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The Telegraph reports: From an Edwardian swimming sensation to the women who built Waterloo Bridge, fine-art photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten is recreating some of the most dramatic episodes of the Thames’ past.

Since she took the first picture for her ongoing series Old Father Thames, Fullerton-Batten, now 48, has raked the entire length of the river – 215 miles from its source in the Cotswolds to its marshy mouth near Sheerness and Southend – for 18 images, so far, recreating ‘true but extraordinary stories’.

The time in 1814, for instance, when, during a frost fair, an elephant was led across the frozen river alongside Blackfriars Bridge. Or the vaudeville actress who swam from Putney to Blackwall (a distance of 17 miles) in 1905, wearing a bathing suit she had improvised from a pair of tights and a men’s swimsuit (it was that, more than her athletic feat, which grabbed the headlines and two years later she was arrested for wearing it in Boston, on grounds of indecency). More…

Discover where we used to swim in London: Indoors Outdoors

 

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ITV.com Reports: The 33-year-old was joined for the final kilometre of his 1,791-mile, 157-day Great British Swim around the mainland by 400 fellow swimmers in Margate on Sunday.

Edgley left the Kent town on June 1, swimming in a clockwise direction, and his arrival on the beach at 8.40am was his first time on dry land since then.

Swimming up to 12 hours a day, including through the night, he has battled strong tides and currents in cold water, storms, jellyfish and swimming into the chilly autumn.

His efforts have taken their toll on his body, including shoulder pain and wetsuit chafing, plus salt water exposure.

Edgley’s odyssey was compared from the outset to the feat of Captain Matthew Webb, who in 1875 became the first person to swim the English Channel.

But, while more than 1,900 swimmers have since made the crossing, few are likely to follow in Edgley’s wake. Fifty-seven of the swimmers who joined him on Sunday morning have swum the Channel.

Edgley was accompanied by Cornish sailor Matthew Knight, supporting from his catamaran Hecate.

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Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

Just as austerity measures are forcing local authorities to reduce opening times at swimming pools across the country; the BBC reveals that nearly one in four of us here in the UK are suffering from anxiety and depression and that this suffering could be greatly reduced by a regular trip to the pool.

Although this understanding is not new (see: Swimming Could Cheer Up Britain) appreciating the benefits of swimming could help stem the exodus of swimmers from pools and bolster the efforts of those keen to return to swimming outdoors. ‘They must be mad’ is a common response from those who find it strange to see people river swimming, but perhaps the fact that that we do swim proves the contrary.

The Independent reports: According to a YouGov poll commissioned by Swim England, 1.4 million adults in the UK have found that swimming has had a positive effect on their anxiety or depression.

Furthermore, almost half a million of British adults who swim and have mental health issues have stated that swimming consistently has resulted in them making less frequent visits to a medical professional in order to discuss their mental health.

The poll found that around 3.3 million Brits over the age of 16 who have mental health issues swim at least once every two to three weeks.

When questioned about how swimming affects their mental state, 43 per cent of the swimmers stated that it makes them feel happier, 26 per cent said that it makes them feel more motivated and 15 per cent said that it makes it easier for them to cope with everyday life.

 

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The Local fr reports: Part of the Paris canal has once again been transformed into an outdoor pool for the summer. The Local’s Ben McPartland took the plunge on the opening day after being convinced the water was clean enough.

La Baignade, the new swimming pool at the Bassin de la Villette in north eastern Paris is open and ready for sunseekers and swimmers, if the weather holds up.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo opened the open air swimming pools in north eastern Paris on Wednesday, although unlike The Local’s editor she wasn’t game enough to take a dip.

The pool is free and open from 11am to 9pm each day throughout the summer until September 9th.

The Times reports: Paris splashes €1bn to clean up Seine. Guarding competitors in the 2024 Olympics from the risk of diarrhoea, organ failure and death when they swim in the Seine is set to cost French taxpayers about €1 billion.

Paris won the 2024 Olympic Games after Anne Hidalgo, the mayor, promised to make the river clean enough for the open water swimming races and triathlon. She said that the clean-up would also allow Parisians to swim in the Seine for the first time since it was banned almost a century ago.

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ITV News reports: The Duke of Cambridge has suggested threatened UK swimming pools might be protected by an organisation similar to a charity he heads which safeguards green spaces.

William discussed the issue during a Buckingham Palace garden party when he chatted with senior figures from two organisations which rely heavily on pools for their activities.

The second-in-line to the throne told representatives from the English Schools Swimming Association and the British Sub-Aqua Club that he would look at an idea similar to the Fields in Trust body, he supports as president, and get back to them.

Discover the History of British Swimming

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The National reports: Robert Hamilton’s dream of an open water regulator was torpedoed by near unanimous opposition from swimmers and swimming organisations, who said they were unwanted, unnecessary and overly commercial.

Unlike in England and Wales, where laws about open swimming are unclear, in Scotland, swimmers have a right to swim freely in open spaces.

Hamilton, along with commercial pilot Stewart Griffiths and swimmer Phia Steyn, had announced plans to establish the Scottish Open Water Swimming Association (SOWSA) to “promote and grow safe open water swimming within Scotland through co-operation between relevant stakeholders and partners in the country”.

Their proposal was to gather “open water swimmers, coaches, event organisers, boat pilots, health and safety professionals, landowners, local and national tourism bodies and relevant heritage and conservation bodies into one body with the aim of promoting and growing safe open water swimming in Scotland”.

But across the country, fans of outdoor aquatics were furious at what they saw as an attempt to limit access to lochs and water, potentially resulting in swimmers being forced to cough up cash for a dip.

There was opposition too from the British Long Distance Swimming Society (BLDSA) and the Outdoor Swimming Society (OSS),

In response to a consultation set up by Hamilton’s group, OSS said: “The establishment of a self-appointed regulatory body with power over all swimming events, venues and pilots in Scotland would create a commercial monopoly that would stifle, restrict and standardise the market, and restrict rather than improve swimming in Scotland.”

A joint response to the consultation from 28 different prominent swimmers complained they had not been made aware of the consultation, and were uncomfortable with a charity representing open water swimmers being proposed by “three people who are known to be closely involved in one of the most heavily advertised commercial companies running open water events and providing services to open water swimmers in Scotland”.

Discover why wild swimmers have faced restriction in England?

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The New Zealand Herald reports: A just-launched index has revealed New Zealand’s best and worst swimming spots – with some popular sites listed as no-go zones among almost 700 rivers, lakes, and beaches.

The updated LAWA (Land, Air, Water Aotearoa) website now features an online tool that lets people check on their local spots before they head for a dip.

The project is a partnership between 16 regional councils, the Ministry for the Environment and the Cawthron Institute.

Among around 40 spots currently listed as “unsuitable for swimming” was the pools at the top of Gisborne’s famous Rere Rockslide and 10 beach sites in Auckland.

“With the information on ‘Can I swim here?’ people can swim in our great outdoors with confidence this summer.”

Some councils also provided point-of-entry signs at popular sites, and swimmers should take notice and follow their instructions… more…

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