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How Cold Water Swimming Improves Stress Management

Mental Health, 'Loony Dookers' and Polar Bears

Here in Scotland, ‘Loony Dookers’ dive into the chilly waters of the Forth Estuary on New Year’s Day, whilst members of the Polar Bear Club in New York take an Atlantic dip. Perhaps you did too? Similar events are held all around the world from Vilnius to Vancouver...

Whilst a few hardy souls have always taken to chilly waters all year round, the niche ‘sport’ of swimming in freezing waters is becoming increasingly popular. But why? It’s hard to fathom unless you are already a believer.

Stressed by COVID-19? Can Cold Swims or Cold Showers Help?

An examination of the mental health benefits of cold water immersion

The COVID-19 crisis continues unabated, and many jurisdictions still have social distancing regulations in place. This is concerning, as considerable research indicates that social activities can foster positive mental health.

As such, individuals may need to engage in innovative activities to reduce stress and promote their own mental health. Two activities which may be particularly suitable to some people are cold swims or cold showers; not ice cold, but in the 16-20 Degree Celsius (60-70F) range—as opposed to the unnaturally warm temperatures of heated swimming pools.

Your guide to getting out of neoprene for open water swimming

Polly Madding looked out across the Boston Harbor in 2017 and wondered why she couldn’t swim there. A little research later, she learned that she actually could and signed up for her first open water event on June 4, 2017. She purchased a sleeveless wetsuit for the occasion and had a wonderful time, except for the massive chaffing she experienced on the back of her neck.

Since that first open water swim, though, Madding has gradually relied less and less on a wetsuit, and she has set her sights on a few open water swimming events that prohibit the use of wetsuits. She loves the freedom of being in open water without a protective layer of neoprene. “You can feel the water so much better” without a wetsuit, she says.

More lies, damn lies and statistics…

To battle the boredom, I often design different pieces of channel swimming analysis whilst I swim…here are a few recent pieces of analysis:

Is this the best/worst season ever? This season the water temperature rose quickly and the weather was generally sunny without significant wind. As a result a lot of the Dover trainees seemed to get away early…so my perception was that it was turning into a stellar season. But was this perception or reality…back to the database to find the facts…

Strokes of genius: swimmers’ guide to the UK coast

Rowan Clarke on Clevedon, Somerset

As an outdoor swimmer and swimming coach, Rowan is often found on the side of Clevedon Marine Lake giving guidance to all ability levels. She is on the Board of Trustees for Marlens, the charity that looks after the Marine Lake and a member of the South West Seals winter swimmers.

Channel Swim Abandoned Due To SIPE 2nd August 2016

Well that didn't go to plan. Instead of recovering from a celebratory Babycham in the White Horse in Dover I found myself in a hospital bed in Ashford on Sunday morning. My attempt to swim the English Channel was foiled in French inshore waters by Swimming Induced Pulmonary Edema (SIPE). I'd been airlifted from my support boat and was in a resuss bed.

The First 11 Hours

I started my Channel swim just after 7am on Saturday morning. The training had been done, it was a beautiful morning and weather was forecast to be improving. I had the pilot and crew that I wanted. I was raring to go. I was greased up in the mixture of sun cream and udder cream which it’s basically a mix of Vaseline and lanolin (good for cows and Channel swimmers and even better for Channel swimming cows). Over the side and a short swim to the beach at Samphire Hoe for the official start. A few Pilates moves on the beach and some wise motivational words to myself about not stopping until I hit France and I was off.

Fraaie weerkaarten

At the Ventuski website you will fine lovely weather maps. Animated wind and waves etc. worldwide (where info is available).

The Toughest Thirteen

13 extremely challenging swims for the advanced solo marathon swimmer. If the Oceans Seven are the “Everests” of open water, the Toughest Thirteen are the K2s.

The Toughest Thirteen (an MSF project) aims to inspire marathon swimmers to seek lesser-known, less frequently swum waters offering unique and extraordinary challenges. In 2019, over 200 swimmers have completed the Triple Crown, and many of the Oceans Seven swims have multi-year waiting lists. In contrast, for any of the T13 swims you may not have to wait longer than the next available good weather; and if you’re successful, you’ll be one of only a small handful.

Many of these swims have been DNF’d more often than finished!

Reddingsbrigade Nederland verfijnt vlaggengebruik

Reddingsbrigade Nederland vindt dat volwassenen én kinderen de betekenis van de waarschuwings- en signaleringsvlaggen bij open water moeten kennen. Reddingsbrigades constateren dat dit bij velen niet het geval is. Reddingsbrigade Nederland neemt initiatief om daarin verandering te brengen. Het vlaggengebruik wordt verfijnd tot een nieuw landelijk protocol. De basissets van vlaggen zijn al door de International Life Saving Federation of Europe (ILSE) geaccordeerd. Voor 2019 wordt een publiekscampagne voorbereid.

Reddingsbrigades beschikken bij hun reddingspost(en) in elk geval over een basisset van vlaggen voor de vlaggenmast. Deze worden door lifeguards, op basis van de actuele situatie, gehesen. Om zwemmers, baders, watersporters en overige recreanten te waarschuwen en te informeren over de risico’s die verbonden zijn aan het zwemmen in open water, zoals de zee.

De basisset van vlaggen voor de vlaggenmast bestaat uit:

Weather on the English Channel

The weather on the English channel is very unpredictable. At times the forcasts are correct, but usually they are a bit to a lot off. The trick I hear pilots use is to combine the various sources of information and add a bit of gut feeling to that.

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