’s top half
wetsuit for some extra fuel on your swims.  at open water lifts which in turn makes your
If this is not an option, bananas are a great pre-swim snack as they events. bottom half – your hips and
release their energy slowly, making you feel less hungry. feet – sink. I hope this helps. 

Email your questions to: with the subject ‘Coach Cassie’ Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 45

Fiona Ford explains how to use

paddles to perfect your catch

s a coach, one of the most training of the back and lats will be specific areas that require correction.
common issues I see when achieved alongside refining technique. Paddles should always be used with
analysing swim videos is However, if the hand is too high in the caution and removed if they cause any
a tendency for swimmers catch or the stroke is too long due to discomfort or pain.
to press down or introduce lateral pausing and gliding or over- The training session in this
movement with the hand, instead of reaching then there is a risk issue will help you work
catching the water efficiently. This flaw of shoulder injury using through a process of
seriously harms the pull phase and paddles. Paddles identifying and
forward propulsion. Pressing down may also encourage THE tuning up your
instead of back causes lift at the front
of the stroke and often compounds
‘pressing’ if
the catch
JUDICIOUS USE catch and pull
using paddles
existing drag issues from the hips and mechanics are OF PADDLES CAN and drill work
legs while lateral hand movements can misunderstood to apply into
induce ‘snaking’ and increase drag. and this will feel HELP IDENTIFY your freestyle
The judicious use of paddles can like a ‘good catch’ AND CORRECT stroke, using
help both the swimmer and coach to a swimmer with your perception
identify and correct these technique poor feel for the TECHNIQUE and observation
flaws. Note that we are not talking
about using paddle work for building
As working with
FLAWS skills! There are
two versions: a full
strength and power. Instead, the use of paddles does pose an injury distance one that should
paddles should be specific and targeted risk I recommend that you consider take between one and two hours
to the swimmer’s stroke technique first having your underwater stroke depending on your speed and a short
requirements. If the catch and pull mechanics video analysed to observe version that you can cram into your
mechanics are optimal then functional the catch and pull phases and identify lunchbreak if time is short

46 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


Session 1 – Session 2 –
Catch & pull diagnosis Lunchtime special
and tune up (the short & sweet PADDLE TYPES
30-minute version) I recommend my swimmers
Warm up: Warm up: use the following types
l 400m FS. While swimming, observe and note l 100m FS. While swimming, observe and note
the depth of catch after hand entry on each the depth of catch after hand entry on each of paddles.
stroke. stroke.
l 300m PULL. Now observe the degree of elbow l 100m PULL. Now observe the degree of elbow
bend on left and right arms as each travels below bend on left and right arms as each travels below FINIS Agility.
your shoulders and body. your shoulders and body. These strapless
l 200m doggy paddle with fins or pull buoy. l 100m doggy paddle with fins or pull buoy. paddles just have a
Observe the transition from catch into pull. Does Observe the transition from catch into pull. Does thumb hole to keep
the arm move as one continuous limb from hand the arm move as one continuous limb from hand them in place and
to shoulder (i.e. like a pole) or does the elbow to shoulder (i.e. like a pole) or does the elbow rely on you having
remain forward as the forearm swings down (arm remain forward as the forearm swings down (arm
movement in two parts)? movement in two parts)? a good catch to stay
l 100m FS. Build pace from 60 to 90% and note l 100m FS. Build pace from 60 to 90% and note on the hand due to
speed and effort level where your catch & pull speed and effort level where your catch & pull water pressure. They also
feels together and consolidated. feels together and consolidated. provide feedback on any lateral
Take 30s rest after each. l Take 30s rest after each. movement of hand and help
you engage your forearm for
Main set Main set
the pull.
l 400m with paddles (fins optional) alternating l 200m with paddles (fins optional). Alternate
‘kick-on-side’ drill and freestyle each length. On kick on side drill and freestyle each length (see
the drill, keep your leading hand slightly flexed above for details on drill and paddles). FINIS Freestyler.
with your palm consistently facing the bottom l 200m FS negative split effort (no paddles). These are the long
of the pool when kicking on your side, breathing Work on applying an effective catch technique triangular shaped
in or breathing out and looking down. Apply (flex your wrist slightly after hand entry) and paddles with pointy
a deliberate (but subtle) flex of your wrist as remain at effort level where your technique feels
your hand reaches 20-30cm below the surface. consolidated. ends and a ‘keel’ on the
Compare to the catch position and depth you l 200m alternating single arm drill and FS each bottom. Use only the
observed during the warm up. Use Finis Freestyler length. Use sculling, finger or Agility paddles. middle finger strap
paddles or standard hand paddles with only the Work on vertical forearm in pull phase. to hold in place and
middle finger in the loop (not all straps) to gain l 200m FS at CSS pace. Maintain effective pull don’t curl your fingers
feedback on hand movement via wrist flexion or technique and note impact on times and perceived around the edges.
lateral movement on breathing. effort.
l 400m FS negative split (no paddles). Work l 4x50m as pull & paddles. Consolidate catch and These provide feedback
on applying an effective catch technique (flex pull by observing the elements above. on alignment issues such as
your wrist slightly after hand entry) and remain l 4x50m FS at aerobic pace (no paddles). thumb first entry or hand in
at effort level where your technique feels Consolidate and correct technique in FS from front of head. They also assist
consolidated. paddle swimming feedback. Note any impact on with good catch mechanics due
l 2 x 200m (+30 sec rest) alternating single arm times. to their shape.
drill into FS each length. Use small sculling or l Take 30s rest after each.
finger paddles or FINIS Agility paddles and work
on a bent elbow pull with hand travelling below Cool down Sculling or finger
the shoulder as you finish your pull phase towards l 200m easy paddles.
your thighs. Aim to maintain the elbow high and l Total distance: 1800m These are the small,
forward as the forearm approaches vertical,
observe this as the arm passes the head. half-moon shaped
GUIDANCE NOTES paddles (available
l 2 x 200m FS at CSS pace + 30 sec rest. FS = Freestyle
Maintain effective pull technique and note impact from several brands).
CSS pace = Critical Swim Speed. A swimmer’s
on times and perceived effort. sustainable threshold pace, not all out sprint. Fit over the fingers only.
l 4x100m as pull & paddles. Consolidate catch Aerobic pace = CSS +3-5 sec per 100m These are effective paddles to
and pull by observing the elements above. PULL = Swimming with a pullbuoy or float help train catch initiation.
l 4 to 8 x 50m FS at aerobic pace (no paddles). Negative split = Swim second half of the swim
Consolidate and correct technique in FS from faster than the first
paddle swimming feedback. Note any impact on between your legs. No kicking.
l Take 30s rest after each.


l 200m easy
l Total distance: 3600m
Triathlon Europe provides weekly Swim Smooth squad
training in South West London. The squad enjoy training all year round in fabulous indoor
and outdoor 33m pools. Fiona offers swim training plans, 1-2-1 video analysis sessions and
stroke correction sessions on weekday mornings and weekend Swim Smooth workshops.
Find out more: Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 47


There are a number
of myths in swimming
which people accept
as gospel. But when
you think about
them they are a bit
illogical. This month
coach James Ewart
busts some myths
associated with
the catch phase
of the stroke

James Ewart is a Total

Immersion swim coach

48 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


<< MYTH 1
Despite the fact that there
is plenty of empirical and
scientific evidence that proves
otherwise, many swimmers
continue to believe this This long held belief makes little sense on closer evaluation.
to be true. Most people simply end up with their palms facing the sky
Most of the best swimmers when they try do this – which offers nothing in the way of
in the world have been forward propulsion.
relaxing their hands with Even if you are able to see your hand at 90 degrees in the
fingers slightly apart for water as you push past your hip (I've never seen anybody do
many years. A number of this even if they think they are) it's a very small surface area
scientific studies done over compared to the front part of the catch where not just the
the past ten years have hand but also the forearm engages the water powered by
proved that you hold more the powerful back muscles. The hand past the hip is driven
water with relaxed hands
by the small tricep muscles, which makes it a weak part
and fingers very slightly of the stroke where you will be inclined to decelerate. In
apart than with hands addition pushing the hand in that position behind the hip puts
cupped with fingers together. the shoulder into a compromised position which could lead to
When we part our fingers injury. Much better to finish the stroke early, in front of the hip
water does not simply flow and recover the arm forwards earlier ready for the next stroke.
through the gap. Tests have
found that the gap creates
a vortex between the fingers
which also holds water in
a kind of 'webbed hands'
effect. A relaxed hand with
fingers apart also creates a
bigger wake behind it than a
cupped hand. In some tests
this was up to 53%.
What's the optimum finger
spacing then? That depends
on a lot of things but it's
between 20% and 40% of
the finger width. For most
of us simply relaxing our
hands will result in a small
gap appearing between the
fingers which will be about
right. Although it's impossible
to measure "perfect" this
will result in a definite
improvement over cupped
hands and closed fingers. Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 49



Sport psychology consultant Helen Davis
on what you do want to happen. If you
are currently experiencing a slump
in form and not feeling fulfilled in
swimming, now is the time to focus
on wanting better form and having joy
in swimming again. It is all about how
looks at how to stay positive when you you choose to think.

aren’t performing at your best HOW DO I THINK?

One of the best starting points for
ou have experienced success successes and keep the belief that your change, is to adopt a strength-based
in swimming, but at the form will improve in the future. perspective. This perspective will
moment no matter how teach you how to positively adapt to
hard you try, something is WHERE IS YOUR FOCUS? your slump in form. By choosing to
missing. Once consistent, your form Working as a sport psychologist, it is think about it in a different way, it can
is now characterised by a downward noticeable how many athletes have a give you a new sense of what matters
spiral, with worsening performances tendency to focus on what they don’t most in the process of managing your
in the water. You don’t want to lose want, rather than what they do want. slump in form. Aim to have strength-
confidence, but the reality is your form Consider your focus when problems based improvement conversations
has taken a slump. This article focuses in swimming arise – what do you tend with yourself and others using positive
on how to stay positive, celebrate the to focus on? Aim to narrow your focus emotions. These are conversations

50 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer



HAVING JOY IN Keeping it positive
SWIMMING AGAIN Taking a positive approach to a slump in form offers
a different lens that helps us to move on from
that focus on your internal strengths a preoccupation with the ‘slump’. Being positive
and resourcefulness and less on your changes the scope or boundaries of your mind
weaknesses and shortcomings. The and can widen the possibilities you can see.
key is to take advantage of positive
emotions (such as joy, gratitude
and hope) and regard them as your
Knowing your strengths
A strengths-based approach embraces an intention to
‘resources.’ This positive resource-
appreciate and understand your own gifts and talents.
based approach has the accumulating
advantage of converting anxiety and
It is an intention to develop a deeper understanding of MAKE A CHOICE
stress that arises from the ‘pressure to
your own learning agenda, sense of self and purpose.
improve,’ into a mindset based on ‘I
have an opportunity to improve.’
What is going well? So, if you are finding
Document your swims, learning what worked, that you have a slump
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS? went well and noticing improvements. Work on
When we feel positive, we are generally building your form using your strengths more in form, make a choice
more open-minded, receptive to frequently and confidently. Aim to generate to use your experience,
new ideas, adaptive and flexible. a climate of positivity around your swimming,
For example, the joy of engaging in be more open-minded and resilient to change. knowledge and inquiry
physical activity sparks the urge to
swim, interest in a new sport sparks Support network processes to increase
the urge to explore, contentment Use your support network to help encourage your capability to act
that comes from a hard-fought and motivate you to notice your strengths. positively and apply
victory sparks the urge to savour. The
broadened mind-set arising from Fostering enjoyment this to improve your
these positive emotions is contrasted Reflect on why you enjoy swimming, putting your swimming. Fuelled
to narrowed mind-sets sparked by enjoyment first, rather than your lack of form.
negative emotions and their associated Remind yourself of why you love swimming again.
by positivity and
tendencies; such as to attack or flee. the use of your
In other words, when we are more Remember the time strengths you can
negative we are less able to consider
Think back to a time when your form was good.
alternatives, experiment with ways of
Ask yourself positive questions after memorable reveal new insights
doing things, and consider options.
swims or good performances, focusing on how your and understandings
This approach will not help you
form was achieved. Study and celebrate successes
moving forwards from a slump. for positive and
both small and major, individual and collective,
Promote your direction to positive
then build on these victories. sustainable action;
emotions to help build your individual
personal resources which, in turn, might
WHAT TO AVOID just help you overcome
Helen Davis is Be aware of your thinking in your process to make your slump and
a swimmer and changes; here’s what to avoid:
give better, more
sport psychology
consultant who AVOID QUESTIONS where you continually ask consistent form.
works with yourself what is wrong with your form rather than
individuals, teams what is right. They are thoughts about problems
and coaches on rather than achievements.
their sporting
performance. AVOID THINKING of all the things you want to get
Each month, Helen will suggest rid of, eliminate and fix with your swimming; this
psychological techniques to help requires a considerable investment in mental
overcome difficult open water energy and does not move you forwards.
swimming scenarios. AVOID OVERTHINKING, as when we focus on problems,
@helenDav2245 we begin to construct a world in which problems are
central and these can burden you every time you swim. Outdoor
Swimmer | JULY 2018 51


Alice Gartland the UK. Summer 2018 and I’m dressed

in shorts and T-shirt with a cozzie
With the rise in popularity of open
water swimming, this revamped course
took the STA’s underneath, sitting at a desk and
Keri-anne Payne is asking me and 11
has been designed with input from
a variety of stakeholders, including
new Level 2 Open other outdoor swimming addicts why
we’ve signed up to the STA’s new Level
the BLDSA, NOWCA, Colin Hill,
Simon Griffiths (founder of Outdoor
Water Swimming 2 Open Water Swimming Coaching
course. We’re an eclectic bunch – wild
Swimmer) and, of course, founder of
Triscape and double World Champion,
Coaching course swimmers, skins distance swimmers, Olympic Silver Medallist Keri-anne

ice swimmers, wetsuit racers, Payne, who also delivers the course and
ummer 2008 and I’m dressed triathletes and Olympians – united in for whom this is the realisation of a
in a suit, sitting at my desk our desire to “give something back” to long held personal ambition.
in an office at the sport we love and enable others to
the top of a experience it too. I am so excited. BUILDING FOUNDATIONS
skyscraper in Beijing. The course costs £485 and incorporates
Not far away in the classroom and practical sessions,
Olympic Rowing Lake, supported by reading materials and
Keri-anne Payne takes coursework. The emphasis is on
silver in the open water collaborative, practical and discovery
10k. That same year, back learning, allowing for regular feedback,
in the UK, Colin Hill reflection and development. I’ll be
launches The Great Swim, honest – it was exciting, surreal and
and something called slightly daunting coaching front crawl
the Outdoor Swimming technique to my fellow course mates
Society, and another thing (including a Commonwealth swim

Swim selfiie!
called Swim Trek start medallist and another Olympian) with
building momentum; the Keri-anne evaluating.
scene is set for an outdoor
swimming revolution in
Group learning That such a variety of swimmers
can happily learn together in this way,

52 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


No course is complete without

an acronym. And SWIM is
particularly apt to help remember
the core elements
of a session plan
Keri-anne Payne
S et objectives – What do
you want to achieve?
Eg, improve mass start skills

W hy should the swimmer

care about this? Eg, to build
confidence, improve times. (And
what questions can you ask to help them
identify that?)

I nspire – make the session

relevant. Eg, apply it to an
upcoming swim event

M ilestones – to track progress,

support feedbackand enable
learning and development of
the coach and swimmer

Key elements of the course

COLLABORATIVE LEARNING l Safety and risk management
On this course I explored the skills I l The open water environment
need to start my open water coaching l Coaching strategies
journey, create engaging coaching l Swim technique (front crawl,
sessions for all levels, applied my breast stroke, backstroke and butterfly)
existing knowledge and skills, gained
new insights and learnt new skills, l Open water skills
enabled others to learn, laughed a
lot, gave feedback and reflected on Course pre-requisites
Keri-anne and class
feedback given to me, improved,
laughed some more, qualified as a Potential coaches must be:
coach and made lots of new friends. l At least 18 years of age, hold current membership
On graduation alongside general of STA;
CPD modules, STA open water swim l Submit a CV detailing relevant open water
goes to the heart of why this course coaches will be able to complete swimming experience; and
is so clever. It’s not about aspirant further training in specific elements of l Hold either a swimming teaching, coaching
coaches being the “finished article”, open water swimming, including long or triathlon coaching qualification.
rather, it’s about building foundations distance and cold water swimming.
However, if you don’t have the latter,
for a swimmer-led approach Similarly, the collaborative approach
to coaching (that can feel very means this qualification will also evolve there is a short pre-course online module
different to traditional “instructive” through feedback from participants, you can take instead.
teaching). What does that look like and it is that continuous learning and
in practice? Creating sessions that interactive mindset which will help More info:
enable swimmers to find solutions support an exciting future in open email
for themselves. For example, “What water swimming for us all
happens when you lift your head high
in the water?” “My legs drop.” “What
can you do to prevent that?” “Adjust coaching/
my head position”. Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 53


The cookies can be
sliced into bars or cut
into rounds, wrapped
in greaseproof paper,
stored in the pocket
of your sports bag and
devoured at the finish.
You deserve it!
Whizz it up before you head off to the
POST-RACE race, then sip it gradually the hour
CHICKPEA COOKIES before. A fantastic combination of race
nutrients in one easy mix.
These fudgy sweet recovery nibbles will soon
have you signing up to your next challenge! INGREDIENTS INSTRUCTIONS
2 ripe bananas
120g raspberries A dd all of the
ingredients to your
1/2 cup oat flour or use 1 Preheat the oven to
350 degrees F/180 degrees C
100g raw peeled
blender/smoothie maker
and blend for a minute
regular flour
1 can of chickpeas, 2 Add all the ingredients,
except chocolate chips,
to a food processor and whizz
500 ml almond milk (or
any plant based milk)
or two until the smoothie
is nice and creamy.
drained 2 medjoul dates, Shake vigorously before
2 tbsp coconut oil for half a minute.
pitted drinking if not drinking
1/3 cup nut butter such
as peanut, almond or 3 Scrape sides and whizz
again until smooth.
2 tsp flax seeds right away.

2 tbsp maple syrup 4 Taste and sweeten
if needed.
3 to 4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract 5 Fold the chocolate chips
into the thick batter
in the processor.
1/4 tsp salt, unless your
nut butter is already
salted 6 Grease or line an 8-inch
or smaller cake pan then
transfer the batter into the pan
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda and spread it out using a spatula.
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips 7 Bake for 22 to 26 minutes
or until the centre looks set.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
or chunks

Kathy Findlay is an open water swimmer,
nutritional therapist and advanced sports
and exercise nutritional advisor providing
personalised nutritional advice and plans to
See Kathy’s Instagram account for more
recipe ideas: food4sport_

54 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


No wild swimming adventure is complete

without a tasty picnic to look forward
to. Nutritionist Kathy Findlay has put
together three easy and portable recipes
for you to take with you on your swims
A superb pre-race snack
to give you a boost. Wrap
in cling film and enjoy

2 cups oats
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup peanut butter or any other
nut butter
1/3 cup honey or agave/maple syrup
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 Measure out
all ingredients.

2 Put oats and almond

flour in a bowl.

3 In a small saucepan,
add all the other ingredients
and warm until everything
is melted and mixed well.

4 Use a whisk to slowly

mix then pour the wet
ingredients into the
dry ingredients.

5 Mix together to form

a thick paste.

6 Transfer the mix into

a 9×9 pan and press
down to spread uniformly.

7 Refrigerate for at least

1 hour but preferably

8 With a biscuit cutter or

upside down glass, cut into
circular medal shapes. Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 55


WEST COUNTRY WATERPARK, The Lake, Trench Lane, Winterbourne, Bristol, BS36 1RY ○ Tel: 078111 08587 ○ Email:
○ Lake for hire ○ Easy access of M4/M5 junction
● 11 acres of clean open water ● Daily and annual memberships
● 4.6 ft deep ● Long-distance training
● Open 7 days (ring in for Mondays) ● Clubs and individuals welcome
● 600m loops

l Located in Reading (just off M4 jct 11)

l Cater for all abilities
l Host lake for MST events
l Group & 1:1 coaching
l On site retail store
l Wetsuit fitting service
l Orca, Huub and blueseventy

Contact details: Tel: 0118 933 2761 or 07917 666 888 email:


Open Water Swimming at its finest

n 500 and 1000 metre course
n RLSS Qualified Staff
n‘Cake on the Lake’ Vintage Café
n Mailsports Swim Specialist pop up shop
n NOWCA Safety Management System
n Just off J13 M25 (B376 Wraysbury)

07762 744736 | |

To advertise here please contact:
Sharon Tice, Advertising & Partnerships
Tel: +44 (0)7947148422

56 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


ZONE In association with

58 Albania 62 North Wales H2OPEN | JUNE/JULY 2016 57

John Weller and
Lola Cusán find
themselves mixed
up in an Albanian
swimming caper

here’s a buzz of excitement
at the beach, where we’re
presented with a comically
large buoy to tie around our
waists. I gaze across the bay at the
Islands of Ksamil. The Ionian sea is The sea was
translucent, sunlight bounces off the warm and
schools of sparkling fish. Sea fishing welcoming
was considered bourgeois and banned
under the Albanian leader Hoxha’s
regime; anti-revolutionary.
AOWS is the brainchild of Italian
WHERE AND WHY ALBANIA? swimmer Simona Bertino and
We’ve had a long fascination with this ex-professional Albanian football
secret country that closed its borders player, Sajmir Rica. The couple met
to the world in 1944.You have to be a eight years ago in Turin, where
little intrigued by a former communist they studied sport at university.
country which has comedian Norman According to Simona: “We created
Wisdom as one of its national heroes. this event to meet people from
Our obsession with swimming is an different cultures, to share our
open secret. Albania is on the Balkan love of Albania and promote
Peninsula in south-eastern Europe.
In other words, turn left at Italy. We
swimming to young Albanians.
This is difficult, families here
Wetsuit racer
discover the website of Albania Open are poor. The sea is wonderful,
Water Swimming (AOWS), who are but few Albanian children
hosting the 3° Trophy Ksamil Island can swim. People compete
Race in June. ‘A race for everyone in the from Kosovo, Macedonia, Italy,
country of eagles.’ Three distances are Turkey and Moldova. Finishing times
on offer: short; medium; and big. are unimportant – it’s essential that
everyone meets diverse people of other
nationalities and we realise cultural
differences are beautiful and we’re all

Spring is spent training at Parliament
Hill Fields Lido. We’re set to pull off Smiles at the finish line
our big swim in Albania. Our curiosity
in the country fuelled by the novels of
Ismail Kadare. We arrive in Albania
via trains, planes and a pretty boat, swimming pool’. Our room, however,
disembarking at the port of Sarandë, boasts a balcony with panoramic view
the Monte Carlo of the Albanian of the bay and the islands.
Riviera. We take a short cab ride to The race starts at the beach, swim
Ksamil, check in at Hotel Luxury. It clockwise between the two islands and
appears that ‘luxury’ is Albanian for ‘no return to the finish. A smash and grab

58 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer




raid for those doing 2km like Lola, a up. The wind picks up as I approach Swimmers from Kosovo,
competitive open water novice. I’ve the island and sighting gets difficult in Macedonia, Italy, Turkey
opted for 6km. We have fun listening the waves. Keep going straight, neither and Moldova took part
to the Italians trying to say ‘buoy’ to the right nor to the left, I remind
(boowoy). They are confused when myself. I bask in the freedom of open
we tell them it’s pronounced ‘boy’. water swimming; no lengths to count
Hopefully, I’m about to put months of so I sing Walk On the Wild Side.
training into effect. Swim three times ‘Candy came from out on the island’.
round the island, what could be easier? Between the tiny islands lies a
Those of us taking part in the 6km narrow strip of pebbly beach which
race start first. The sea is warm and we must cross. The stones dig sharply
welcoming. I ebb into a steady rhythm, into the soles of my feet, reminding
the Moldovans and Italians sprint me of my mammalian evolution.
ahead, I try to make an effort to keep My return to the sea affirms that I’m ➜ Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 59

➜ happier in the water. The Moldovans

and Italians are long gone; they went
that-away. The other 6km swimmers
bring up the rear. The faster 2km and
4km swimmers begin to overtake me,
I’m grateful for their brief, if fickle,
company. One island and a sixth of the
race accomplished. I’m starting to enjoy
myself. The sea is calmer on the other
side of the island. A fellow swimmer
incurs my displeasure by constantly
swimming directly in front of me. I
put my foot down and lose him by the
time I reach the island for the second
time. So far so good. I can do this. As
I approach the beach for the second Big buoys
time, the two-lap 4km swimmers head kept
for home and glory. I turn and head swimmers
back to the island for my third and final visible
lap. I can see no other 6km swimmers
ahead or behind me and suddenly feel
very alone.

HUMBLED AND PRIVILEGED Curica, 39, an English teacher, tells us:

Corfu hovers and shimmers in the “We’re here for the second time, Ksamil
distance. I recollect stories of Albanians is the Seychelles of Albania. I had no
who attempted to swim to the Greek expectations but have found that it’s
island to escape the brutal dictatorship. a really relaxing place. The Albanians
Unaccounted numbers drowned, don’t try to take advantage of us. We
many were run down by patrol boats. feel the simplicity and welcome – that’s
Hopefully a good many successfully what makes the experience, not just the
made the crossing. I feel humbled place but the people.” Carlos reflects:
and privileged to take part “It’s not what you do in your Lola and the island
in this event; just for life, it’s the memories
fun. My life doesn’t you take with you.”
depend on finishing Sergio Bevacyka,
this race. 42, from Moldova,
I cut across the IT’S NOT WHAT who came second More info
beach between
the islands for YOU DO IN YOUR
in the 4km
race, says this
What to expect in
the last time, LIFE, IT’S THE is his first time southern Albania:
and get my in Albania: “I warm hospitality; Greek
skates on for MEMORIES YOU prefer racing salad; highest number
the crowning of sunny days in Europe;
leg of the swim.
TAKE WITH YOU in open water
because there is spectacular sunsets;
A moment of panic: more resistance. I Mediterranean food;
have I miscounted my hope to come next year unspoiled beaches; delicious
laps? I make short work of and try the 6km. I like the seafood risottos and
the final stretch of the race and I’m place, the people, the sea. I like to spaghettis; respect towards
greeted with loud cheers as I clamber meet other nationalities. This event women; unfinished buildings.
back up the beach and cross the line. A has been organised well – promoting
long and celebratory award ceremony
takes place where I win a medal for the
friendship rather than competition.”
We have the honour of meeting Nesrin
Don’t expect:
fastest in my age category. There’s an Olgun Arslan. In 1979 she became stag/hen parties; hotel with
incredible atmosphere. Flags of many the first Turkish woman to swim the swimming pool.
countries are waved triumphantly. We English Channel: “I had great fun. The
didn’t bring one. Taking part in this challenging part was the path between Further information
event was never a question of prestige. the two islands. The best thing was to albaniaopenwaterswim.
Over lunch in the Castle Restaurant, meet with new friends from all over the
overlooking the bay, we discuss all world.” We discuss swimming to Corfu
things swimming with our fellow next year. “Hang on, Lola. I’ve got a albaniaopenwaterswimming
competitors. The largest team, 26 great idea.”
members, are from Rome. Adriana

60 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer




MARCH 23 - 29 2019

Join us to explore the

soft coral capital
of the world. Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 61

BIG BALA TRIP Combining an organised event with some wild
swimming is the recipe for a perfect weekend,
finds Jonathan Cowie

Our Ed,
Jonny, gets
wild and

Walking to the st Enjoying the Big Bala
train Swim
62 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer

e saw the headlights
of the car before it
rounded the corner.
As it sped towards us
we pressed ourselves into the hedge
by the side of the road. I clutched my
bag of beers to my side and cursed the
“You’ll be fine,” said the barmaid
in the Plas Yn Dre pub. “There is a
footpath all the way alongside the road
to Glan-llyn.”
Except there wasn’t.
Walking back from Bala at midnight
hadn’t been our plan, but with the only
two taxis in the town busy ferrying
people to a Stereophonics gig in
Wrexham, we had little choice.
Luckily Katie had a head torch,
I had beer and Emily had stocked
up on snacks from the Co-Op. So
we set off on the hour walk to our
accommodation for the weekend, the
Glan-llyn Adventure Centre.
The footpath came to an end a few
hundred metres from the gateway to
Glan-llyn. We navigated the narrow
country road, walking single file
through the darkness. Luckily only one
car passed us before we reached the
safety of the driveway.
Giddy with adrenaline, we threaded
our way through the outbuildings of
the deserted adventure centre. No time
for ten pin bowling or bouldering, we
rushed down to the water’s edge and
stripped off. By the light of a silvery
moon, our three moons gently bobbed
in the water as we swam out past the
jetty and into the open water of the

We were in north Wales for the Big
Bala Swim, a new swim in Love
SwimRun’s roster of swimrun and
open water swimming events. Three
distances were on offer: 1500m, 4.5km
and 9km. We had all chosen the 4.5km
for one reason only: the chance to
travel to the swim start on a miniature
steam train. (The 1500m and 9km
start and finish at the Bala end of Llyn
Tegid, whereas the 4.5km is a straight
length of the lake, from train station
back to Bala.)
All aboard, the train journey was
the perfect opportunity to chat to
fellow swimmers and got the swim off
to a fun and friendly start. We chatted
to some local wetsuited swimmers
All aboard! tackling 4.5km for the first time,
who were in awe of the lady sat next ➜ Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 63

➜ to us in our carriage armed only with

her swimming costume and a tow float
ready to swim the distance skins. All
were excited about the swim.
After disembarking at the far end
of the lake there was time for a short
acclimatisation swim before the race
started in a very polite fashion. Faster
swimmers were encouraged to start
first, queueing up to enter the water
over a timing mat. Once in the water
I immediately found clear water as I
swam across the lake to a large orange
buoy. Reach the buoy, turn right
and swim back to Bala. No washing
machine start, no complicated sighting
and no laps to count – simple! There
is something very satisfying about
swimming the length of a lake – just
point yourself in the right direction and
swim. THERE IS
It was so simple a swim that I didn’t Determined to make the most of our
even miss the finish line, which is my weekend, after the swim we retired to

usual trick. As I staggered out of the a nearby café to plan the rest of the SWIMMING THE LLYN CAU
water I heard over the tannoy: “Here break before the medal ceremony got The next day,
comes a Power Ranger!” Teach me to underway. Fortified by coffee and cake LENGTH OF A after surviving
wear my fancy wetsuit… we decided on our wild swimming LAKE our midnight
I finished in seventh place, just 0.5 spots before heading back to race HQ walk from Bala and
of a second behind sixth place! Emily for the medal ceremony. As well as a seemingly haunted
was close behind me in tenth place. As being tenth overall, Emily was also toilet that kept us awake
we waited for Katie we feasted on Party awarded second lady in the wetsuit by flushing itself all night, we drove
Rings and applauded the swimmers category. to the foot of Cadair Idris and our
as they exited the water. It had been second wild swim spot – Llyn Cau,
a lovely swim – a really friendly BLUE LAKE a glacial cwm in the crater of Cadair
atmosphere at the start and finish, The Blue Lake is one of Snowdonia’s Idris. From the car park the lake is
simple course to follow and not so busy hidden gems. A secret lake reached by an hour’s walk up a very steep path
in the water that you felt your space a disused quarry tunnel… it sounded through trees before it levels out to
encroached on. Safety cover was great, like something out of the Famous Five. rise gently up to the cwm. Set beneath
I had a kayaker close by at all times. We parked in Fairbourne and followed towering mountain walls, the dramatic
Plus, the lake water tasted delicious and a path up a steep hill, under rock arches setting makes for a breath-taking
if you stopped to look while swimming and past a wall of slate, winding our swim. There are numerous safe entry
the views of the surrounding hills were way up towards the quarry. After about and exit points and the lake is large
stunning. a 15-minute walk we reached a plateau enough for a decent swim, especially
littered with industrial relics. The Blue if you circumnavigate the lake as one
Lake is part of the Goleuwern Slate swimmer was when we arrived.
Quarry, which opened in 1867 and We estimated the water to be around
operated until 1920. But how to find 12 degrees and we stayed in long
the lake? enough to get some nice shivers when
We wandered round the plateau we were drinking our post-swim tea
looking for a tunnel. Below us, the and eating homemade flapjack.
sands of Barmouth glimmered in the Llyn Cau was a definite highlight
sunshine. And then we saw a low and of the weekend and left us wishing
dark mine tunnel leading into the rock. we had more time to explore the
We stooped and walked towards the area’s swimming spots. Combining
light at the other end. We exited on the an organised event with a weekend
edge of a rock amphitheatre cradling of wild swimming made for a perfect
a vivid blue pool. We couldn’t wait to trip – the adrenaline rush and sense of
dive in! achievement from taking part in the
Smiles and shivers! We dived off rocks and took race combined with the freedom of
underwater photos. The water was cool wild swimming was a total reset from
and clear and a welcome relief from the the pressures of everyday life

64 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer



SEPT 29 - OCT 5 2018

Join guest coach

swimming at

Ray Gibbs for an

the Blue Lake

intensive week of
technique coaching in
both the pool and in the
crystal clear Balearic Sea.
Leave with a clear
understanding of how to
improve your technique
at home over winter.

Name: Big Bala Swim
Date: 2 June 2018
Distances: 1.5km, 4.5km, 9km
Wetsuit policy: wetsuits optional.
Separate result categories
Tow floats: not compulsory
Water type: freshwater
Water temperature: expect
between 13°C and 16°C 
Next event : 1 June 2019
More info: Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 65


“I’m incredibly proud of this STA qualification &

I can’t wait to get more coaches coaching
open water swimming.”
Keri-anne Payne, Olympic Silver Medalist &
Double world champion for the
10km open water.

Be empowered and share your passion for

open water swimming with STA’s new Level 2
Open Water Swimming Coaching Qualification






Also supported by: British Long Distance Swimming Association,

Channel Swimming Association, International Ice Swimming Association

68 Great North Swimrun 70 Against the Stream
72 BEST Fest 74 Event listings
Credit: Daniel Quinn PhotoQuintessence H2OPEN | JUNE/JULY 2016 67

Simon Griffiths that they describe as “short”, “middle”
and “endurance”. They proved popular
tackles his longest enough to repeat, and it’s easy to see
why. Windermere and the surrounding
swimrun to date fells are ideal terrain for swimrun

events. The Great North Swimrun uses
liding across Windermere a similar format to the original Ötillö
for the first stretch of the and subsequently adopted by other
Great North SwimRun organisers. You swim in your running
has to rank as one of my shoes and run in your wetsuit. It’s a
favourite ever swimming experiences. team event and you have to stay within
You’d struggle to create more perfect 10m of your partner throughout and
conditions for an outdoor swim. The there are multiple transitions between
water temperature was a comfortable swimming and running.
19 degrees and the surface mirror
flat. The views in all directions were STUNNING VIEWS
spectacular. And, as this was the start I was taking part in the middle
Simon and of a challenging swimrun, the pace was distance, which features a total of
his teammate relaxed and smooth. 3.34km of swimming and 20.6km of
Chris Freeman The organisers of the Great North running – my longest swimrun to date.
Swim introduced swimrun to the This consisted of five swims and four
programme in 2017 with three options runs, and it was my first swimrun event

68 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


that both started and finished with a of three more swims and two short
swim, which I really liked. runs. Although the final run was
After crossing Windermere east mostly flat, my legs almost gave up 630M 2.3K
to west, we exited near Wray Castle on me and I was forced to walk in
and began the first run section of places, while anxiously looking over SWIM 3
5.7km heading south along a wooded my shoulder. We were in second 450M
lakeside trail. Apart from an initial place but didn’t know how far SWIM 5
climb towards the castle followed by a behind the third placed team
descent back to the water, this section was. By this stage I was able to
was largely flat. Every turn brought swim faster than I could run SWIM 1 START
new and stunning views across the so I was grateful that the final 1170M
lake while the trees provided welcome stage was a 760m swim from Low
shade from the sun. Wood Bay back to race HQ at the
Brockhole Lake District Visitor

SPLASH ALONG THE SHORE Centre. As soon as we were
The second swim, back in in the water I knew we’d

Windermere, was just a short 330m be able to hold onto our
splash along the shore, but enough position.

to cool down ahead of what I viewed The final swim was easily the

as the make-or-break section hardest, but not because of
of the event, an 11.1km exhaustion. The wind

run that took us back had picked up by this SWIM

to Wray Castle then stage so the water RUN
up into the hills was no longer flat RUN 2 RUN 1
around Blelham THE BEAUTIFUL calm. Also, we 11.1K 5.7K
Tarn. If I could joined a section
get through SURROUNDINGS of the Great
this, I was pretty KEPT MY MIND Swim. Whereas
confident I could on previous swim SWIM 2
finish. My lack OFF THE FATIGUE sections it felt 330M
of running fitness
and training began
IN MY LEGS like we’d had the
lake to ourselves,

to bite about half way we now had to share
through, especially on the with hundreds of other

climbs. Luckily, the beautiful swimmers, and this made
surroundings kept my mind off the staying within the required 10m of
fatigue in my legs and, once we’d my race partner difficult as we wove
reached the 7km point, I knew most between them. Never mind. It’s a
of the rest was downhill and I’d be minor complaint and barely detracted
rewarded with another swim. from what was a fabulous and well
The final part of the race consisted organised event SWIM DETAILS
Name: Great North Swimrun
Venue: Brockhole Lake Visitor
Centre (Windermere)
Distance options
Credit: Garland illustration created by Freepik. Picute credits: Katia Vastiau

Short: Total swim = 1840m,

total run = 10.8km (3 swims, 3 runs)
Mid: Total swim = 3340m,
total run = 20.6km (5 swims, 4 runs)
Endurance: Total swim =
4040m, total run = 34.77km
(7 swims, 6 runs)
Water temp: 19 degrees in 2018.
Has been as low as 13 degrees
in previous years.
Water type: Lake
The race starts
Next event: June 2019
and finishes with Find out more:
a swim Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 69

Jet lag, sidestroke
y love for open water
swimming was
and unnecessary confirmed at a very
young age. Growing
intimacy. Susan up in Northern Ontario meant that
although the season was brief, there
Stos finds that not was no shortage of lakes. The standing
rule was I could swim until my lips
every swim is a joy turned blue and then I was forced to
pack it in for the day.
I can easily swim for several miles However, my last swim was the first All smiles
although I’m not a particularly good time my stamina abandoned me. And before the race
swimmer. But what I lack in technique man, was it miserable!
I make up for in stamina, and that has Let me backtrack a bit: four months
always seen me through. previously, in the latter hours of a

70 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


swimmers; two spectators. Another spent and bone-weary. I could barely

couple decided to join us for the lift my arms and never got any rhythm
weekend. No problem – we were going. Each breath pounded in my
told the cottage slept 10 with two chest and left me gasping.
bathrooms, one en suite, which the I reverted to my comfort stroke, the
others insisted we have. sidestroke. For those of you not born
more than 50 years ago, the bottom
BUNK BEDS arm reaches up and around, the other
The pictures online were lovely – a pulls down while the upper stacked leg
beautiful cabin in front of water. kicks in a semi-circle. Looks like
But even by the time we a horse pawing the ground
left we still could not while pulling taffy,
figure out for whom but sideways and in
the cottage would the water. When
have been ideally WHAT I LACK IN my kids’ friends
configured. TECHNIQUE I MAKE see me doing
The en suite that stroke they
bathroom was UP FOR IN STAMINA, invariably ask if
off a bedroom I’m undergoing
that housed twin
AND THAT HAS some kind of
sets of bunk beds, ALWAYS SEEN ME rehabilitation.
the walls of which Needless to say it
didn’t go all the way THROUGH is not a quick stroke.
up to the ceiling. I finished third last. My
The two other couples friend, the novice I’d been
may have had some sense of grooming, knocked it off in better
privacy but my partner and I could time. Small children beat me; even the
party, a group of us decided it was a attest that wasn’t the case. By the time women who swam with their heads
good idea to swim one of South Africa’s we left we all knew each other far more way out of the water, splashing about
annual events, the Ebenezer Mile Swim intimately than was necessary. with arms flailing were way ahead.
in Haenertsburg. I had done it with The morning of the swim and the  Will I do it again? Maybe not next
varying success several times but my weather was disobliging – 17 degrees year but bad swims are a little like
friends were neophytes. and raining, with mist wafting in and giving birth – the pain is eventually
As often happens, people dropped out. The ladies assembled in the water, forgotten
out one by one until there were two. awaiting the starting pistol only to be
She was very keen and promptly hauled out 10 minutes later because of
signed us up. Something about the date the thick fog. In after half an hour and SWIM DETAILS
vaguely registered. However, it was out again. My towel went from damp Name: Ebenezer Mile Swim
now my job to take her under my wing,
show her the ropes, demonstrate how
to dank. Our race had three false starts
before finally beginning more than an
Location: Haenertsburg, South Africa
it’s done – every cliché that you just hour late. Water type: Fresh (dam)
KNOW is going to come back to bite Distance: 1 mile, 3km
you on the bottom. Hubris, anyone? COMFORT STROKE Next event: March 2019
By the time I realised that the swim
was two days after our return from a
From the first stroke I realised I was
dead tired. Completely jet-lagged;
More info:
month-long holiday I was still thinking
it was doable, and vowed to train at The start line
public pools in Canada.

I’d forgotten how wretched Canadian
weather can be. We did venture
outdoors daily but good days were
Credit: Garland illustration created by Freepik

spent skiing and skating rather than

We flew back from Vancouver to
Heathrow overnight, a short layover in
London before another long overnight
haul to Johannesburg. I had overlooked
the 10-hour time difference, which
effectively meant losing half a day.
Initially there were to be four of
us staying in a rented cottage. Two Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 71

For a week of sea
swimming fun, head
to BESTFest. By
Simon Griffiths

he sea initially felt a little
fresher than I expected but
within a minute I’d completely
forgotten about the water
temperature and was marvelling at
its clarity and the colourful fish I
could see darting between the rocks.
I was tempted to follow them, rather
than stick with my allocated pod of
swimmers. However, I had a 3km swim
to complete and there was a large plate
of paella waiting for me at the end. You put your
left leg in...
Besides, there were plenty more fish
to see along the way and, as this was a
non-timed challenge swim, there was sessions and options for technique
no need to power through it. I settled sessions with Swim Smooth founder
into cruise mode and thoroughly Paul Newsome.
enjoyed the experience. BESTFest has always been an
international event and attracts
NATURAL FACILITIES elite level and regular
Now in its sixth year, recreational swimmers
BESTFest was
created by the
IT WAS A from around the world.
For example, part
founders of the PARTICULARLY of the Canadian
Bluewater Elite national team were
Swim Training TOUGH SWIM using BESTFest as
(BEST) Centre, THIS YEAR DUE TO a training camp.
in Colonia St We got to line up
Jordi, Mallorca. EXTREMELY ROUGH with these elite level and
BESTFest attracts elite fro
recreationa l sw im me rs m
This small town, CONDITIONS swimmers at the start
wo rld
on the southern of the 7km/10km swim around the
edge of the island, is but they raced ahead
surrounded by beautiful much too quickly to catch a
beaches and clear, inviting draft. It was a particularly tough
water. BESTFest takes full advantage swim this year due to extremely rough EARLY SEASON MILEAGE
of these natural facilities with eight conditions out on the water. I actually With water temperatures usually in
separate events ranging from 500m got seasick for the first time ever while the high teens or low 20s, BESTFest
(as part of a relay) to a full marathon swimming and decided to switch to is a brilliant opportunity to complete
distance 10k. You register and pay the 7km event rather than complete some serious early season open water
for each event separately so can do as the full 10km I’d originally planned. mileage in beautiful surroundings.
much or as little swimming as you like. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed Alternatively, you could just pick a
Visitors also have use of BEST Centre’s the first half of the swim, and was very couple of the non-timed challenge
competition standard 50m outdoor grateful to have soft warm sand to fall swims and spend the rest of the time
pool for both coached and uncoached into and sleep to recover afterwards. enjoying Colonia St Jordi. There is

72 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


Colonia Classic 1 – A 5km point to
point race parallel to the famous
and beautiful Es Trenc beach .

Round the Islands – This is a scenic
4.5km circular challenge swim
around some of the small islands
just off the coast.

Tuesday (morning)
Colonia Classic 2 – A fiercely
contested 1.5km point to point
race ending at the town’s
port beach.

Tell Me Your Time – A 2.5km looped
swim with a difference: instead of
the fastest swimmer, the winner
is the person who most closely
predicts their finish time.

Es Carbó Italian Volcano –
This non-timed 3km swim starts
with a gentle 3km walk along
the shore to Es Carbó beach.
Swimmers are split into groups

Credit: Garland illustration created by Freepik/Images: All pictures © Daniel Quinn PhotoQuintessence
according to speed and return
at their own pace to the Port
good hiking, biking and trail running
to be found in the surrounding area
too, either for yourself or if you have ACCOMMODATION Colonia Classic 3 – Initially
friends or family joining you. There are plenty of regular and budget introduced as a 7km race, demand
BESTFest usually takes place during flights to Palma de Mallorca from from swimmers meant a 10km
the late May half term week for UK the UK and Europe. From Palma, it’s option was added a few years ago.
schools. The upside of this is, if you about 30 minutes by road to Colonia
have children, they can come along St Jordi. BESTFest can organise group Friday
with you. If they are swimmers, they transfers or you can take a taxi for 220 Triathlon Corberana
could also do a training camp at BEST around 60 Euros. Car hire is an option Challenge –Half-Ironman
Centre and take part in some of the although if you are staying in Colonia and Ironman distance options
open water events. The downside of St Jordi there’s no need to have one of 1.9km and 3.8km.
the timing is that flight costs tend to there as it’s small enough to walk
everywhere. Another option is to take
be higher than at other times of the
the bus from Palma. Once in Colonia St Saturday
year. However, as you can enter each Fresh Water Relay –
event individually, there is no problem Jordi there are plenty of hotels or bed
& breakfast options to choose from, Fun 4x500m relay
to join in for just part of the week, and
this could save you a significant sum several of which offer discounts to
BESTFest participants. Find out more:
on flights Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 73



Event organisers, if your event is not Long Reach Swim

listed please email details to

4 Aspire Solent Swim (2.5 miles), Gosport,
4 Aqua Sphere Snowman Swim (1 mile, 1/2
mile), Betws-y-Coed, alwaysaimhighevents.
com, NS
4 Salty Sea Dog Long Swims (2.5km, 3.8km),
Boscombe, Bournemouth,
4 Welsh Open Water Estuary Swim (2km),
4 Dee Mile (1km, 2km), Chester, events. 12 The Big Brutal Swim (2.5km, 5km, 10km), 19 Cotswolds Swims (1.5km, 3.8km, 5km,
4 Bewl Open Water Swim Races (1.9km, Llanberis, 10km), Ashton Keynes,
3.8km), Lamberhurst, 12 BLDSA Derwentwater (2 miles, 5 miles), 19 Coniston Epic Lakes Swim (500m, 1 mile,
4 Swim to The Edge (0.8 miles, 2.5 miles), Keswick, 3.8km), Coniston,, NS
Solva, Haverfordwest, 12 Aspire River Arun Swim (4 miles), Bury, 19 Brighton Pier Open Water Swim (1.2km),
w/c 4 (date tbc) Aspire Loch Ness Relay (22 West Sussex, Brighton,
miles), Fort Augustus, Highland, 12 Dedham Vale Mill 2 Mill Swim (2.3km), swim
5 Thames Marathon (14km), Henley-on- Dedham, 19 Fritton Lake 10km Marathon Swim
Thames, 12 SwimRutland (500m, 2km, 4km, 8km), Challenge (10km), Fritton, Great Yarmouth,
5 Plymouth Breakwater Swim (2.2 miles), Whitwell, Oakham,, NS
Plymouth, 12 'Freestyle for smile' Distance Swim (1.5km), 19 Topsham to Turf Swim (1.5 miles),
11 Wargrave & Shiplake Regatta Swim (1km, Littlehampton, Topsham,
2km), Shiplake,, NS 16 MAD Open Water Series – Round 3 (250m, 23 The Big Dog & Doggy Paddle Swims
11 BLDSA Ullswater (7 miles), Glenridding, 500m, 1500m), Matlock Bath, madswimming. (1500m, 3800m), Reading,, NW, NS 23 Shepperton Open Water Night
11 St Michael's Mount Swim (1 1/2 miles), 18 Aspire Solent Swim (2.5 miles), Gosport, Swim (750m, 1.5km, 3km), Shepperton,
11 Pub2Pub Aquathon - The Smugglers' 18 Semer Water Swim (1.5km, 3km), 25 Mass Start 3 (750m, 1.5km, 3.8km, 5km),
Revenge (2.5km), Bantham, Countersett, Kempston, Bedford,
11 6.5k River Arun Swim (6.5km), Bury, West 19 The Long Reach Swim (8.3km), Wallingford, 25 Polkerris Swim Festival (1km, 2km, 3km),
Sussex, Polkerris,

74 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer



The River
Dart Swim
Run 2018
22 September, River Dart, Devon

he first Dart Swim Run brings this exciting adventure sport to the
lovely River Dart and surrounding countryside in the South West
of England. The Dart runs from Dartmoor to Dartmouth and the Name: The River
event gives you the opportunity to follow the region’s most iconic river Dart Swim Run
by land and water. The swimrun “marathon” distance consists of five Water type: River
swim sections and five run sections while the “half ” has three swims
and three runs. Both finish in the Dartington Estate. The route for
Run terrain: Trail
the Dart Swim Run also incorporates running through the Sir Walter Distances: 25.9-mile marathon
Raleigh Estate (he once sailed up and down the River Dart). and 14.5-mile half marathon
The total swim distance for the marathon is 4.45 miles and for the Long course: 5 swim sections and
half marathon 3.8 miles. This works out as a swim to run ratio of 5 run sections
roughly 1:4 for the half marathon and 1:5 for the full marathon.
Enter solo or as part of a pair, or as a relay team of up to ten. The Short course: 3 swim sections and
race is chip timed and entry includes buffet for all finishers. The race 3 run sections
is sponsored by Vivo Barefoot Shoes who are also offering their Ötillö Categories: Solo, pair or relay
Swimrun shoes as category prizes. All entrants also get a 25 per cent team
discount on the shoes.
The Dart Swim Run is part of the South West Swim Run Series, Water safety: Tow floats
including The Wild Dart Swim and Aquathlon and the Salcombe Swim compulsory (one per pair or team)
Run (SWOF). Further information:

26 Swim Your Swim Windermere (10.5 miles),

Newby Bridge,
26 Windermere Wild Swim (1500m, 5km),
Newby Bridge,
30 Shepperton Open Water Swim Race
#4 (750m, 1.5km, 3km), Shepperton,

1 Arena Chillswim Coniston 5.25 Miles End to
End (5.25 miles), Coniston Water, Cumbria,
1 Wild Dart Swim (2.5km, 5km), Totnes,
1 Team Relay Open Water Swim Race (3200m),
1 BLDSA Windermere (10.5 miles), Newby
Bridge,, NW
1 Fin Swim River Adur (5km), Shoreham-by- Chillswim Coniston
End to End
Sea,, NS
1 SwimRutland Night Swim (250m, 750m),
Whitwell, Oakham,, NS
2 Oxford Classic 1 Mile Swim (1 mile), Oxford, 15 The Big Cotswold Swim (1 mile, 2 miles), 23 Burgh Island Swim (1 mile), Bigbury-On- Shorncote, Cirencester, Sea,
2 Lyme Splash (3.15km), Lyme Regis, lyme- 15 Mass Start 4 (750m, 1.5km, 3.8km, 5km, 23 Wild Wye Swim (1km, 7km, 10.5km),, NS 10km), Bedford, Huntsham Court, Ross-on-Wye, wildwyeswim.
2 Aspire Solent Swim (2.5 miles), Gosport, 15-16 OSS Dart 10k (10km), Totnes,, NS, NS 23 Conquer the Chilterns River Swim (1.5km,
2 Windermere One Way Swim (10 miles), 15 WellWorthSwimming (1.5km, 3km), 3.0km), Henley-on-Thames,, NS
Newby Bridge, Worthing, 25 GLOW Swim (750m, 1.5km, 3km), Upper
8-9 Open Water Swimathon (1.5km, 15 Llangorse Swim (1.5km, 3km, 4.5km, 6km), Vobster, Radstock,, NS
2.5km, 5km), Multiple Locations, Llangorse, 29 The Hurly Burly (10km), Barmouth, 16 Aspire Solent Swim (2.5 miles), Gosport,
8 RNLI Around the Mount Open Water Swim 30 Exmoor Swim (2km, 4km, 6km), Dulverton,
(1 1/2 miles), Marazion,, NS 16 Weston Super Mare Open Water Series – 3 Somerset,
8 Neon Night Swim (750m, 1.5km, 3km), (1km, 2km, 3km, 5km), Clevedon, Somerset, 29-30 Aberdovey Swim (1.5km, 4km, 6km,
Salford Quays, Salford, 8km, 13km), Gwynedd,
8 6.5k River Arun Swim (6.5km), Bury, West 18 Scilly Swim Challenge - 1 Day (15km), St 30 The Fix Splash #3 (750m, 1.5km, 3km),
Sussex, Mary's, Hackney, London,, NS
9 6.5k River Arun Swim (6.5km), Bury, West 21 London City Swim (500m), Royal Victoria
Sussex, Docks, London, OCTOBER
9 Fritton Lake Big Swim (1500m, 3km, 5km), 22 Hever Castle Swim (5km, 2km, 1 mile), 5 Dip in the Dark (250m, 500m), Newby
Fritton, Great Yarmouth, Edenbridge, Bridge,
9 Looe Island Swim (1 mile), Looe, 22 Swim Serpentine (1 mile), London, 7 rgActive Swim Race (750m, 1250m, 2250m, 3200m), Richmond,
9 Buttermere Open Water Swim (5km, 10km), 22 Aspire Solent Swim (Two Way) (5 miles),
Buttermere Village,, NS Gosport, NOVEMBER
9 The Raedwald Swim (5.5 miles, 2.75 miles), 22 BLDSA Lynn Regis (1km, 1.5km, 4.5km), 7 Fireworks 500 (500m), Capernwray,
Woodbridge, Suffolk, King's Lynn,, NW
9 Great Grimsby Dock Swim Challenge (1 22 Polkerris Sea Swim (5km), Polkerris, 11 Swim to Remember (1km), Derwentwater,
mile, 2 miles, 4 miles, 10km), Grimsby, gcyc. Lake District, 22 6.5k River Arun Swim (6.5km), Bury, West
challenge.html Sussex,
15-16 Scilly Swim Challenge - 2 Day (15km), St 23 Wild River Swim (River Cuckmere) (6km),
Mary's, Alfriston,

76 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer



Open Water
8 to 9 September, various venues

oin us for Open Water We’re also giving
Swimathon on 8 to 9 Outdoor Swimmer
September at 18 venues readers an exclusive
across the UK – the new open
water version of the UK’s biggest 25% DISCOUNT
and most popular charity swim. on your registration
Take on a challenge from 400m-5k
and at the same time raise money
fee with the code
for Cancer Research and Marie OUTDOORSWIMMER25. Take
Curie; two causes close to the the plunge and enter Open
nation’s heart. Water Swimathon today for
This is the perfect challenge
an incredible open water
for both experienced open water
swimmers and those transferring experience.
from the pool to the open water
for the first time. Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 77


4 Loch Lubnaig Swims (1km, 2km, 3km,
5.8km), Callander,
25-26 BLDSA Loch Lomond (21.6 miles),
Arrochar,, NW
18 The River Spey 10k Whisky Swim (10km),
25 Great Scottish Swim (1/2 mile, 1 mile, 2
miles, 5km, 10km), Balloch,, NS
25 YeAABA Discovery Mile (1 mile), Dundee,, NW
26 YeAABA Loch Earn (6.5 miles),
Lochearnhead,, NW
26 YeAABA Crannog Isle (1 mile),
Lochearnhead,, NW
River Spey 10k
1 Night Swim at Bardowie (500m, 750m, 1km),
Bardowie, Milngavie,
1-2 Coll to Tiree (3.7km), Caolas, Tiree,
7 Loch Ken Wild Night Swim (500m, 1km),
1 Dublin City Liffey Swim (2200m), Dublin,, NW
Parton, Castle Douglas,, NS AUGUST 8 SWIM Groomsport (1500m), Groomsport,
8 Loch Ken Wild Swim (1km, 2km, 4km), 4 Lough Erne & ILDSA National Bangor,
Parton, Castle Douglas,, NS Championships (750m, 1.5km, 5km, 10km, 8-9 Glendalough National Park Swim (750m,
8 BLDSA St Mary's Loch (1km, 3 miles, 6 17km, 25km), Enniskillen, 11.5km, 3.9km), Glendalough,
miles), Selkirk, 5 Dún Laoghaire Harbour Race (2200m), Dún
8 End to End of Loch Earn (10.8km), Laoghaire, Dublin,, NW 8 Saltees Island Swim (4km), Kilmore Quay,
Lochearnhead, 10 GLOW Night Swim (750m), Carlingford,
8 YeAABA Club Senior Championship (4 22 The Sandycove Challenge Swim (1800m),
miles), Dundee,, NW 11 Gartan Swim Challenge (300m, 750m, Kinsale,
9 YeAABA Stannergate Championship (), 1500m, 3800m), Letterkenny, on.fb.
Dundee,, NW me/1FwUHtw OCTOBER
19 River Spey 10k (10km), Kingussie, 11 Grounded Coffee Dock Morning (Dip, 750m, 6 The Great Fjord Swim (750m, 2km, 3.9km), 1500m), Newry,, NS Leenane,
22 Firth of Forth Swim (1.4 miles), 11 weeGIANT Swim (250m, 500m, 750m),
Queensferry, Edinburgh, Warrenpoint, Newry,

11 Joe McElhaw Lord and Lady of the Lake
(2.7km), Newry, UK SWIMRUN
20 Glencoe Lochan (At Night) (425m),
12 Grounded Coffee Dock Morning (Dip,
750m, 1500m), Newry,, NS
12 Michael O'Hare Championship Cup (10km),
17 Connel Falls of Lora (600m), Connel, Oban, 12 Maria Murphy Championship (5km), 10-11 Breca Buttermere, Standard (swims 6km, Newry, runs 38km), Sprint (swims 3km, runs 15km),
18 Lough Dan Races (2.5km, 5km, 10km), Buttermere, Lake District,
DECEMBER Roundwood,, NW
8 Prince’s Cairn (1.4km), Lochailort, 18 Lough Gill Swim (1km, 2km relay, 10km), SEPTEMBER Sligo, 8 Breca Jersey, Standard (swims 6.5km, runs
25 GaddinAbtGarnish (1km, 3km, 5km, 7km), 47km), Sprint (swims 4.6km, runs 14.2km),
Glengarriff, Jersey, Channel Islands,
9 As Keen As Mustard SwimRun, Mild

78 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


26 Hana Greenfield Memorial Swim (500m,

1km, 3km), Kolín, Czech Republic, bit.

2 5th Annual Crown the King (1.6km,
4km, 10km), Saskatchewan, Canada,
8 Gran Fondo Naviglio Grande (24km), Milan,
8 Oceanman Odessa (2km, 5km, 10km),
Odessa, Ukraine,
9 Open Swim Stars Toulouse (1km, 2.5km,
5km), Toulouse, France,
15 VII Copa Marnaton eDreams – Cadaqués
(2.5km, 4.5km, 6.5km), Cadaqués, Gerona,
18-22 Five Islands Swims (27km), Upolu,
Hokey Cokey WSM,
22-23 Prom'Swim Traversée de Nice à la Nage
(500m, 1km, 2km, 5km, 10km), Nice, France,
Mustard Sprint, 10k Solo Swimrun (1.8k swim,
8.2k run),Middling Mustard Half 21k Solo and SWIM AROUND 19-23 Gran Fondo Bocche Bonifacio
(15km), Santa Tersa Gallura, Sardinia, Italy,
Middling Mustard Half 21k Team Swimruns
(4.2km swim, 16.8km run), Peterborough,
22-23 Cruce Golfo Dulce 2018 (1.5km, 5km,
14km, 21km), Puerto Jiménez, Puntarenas,
16 Lock to Lock SwimRun, Half stump (swim AUGUST Costa Rica,
1.2km, run 7km); Full stump (swims 3.8km, 2-4 Samoa Swim Series (3 swims in 3 days), 23 TRB Caldes d’Estrac (1,5km, 4,0km), Caldes
runs 13.45km), Eynsham, Oxfordshire, Savai'i, WSM, d’Estrac, Barcelona, Spain, 5 Oceanman Cozumel (1.5km, 5km, 10km), 29 Alcatraz Invitational (1.27 miles), San
22 The River Dart Swimrun, marathon (25.9 Cozumel, MEX, Francisco, California, USA,
miles – 5 swims, 5 runs), half-marathon 5 Open Swim Stars Douarnenez (1km, 2.5km, invitational/
(14.5 miles – 3 swims, 3 runs), Dartmouth, 5km), Douarnenez, France, 30 17th Annual La Jolla Cove 10 Mile event/dart-swim-run/ 11 2nd Annual Swim for Kids (1.5, 3km), Relay (10 miles), La Jolla, California, USA,
23 SLSC Swimrun 2 (swims 1km; runs 8.8km), Kingston, Ontario, Canada,
Tooting, London, 11 Vidösternsimmet (21+km, 6km, 0.5km),
29 Breca Loch Gu Loch, Standard (swims Värnamo, Sweden, OCTOBER
7km, runs 49.5km), Sprint (swims 2.7km, runs 11-19 NEK Swim Week (9 days, 8 lakes, 6 Spetses Mini Marathon (3km, 5km), Spetses,
15.8km), Loch Ness, Scotland, 46 miles, 4 marathons), Vermont, USA, Attica, Greece,
29 Love SwimRun Holy Island (swims 21 Oceanman Benidorm (2km, 5.5km, 10km),
2.74km, runs 15.61km), Rhoscolyn, kingdom/ Benidorm, Spain,
Anglesey, North Wales, 18 Against the Tide - Brewster (1/2 mile, 1
loveswimrunholyisland mile), Massachusetts, USA, NOVEMBER
cancer-prevention/against-the-tide 7-11 Barbados Open Water Festival (1.5km,
OCTOBER 25 Chateau de Chantilly Swim (5km, 2km, 1 mile), 3.3km, 5km, 10km), Carlisle Bay, Bridgetown,
5-6 Breca Coniston (swims 5km, runs 38km), Chantilly, France, Barbados,
Coniston, Lake District, 25 TrygFonden Copenhagen Swim
7 SwimRun Fritton Lake (swims 1800m, runs (Christiansborg Rundt) (2km, 4.5km relay), List of events compiled by
8.2km), Great Yarmouth, Copenhagen, Denmark, All UK & Ireland events are regularly updated at
25 Gran Fondo Sanremo (15km), Sanremo, and can also be accessed
Italy, using the related Android app.
26 Rondje Pampus (900m, 1800m, 2700m), NW = No Wetsuits Allowed
Amsterdam, Netherlands, NS = No Skins Allowed (Wetsuits Compulsory)
zwemevent/ Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 79




Look good in and out of the water

Red Paddle Board Company Red Paddle Board Company Finisterre Julbo
Women’s Paddle On T-shirt Renegade sunglasses
Men’s Paddle On T-shirt (grey) Jellyfish Artists Tee
(white) €140
£22.00 Sizes S-XL £65 Sizes S-XL
£22.00 Sizes 8-14 You need a sturdy pair of sunnies for
Good quality t-shirt with watery Nice cut and smart design. 100%
100% organic cotton. Cool design outdoor adventures but these look
theme. Perfect for hanging out in by organic cotton. The illustration is by
and flattering fit. Great with jeans or good wherever you are. Polarised
the river on hot summer days. Jonas Claesson.
shorts. lenses cut reflected glare off water for
when you are by lake, river or sea. I also
wore them for fell running and they
didn’t fall off. Greatness.

Outdoor Swimming Society Finisterre Finisterre Finisterre

Baltic Women’s Sweat Men’s Vox Board Shorts Men’s Transom Shorts Men’s Argo Boxer Shorts
£40.00 Sizes S-XL £85 Sizes 30-38 £65 Sizes30-38 £30 Sizes S-XXL
100% organic cotton. A slim fit, non- Made from a 100% recycled Love these. Cool design and they are Made with 50% Merino wool and
bulky and versatile top. Love the logo micro-ripstop polyester, with 25cm secretly swim shorts – so if you find 50% natural fibre blend these
and cut. Easy to throw on, sitting on the comfortable seam-free inner leg and yourself without trunks you can swim are super soft and comfy as well
beach watching the sun go down. drawcord adjustable waist. Like the in them too! Made from 100% post- as being breathable and naturally inner pocket. Breathable, wicking consumer recycled materials, and 10% antibacterial.
material. of profit donated to Surfers Against

80 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


This month we seek out

the best in swim style
COZZIES for life in and out of the
Ladies’ swimming costumes and bikinis water. With Finisterre’s
micro plastic
collection, Davy J’s
closed loop recycling
ambitions, the launch
of Zoggs Ecolast range,
alongside Deakin
and Blue’s use of eco
fabrics, we are seeing a
much welcome race to
the top in sustainable
swim fashion, for a
variety of shapes and
Deakin and Blue Deakin and Blue Deakin and Blue sizes. And it’s not just
Essential Swimsuit Signature Swimsuit High Waister Swim Bikini about looking good,
£95 Sizes 8-18 £105 Sizes 8-20 £95 Sizes 8-16 but also looking at,
New flattering design, with lower Now available in new range of colours First time wearing a bikini. Amazing
neck line and mesh-free tummy. Just a and updated fabric. Excellent support. boost to my confidence as very
beautiful things as we
hint of cleavage. I’ve lost count of the Great in the pool, sea swimming (did a flattering fit and great support. Top dip our toes into the
number of people who ask me where 1 hour sea swim at 12 degrees in it) and feels like a really good sports bra. world of swim art.
my cozzie is from. even in an ice bath!

Decathlon Decathlon Davy J

Swimsuit Lidia Tucan Swimsuit Lidia Vib The Bikini Top (£95) Sizes 22-34
£9.99 Sizes 30-40 £19.99 Sizes 8-18 Briefs (£55) Sizes 8-14
Love it. Fun, funky and I’ve worn it to
Modest cut, yet versatile suit. Great I don’t normally wear this more beach/
swim training and under my wetstuit.
value. surf style of bikini, but as soon as I put it on it just felt amazing. I love the
super sporty style! This is an excellent
beach/surf/activity bikini. Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 81



Zoggs Zoggs Zoggs Zoggs

Women’s Batman Sprintback Latino Love Hi Front Breeze Muscle two piece bikini Flower Power Triback Swimsuit
£30 Sizes 8-18 £38 Sizes 8-18 set £40 Sizes 6-16
Love it. Genuinely did a PB on 100 reps Unlike other high front designs, the £40 Sizes 6-14 Bold design, comfy fit and quick
in this at swim training – so I really did neck fastener on this means it fits well, Comfy and supportive. The top is drying. A nice all-rounder. From the
feel like a super heroine! even over a larger bust and provides great and love the briefs – they’re not new eco-friendly Ecolast range.
some support. Very flattering on a too brief, but just right! From the new
curvy figure. Zoggs Ecolast range, the fabric is made
from plastic waste material recycled
from the ocean.

Zoggs Zoggs Finisterre Finisterre

Tassles Triback Swimsuit Saber Starback Swimsuit True North Women’s Long True North Arena Swimsuit MPA
£40 Sizes 6-16 £40 Sizes 6-16 Sleeve Swimsuit Navy/Stripe Print
Versatile front lined swimsuit. Nice Front lined. The maximum cutaway £110 Sizes 8-16 £95 Sizes 8-16
free shoulder movement. Made witb design is not my usual choice but Fitted active surf style with a hint of Long enough in the body not to ride up
eco-friendly Ecolast fabric. turned out to be an excellent fit for retro in the cut and high waist. Zip back. over the bottom and very comfortable
my curves. Felt great in the water Very comfortable when swimming. straps that allow ease of movement.
and the back design gave freedom in White material covering nipples is Feels great in the water. Has moulded
the shoulder. From the eco-friendly always something to be aware of if in cups which isn’t everyone’s thing. Great
Ecolast range. cold water. colour and design.

82 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


Men’s swimming costumes

Finisterre Funkita Zoggs Zoggs

Women’s Swim Leggings Form Ladies’ Ruched One-Piece Batman Jammer Wall Art Jett Jammer
£65 Sizes 8-16 Midnight Marble £34 Sizes 30-34 £36.00 Sizes 28–38
For when you need a little extra £80 Sizes 10-22 Always be yourself. Unless you can Dare to swim loud! Funky all-over
protection from sun or wind in the Very pretty costumes, the black panels be Batman. Then always be Batman. print with contrast draw-cord. Lined
water, ideal for surf, SUP or swim are flattering and they feel good. I love these fun jammers with big at front for modesty. At first I wasn’t
– these are beautiful, comfortable Adjustable straps. Great for leisure Batman logo on the leg. Swim like a sure of this print but it looks good on
and thoughtfully designed. Can be swimming. And they provide a LOT of super hero! Come up slightly smaller and the jammers are made to last with
matched with other kit in the range. support – almost as good as wearing a than standard Zoggs sizes. Aqualast fabric. sports bra.

Funkita Zoggs Decathlon

Funkita Checker Jett Jammer Jammer 900 First
Form Ladies’ Ruched One-Piece Crack Attack Two Piece
Top £21.95 Briefs £21.95 £36 Sizes 28-36 £16.99 Size 30-42
Brush Strokes Decathlon continue to impress with
£80 Sizes 10-22 Sizes 8-14 New in the Zoggs eco-friendly Ecolast
This ticks all the boxes. Firm fitting range, these jammers are made from their good-value range of swimwear.
Loved the sculpted fit, felt it was
crop to and racer back and hipster plastic waste material recycled from These jammers feature mesh-covered
flattering and gave me a better shape
sports brief with draw cord. It stays the ocean. Great fit and front-lined for orange detail on the sides. Sizing comes
in a swimsuit than I’ve ever had before
put and the colours don’t fade. The size comfort and modesty. Love the pattern. up quite small – I am a 32” but the M-L
and most support.
12 fitted well on a broad back. More size was quite snug.
well-endowed swimmers might need
to go up a size. Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 83



Men’s swimming costumes Goggle anti-fog and ear drops

Funky Trunks Funky Trunks Earol Swim Zybax swim

Angry Ram Trunks Tropic Team Trunks £9.25 £6.99
£22.95 Sizes XS-XL £25.95 Sizes XS-XL Tea tree oil that prevents water Swimwear cleaner and odour
Perfect for a red mist set! Great new Another eye-catching new design trapping in the ears. eliminator.
design from Funky Trunks. Pouch from Funky Trunks. Nice detail of
front is more flattering than the contrast pink lining. Trusted open
flat-fronted briefs. Really sturdy, well- water favourites that also look cool
made trunks. on the beach.

Decathlon Decathlon TUSA Swim Eze

Trunk Vib Trunk Tucan £7.99 £7.40
£9.99 Size 30-40 £9.99 Size 30-40 Super anti fog for diving masks and Clears trapped ear water.
A bit like a magic eye print, these Another fun design from Decathlon – goggles.
fully-lined trunks are a bargain at £9.99. these have a toucan on the bum. Fully
Sizing came up quite small. lined and great value.

84 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


A selection of artwork by our favourite swimming artists

Jenny Shah
“When I’m doing my lengths at the lido I feel I
am swimming through one of my paintings, the
two activities are very interlinked.” 
Artist Jenny Shah has been painting swimmers
at Bristol Lido for the last six years. For her the
Lido is an urban oasis, an inspiring place to
relax, work, and catch up on the latest gossip in
the sauna. The café offers a poolside view, perfect
for sketching and studying the way the light
changes the blue tiled pool and the interaction of
swimmer and water.
Jenny’s latest project ‘Hats and Goggles’ is
her first series of portraits which she hopes will
encourage fellow lido and outdoor swimming
enthusiasts to send in their swimming selfies for
a commission based portrait.
General painting prices range from £250-
£1200. Portraits start at £300 depending on size.

Alice Goodridge
Alice Goodridge is an illustrator and
open water swimmer based in the
Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish
Highlands. She loves swimming in lochs
and rivers, wandering through ancient
woodland, climbing mountains, wild
camping and riding her horse through
remote landscapes.
Alice has a background in
environmental research and a passion
for illustration and printmaking. Her
artwork focuses on nature, wildlife,
swimming and adventure. Alice also
creates monthly illustrations for Outdoor
Swimmer Magazine’s regular “Wildlife
and Swimming” page.
Prints of any image can be purchased,
with prices starting at £45 for an
unframed A4 image. Alice is happy to
take on commissions large or small.
Contact her for more information. Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 85


Dermot Flynn
Born on the northside of Dublin,
Dermot studied at the NCAD and the
University of Brighton. Represented
by the Dutch Uncle agency in
London, his illustration work has won
numerous awards; among them the
2002 Macmillan Prize for Children’s
Book Illustration and a Silver Lion at
the Cannes Advertising Festival.
A club swimmer from an early age,
Dermot got back into the pool about
10 years ago after joining Out to
Swim, and since then has competed in
masters meets and open water events
all over Europe. He also managed to
add ‘intercontinental swimmer’ to his
swimming resumé after swimming
the Hellespont – the strait of water
between Europe and Asia – in 2013.
He can most often be found in
Brockwell Lido of an early morning
getting his lengths in.
Limited edition prints of Dermot’s
work are available to buy online from
his website.

Sam Mould 
“Over the last few years I’ve spent
much more time working outdoors
with swimmers and it has inspired
me to engage in my own quests to
solo swim the English Channel or
chase swimming all the tarns in the
Lake District. These a(rt)dventures,
the training expeditions in the sea, a
love of landscape environments and
meeting people are at the core of my
Sam works as a swim guide
for SwimQuest, is a qualified
physiotherapist and independent
artist, writer and illustrator. She
primarily works with watercolours to
paint bespoke illustrations, which are
produce into limited edition prints,
cards and postcards.
 Cards start at £1.50, A4 prints £50,
A3 prints £90, A2 prints £140.
Illustration: sam-mould-illustration.
Fine Art:

86 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer


Nancy Farmer
“I got into open water swimming, and then I got into
winter swimming. And the fact of swimming in near
freezing winter temperatures seemed something fit as
a subject for artwork. One thing led to another and
swimmers have become my subject for artwork generally.
Both the beauty of the human form moving through
water, and the humour of the same forms bundled up,
shivering and eating cake afterwards. These make for
different types of artwork, but they are all drawn from
the same well of inspiration.
“What I do: paintings, digital drawings and design
work including swimming hats.
“My drawings tell stories of my own particular swims,
and of other peoples’. I’ve composed scenes of peoples’
memorable events from channel crossings to quiet
swims in a favourite lake. My paintings are underwater
‘portraits’ of the swimmer in motion.
“My shop has a range of paintings, prints, cards
and swim caps already available, I also undertake
commissions if you have something in particular you’d
Price range: commissions usually from £90 upwards
for drawings, £350 upwards for paintings. Ready-made
items in the shop include miniature paintings from £40,
prints from £16.
Online shop:

Susie Helm
Susie Helm studied painting at the
Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Arts
and went on to teach art in schools and
in community education. She works now
as a painter at her studio in Oxfordshire
using mixed media to depict swimmers,
landscape and plants.
Susie has always loved swimming and
enjoys the experience of looking through
diffuse light at underwater shapes such
as waving kelp and marine life. The
paintings often take a viewpoint from
below a group of swimmers and are an
amalgamation of moments and places;
an attempt to capture the feeling of being
surrounded by water. There is a degree
of abstraction but the figures remain
Original paintings start at £300. Digital
prints are also available at £45 framed.
Unframed prints and greetings cards of
swimmers are available in a variety of
sizes. Details on the website. Outdoor Swimmer | AUGUST 2018 87


Everything is drawn to the infinite
possibilities of the ocean. By Pete Kelly

wimming in a green and tidal pools of Bamburgh beach were
glittering tarn yesterday, where Dad helped us to overcome that
soaking up the warmth of the fear with gentle encouragement and
sun, I was taken by how much teaching.
this small body of water was part of the
earth. Reamed out of the fell by glaciers HALCYON DAYS
and hemmed in by moraine, at water Now I have only to get a whiff
level the tarn seems an extension of its of the salt and I am taken back
surroundings. The earthy smell of the to those halcyon days. Today I
cirque and the clean mineral taste of decide to explore the Cumbrian
the water reinforce the illusion. Then coast in search of golden sands
the sharp call of a gull overhead stole and blue seas. To be frank, I’m
away my attention and made me think not that hopeful, my vision of our
of the sea, transporting my thoughts North West coastline is sullied
elsewhere, to another world entirely. with images of estuarial mud and
There was not a ripple on the vast tracts of quicksand. After a
water yet if I concentrated, my little exploration and map gazing
movement towards the tarn outflow however, I strike gold… not for
was perceptible. Here the water spills the first time in this wonderfully
over large cobbles before tumbling diverse county. I can hardly
down the gill, heading south through believe it, golden sands, blue
many of my regular swimming haunts, sky and a glinting, clear sea. By
taking a whole year to travel the length chance I’ve hit high tide slack
of Windermere before flowing into water, so the whole family joins
the Leven and on to Morecambe Bay. me for a swim, laughing and
Following the old ice age route to the splashing as if we were on holiday
salt and its source. on a lonely Greek island. We have
the beach to ourselves and the
NO WATER IS EVER STILL vast skies and infinite possibilities of
Gravity ensures that no water is ever the ocean make our collective mood “All of us, I believe, carry about in
still. Even the so called blind tarns soar. My swim in the tarn seems like a
with no visible inlet or outlet seep their dream I once had, I realise how much our heads places and landscapes we
crystal clear waters down the fell side,
via subterranean fissures and rills.
I have missed the sea and promise
myself to come here more often
shall never forget because we have
Everything is drawn towards the sea: experienced such intensity of life
the ultima Thule of water – sea level.
The sea was where swimming began there… By way of returning the
for me. Not just for the fun of it, but
as a child’s survival instinct when compliment, we accord these places that
faced with the terror of the incoming
tide. My father is to blame, always have given us such joy a special place
Credit: Pete Kelly, Swim the Lakes

late for the tide when crossing Holy

Island causeway on what seems now
in our memories and imaginations.
like endless summer holidays on the They live on in us, wherever we may be,
wonderful Northumberland coast. The
memory of dark skies and advancing, however far from them.”
ink black sea, already flowing over the
- Roger Deakin,
road, still makes me shiver. Fear is a
great motivator, and the more benign Sea swimming Notes From Walnut Tree Farm
88 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer
“I wanted to follow the rain on its meanderings about our land to rejoin
the sea, to break out of the frustration of a lifetime doing lengths, of
endlessly turning back on myself like a tiger pacing its cage” - Roger Deakin

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Vicki training

A harder
in the

After amputation
and a battle with
cancer Vicki Gilbert
is taking on
an English
Channel relay

n the autumn of 2016, Vicki
Gilbert took on the Aspire Vicki
Channel Swim and swam 22 “After the diagnosis I underwent three and her
miles over 12 weeks in her local pool. surgeries to remove the cancer, some youngest
An extraordinary feat, even more so lymph nodes, and to reconstruct my son Joe
considering Vicki has an above the knee breast from my abdominal tissue,” says
amputation. While studying Vicki. “Unfortunately it didn’t
at university, Vicki go quite as planned and
was diagnosed with I needed an extensive
bone cancer and skin graft from my
underwent three left thigh and more
major operations OPEN WATER surgery.” This was
to remove her in addition to
shin bone and SWIMMING CAN HELP five months of
parts of her knee. A PERSON’S MENTAL chemotherapy
The shin bone and 15 sessions
was replaced with WELLBEING IN SO of radiotherapy ‘FEEL GOOD’ FACTOR
a titanium implant. MANY WAYS treatment. Swimming has helped Vicki’s recovery
After several years The month psychologically as well as physically.
of stress fractures and after Vicki finished “Swimming has not only helped me
a lot of pain, Vicki had an radiotherapy, the Aspire regain my fitness but some of my ‘lost’
above the knee amputation. assessment day she had identity too. And then there’s always
Then, a year after the initial diagnosis, been invited to rolled around. With that well-known ‘feel good’ factor after
Vicki was told that the hospital had swimming in mind she had deliberately exercising,” she says. “Open water
misdiagnosed a harmless cyst for bone opted for breast reconstruction using swimming can help a person’s mental
cancer; the chemotherapy and all the abdominal tissue from her stomach, wellbeing in so many ways, you have to
surgery had been unnecessary. rather than the back muscle she relies be determined to undertake a harder
on so heavily for front crawl. Even so, challenge than just visiting the local
STAGE III BREAST CANCER having had a portion of her abdominal warm pool.”
“My challenge was televised on muscle (which is also important for On top of this Vicki highlighted
Yorkshire TV and when Aspire’s Paul swimming) removed so recently, it was the sense of achievement and the
Parrish saw the footage he approached hard for her to know whether or not to connection to the natural world that
me to apply to swim the real Channel as attend. “Having finished radiotherapy comes hand in hand with outdoor
part of a relay team in 2018,” says Vicki. less than a month earlier I decided I swimming: “You are swimming in
“I would be invited to the Aspire Relay had nothing to lose,” she says. “I even places that not many others do, which
Channel Swim selection day in 2017 completed the 400-metre swim, which is truly freeing and you are immersed
and take it from there.” was a huge achievement for me as I had in the outdoors; you feel much closer
Two weeks after being approached permanent lines in my chest and arm to nature.”
by Paul, Vicki was diagnosed with for most of the previous year. I had not Vicki and her team are set to swim
aggressive stage III breast cancer. been able to go near a pool.” the Channel in August

What’s your Swim Story? Email:

90 AUGUST 2018 | Outdoor Swimmer




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