Great Britain /UK

2019 World International Ice Swimming Championships: What it takes to prepare for a sub-zero swim

"Sometimes I get in and I think 'gosh, this feels horrible'," says champion ice swimmer Jade Perry.

This isn't just your average test of physical endurance.

Taking a dip in sub-zero temperatures is already unappealing, without the prospect of doing it in a makeshift pool carved out of a frozen lake at the height of Russian winter.

THE RISE OF WILD SWIM GROUPS ACROSS THE UK

There are now 50+ wild swim groups around the UK. To mark the launch of a new OSS listing guide of them around the country, Rowan Clarke, a member of Wiltshire Wild Swim, reports on their joys and problems.

When Wiltshire Wild Swimmers began in May 2018, it was just a group of ten friends arranging swims on WhatsApp. As people began finding them on Instagram, the group grew to 30, prompting its founders to move the group from WhatsApp to Facebook. It then grew to 150 members in just four weeks.

Drug Testing In The English Channel

The Channel Swimming Association has governed solo and relay crossings between the 33.8 km channel between England and France since 1927 and has implemented a drug testing policy since 2015.

Michael Read MBE, president of the Channel Swimming Association, explains, "We believe that it is terribly important that our swimmers, especially the younger ones, who have a lifetime of swimming ahead of them, understand that they must be clean, there is no place for drugs in our sport, and that drugs are totally unnecessary for the fulfillment of our sport. 

Strong Women: ‘People say I am fearless. But that is rubbish. I am human’

Women have long been indoctrinated with the idea that you have to look a certain way in order to be fit. It’s everywhere. Adverts, social media, TV shows – the only women who get to be strong, healthy and love their bodies are size 6 Instagram models, clad head-to-toe in lycra with intimidating abs and an inexplicable thigh gap.

Why wild swimming in depths of winter is the new natural high

In search of inner calm and the ultimate natural high, growing numbers of Britons are braving freezing temperatures to swim in the great outdoors. From freshwater lakes and icy mountain pools to the thrashing waves of the sea, wild winter swimming – once the preserve of thrill-seekers and SAS training camps – is fast going mainstream.

'If you need to find me, I’ll be where I’m swimming': The story of Mercedes Gleitze, the first British woman to swim the Channel

Doloranda Pember was 84 years old before she finally got to witness someone swimming the English Channel at close quarters. Last summer, she was on the support boat when Heather Clotworthy, an open water swimmer from Northern Ireland, attempted the marathon, only to be defeated by the tides within a couple of miles of the French coast. Sitting on the boat, watching a lone and lonely female battling the fearsome conditions, Doloranda at last understood what an achievement it is to cross the Channel under your own steam.

Fraser Watson trains with GB ice swimmer Alistair Bell

It’s snowing lightly, the cold wind is piercing, and the risk of hypothermia is very real.

You’re in the remote area of Tregaron, high up on a mountain, miles from civilisation with zero phone reception to boot.

And you’re about to voluntarily dip into a lake measuring 34 degrees centigrade below human body temperature. Your insurance policy? Swimming trunks.

To me and you it’s called lunacy.

‘Too warm’ for proper training

WE may have had the coldest days of the winter this week but it still not chilly enough for Gloucester’s John Myatt, who is off to Russia next month to swim in freezing water as part of Team GB’s entry in the third International Ice Swimming Championships.

Porthcawl ‘persuades’ Lewis to tackle a a marathon charity swimming challenge

Porthcawl resident Lewis Brown has just completed a gruelling (and very cold) swimming challenge – taking to the water for 100 consecutive days – with no wetsuit.

He has been so determined to never miss a day that, even when he and wife Jade went to London, he swam once in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, and once in a London Dock.

Could swimming in Scotland's cold seas be a cure for pain, depression and grief?

In the depths of winter, wild swimmers are wading out into the chill waters – not just because it's bonkers, but because it helps them deal with pain, depression and grief. Photographer Anna Deacon and writer, Vicky Allan, now a keen outdoor swimmer, have followed their stories.

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