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An item in the news from Switzerland warning swimmers that on Monday a boy of eight was bitten by a beaver whilst swimming in the Rhine at Lindli caught my eye. Later that day a woman was also bitten on the leg so badly she needed to go to hospital to have stitches.

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What advice have the authorities given? ” Beavers are only likely to become aggressive if they feel threatened or are defending their nest. Bathers are advised to avoid swimming close to the shore, and to not allow dogs to enter the water.”

What a contrast to the news this week and the tragic drownings resulting from river and lake swimming by those with little knowledge of how to stay safe.

Discover how differently the Swiss approach water safety.

 

 

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The Plymouth Herald reports: More than 50 hardy swimmers took to the water on Sunday as part of Saltash Regatta weekend to swim across the River Tamar to Devon and back. Participants raised £1,000 for Little Harbour Children’s Hospice at Porthpean near St Austell.

The swimmers were all members of Devon and Cornwall Wild Swimming, and the swim was organised by the club’s founder Pauline Barker and partner James Vickery.

Devon and Cornwall Wild swimming has grown in numbers from just five members at it’s outset in 2010, to more than 5,000 today.

 

Regular swims are held in and around Plymouth as well as all over the two counties. More…

Take a look at wild swimming on Plymouth Hoe

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The Guardian reports: In 1936, Sir Josiah Stamp, then Governor of the Bank of England, made a speech at the opening of the Morecambe open air baths. “When we get down to swimming” he said, “we get down to democracy.” That sense of importance was not misplaced. Some 80 years later, on a brilliant blue, baking hot Saturday, similar grand emotions were evoked, at the re-opening of Saltdean Lido.

Five miles east of Brighton, Saltdean is a coastal village with the lido sitting proudly right on the seafront. Built in the 1930s, the pool was a glamorous part of the Saltdean “offer”, its main building curved like a cruise liner. The story of it shutting is a familiar one to lido historians, full of benign neglect. The space was measured up by developers, but the community’s eyes were still on it. “As a keen swimmer, architectural heritage lover and local resident there was no way I was going to lose [it] to flats” said Rebecca Crook, director and cofounder of Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company. The company fought to get control of the pool, and won. And after seven years, thousands of dedicated volunteer hours and the raising of £3m, here we are. A sparkling main pool restored to its original 40-metre length, refurbished surroundings and a paddling pool. It felt absolutely ace to be there.

The restoration of Saltdean is part of a wider story – public interest in open-air swimming has boomed in the last decade or so. Jubilee Pool in Penzance reopened last year; Charlton Lido in south-east London has extended its opening hours; there are campaigns to restore lidos to Bath, Peckham and Reading; and to build a new one in the middle of the Thames in central London. These are exciting times for lido lovers, those who want to be outside but don’t have access to wild swimming locations. Who appreciate the actual value of sun on skin. Who want somewhere to learn, or practice, or make community. Who recognise these places, still, as classless and timeless, where status is irrelevant because no amount of cash will buy you a better swim. Those of us in cities and towns who just want a moment’s escape from air con or inside. more…

Discover the history of swimming in England

Wild Swimming in France last summer.

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How I wish England had a more tolerant attitude towards outdoor swimming.

Visit our new website

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The East Anglia Daily Times reports: Open water swimming is growing in popularity. But as well as being enjoyable, could immersing yourself in cold water in the great outdoors be good for your health? Sheena Grant reports

“When you swim,” wrote the late, great Roger Deakin in Waterlog, his spellbinding book about wild swimming around Britain, “you feel your body for what it mostly is – water – and it begins to move with the water around it.”

For Roger, whose journey first suggested itself to him as his swam in the moat around his Suffolk home, swimming – especially outdoors – was like returning to a natural state, to experience how it was before you were born, in the safety of the womb.

He recalled illicit swims from his youth, clambering over a fence to get to the open-air pool in Diss on a sultry summer’s evening, and in the night sea at Walberswick seeing bodies “fiery with phosphorescent plankton striking through the neon waves like dragons”.

Swimming was so much more than a physical activity. There was a spiritual demension to it too. It informed his being like the memory of dreams.

Roger was ahead of the game with his 1996 masterpiece. It’s taken the rest of us a little longer to embrace the joys – and health benefits – of outdoor swimming. But we’re getting there. Membership of the Outdoor Swimming Society has jumped from just 300 in 2006 to more than 25,000 in 2016.

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Seamus Bennett, organiser of the Felixstowe Swimscapes Open Water Swimming group, has no doubt that swimming outside benefits both mental and physical health.

“It’s free and when you do it in a group like we do (which is the safest way) it is very social,” he says. “It gives people the sense of being in a community that takes in different ages, genders and backgrounds. Swimming is a great equaliser and tremendous exercise for all parts of the body.

“Being in open water gives a real feeling of freedom, challenge and achievement that you don’t really get in a pool, unless you’re swimming huge distances. It’s definitely never boring; every swim is different.

“Our group has grown every year since it started in 2012. We’ve gone from 12 to 500 (Facebook) members now. Not all of them come but the interest is there. Numbers at swims have grown too though. On a summer Saturday last year we were getting 30-40 people. This summer I suspect it could go up to 50 or 60

“On your own open water swimming is dangerous. For newcomers especially, having a group and knowing that the sea you are swimming in is safe and knowing the tides is reassuring and important. Being part of a group is more enjoyable too.”

Felixstowe Swimscapes’ summer season runs from May to October, when meets are held on Saturday mornings and Monday evenings, but some members swim all year round on a Saturday morning.

“In the summer we swim to the pier and back, which takes 60-70 minutes but people can do less than that,” says Seamus. “They can do any distance and we swim parallel to the shore so it’s easy to get out when you want to and walk back along the prom. The water quality here is good and there are no dangerous currents. We get people from all over the region who come to join us.” More…

Click here to discover why swimmers in Britain were hung out to dry…

 

 

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Cambridge News reports: Swimmers are being forced out of the River Cam after being “attacked” by parasitic mites that have spread rapidly in the water due to the warm weather.

The parasitic duck mite appears in the River Cam at this time of year and can cause a condition known as ‘swimmer’s itch’ (or cercarial dermatitis).

Ted Hunt is the treasurer of the Newnham Riverbank Club. He said the mites always appeared at this time of year. This year is worse than normal, he said, because of the heat.

“It is quite a well-documented thing,” said Mr Hunt. “It is also called swimmer’s itch. It happens every year. It is a little flat worm that has to find a duck to continue its life cycle. Unfortunately, if people are in the water, it goes to them as well.

“I have been swimming here for 40 years. This year, the river got warm quite quickly, and that has brought them on.”

Mr Hunt said there were practical things people could do to avoid being bitten, including getting a sun tan.

“If you give yourself a good rub down with a towel when you get out instead of drip drying, that seems to get rid of them,” he said. “There are two or three heads in the water right now. People are enjoying themselves. It tends to be people who are very pale they are attracted to, so getting a tan might help.

“In terms of aftercare, people could rub themselves over with aloe-vera. Hopefully, it will die down a bit in the next week.”

Discover the history of swimming in Cambridge

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swimmer1The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Review reports: A RECORD 82 swimmers made a charity splash when they dived into the River Wye for an annual race.

The fourth Great Wye Swim organised by Monmouth School Sports Centre on Sunday, May 21, raised £1,370 for Mesothelioma UK and the St David’s Foundation.

Swimmers raced over 1km and 2km distances from Dixton Church, blessed by good weather and low water levels and cheered on by a large crowd.

The event was the brainchild of Teresa Tranter, an admin officer at the sports centre, who took part for the first time this year and won the non-wetsuit female class over 1km in 14 minutes 10 seconds.