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Leicestershire Live reports: A ‘world class’ water sports park could open in the East Midlands in a matter of months.

Plans to replace a former gravel pit south of the Attenborough Nature Centre in Long Eaton with a water sports facility were approved by Erewash Borough Council on January 23.

Due to approval being granted, the park could open as soon as this summer.

Councillors have claimed the 133-acre former Trent Meadow gravel pit, off Pasture Lane, is currently the site of fly-tipping, antisocial behaviour, fires and trespassers. They felt putting it to a use which benefited the wider community was a welcome proposal that “could not come soon enough”.

The application was put forward by Richard and Katie Hill, of Mansfield.

It would see the site renamed as the Spring Lakes Watersports Club, and feature wakeboarding, ramps, canoeing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, rowing boats, pedalos, scuba diving, raft building, open water swimming, a floating inflatable aqua park and a play area.

Two wakeboarding cables would be installed as part of the plans, to tow riders along and over the ramps, with separate courses for advanced and inexperienced riders.

Several new buildings would be on stilts beside the lake, bringing them to a maximum height of nine metres, to avoid flooding issues.

These buildings would include changing areas, showers, toilets, three classrooms, a shop, kitchen, cafe and an outdoor viewing platform overlooking the lake.

He said as chairman of the Church Wilne Water Sports Club in Draycott for the past three to four years, teaching kids aged four to 16, he knew there was a demand for such a centre.

Mr Hill said: “Over the years I have seen the impact this (taking part in water sports) can have on their confidence, their sense of team spirit and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

“But many of the young people who turn up can’t afford to ride in the boats – it is around £45 for 15 minutes on average.

“On a daily basis I was forced to turn young people away because they could not afford it.

“The fact people in Nottingham, Leicester and Derby have no access to water sports frankly is not acceptable to us.

“Our aim is to be able to offer these sports to the whole community, especially people who would not usually have access.

“We can offer not just high intensity sport here but also pedalos and raft-building.

“The possibility here for a fun family day out is endless.” More…

 

 

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Channel News Asia reports: After nearly half a century navigating Bangladesh’s thousands of kilometres of rivers, the country’s most celebrated swimmer has hung up his trunks – but not before one final, arduous paddle upstream.

Kshitindra Baisya, 67, plans to spend his retirement on dry land inspiring younger generations to embrace the water in a country criss-crossed by huge rivers but where few swim.

“I didn’t have much idea about the beauty of this country until I swam dozens of its rivers,” Baisya told AFP.

A veteran of Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war against Pakistan, Baisya taught himself to swim at 18 and before long was paddling marathon distances along murky channels.

A decade later, the father-of-two earned some notoriety when he swam 74km of India’s Bhagirathi river.

He opts for a methodical breaststroke, head above water, rather than the freestyle preferred by purists.

“It helps preserve energy,” he told AFP as he stretched before a dip in a Dhaka pond recently.

Baisya has not broken any speed records – but his self-taught technique has allowed him to cover vast distances solo during a career unrivalled in Bangladesh.

“I am addicted to swimming. Everyday, I swim three to four hours,” he said.

Always eschewing the pool, Baisya prefers to swim along Bangladesh’s lengthy river networks – more than 700 channels draining south into the mighty Bay of Bengal.

He has never strayed from a winning formula of yoga, basic exercise and a humble diet complemented with dates and bananas for energy.

“DARING ATTEMPT”

But as he approached 70, the veteran swimmer knew it was time to call it a day – but not before one last triumph.

Baisya had always wanted to swim the Bhugai, Kangsha and Maghra rivers in Bangladesh’s north – uninterrupted and in one long slog.

He had a crack in 2017 but fell short, before returning to try again one last time in September.

Tailed by a support canoe and fans lining the riverbanks shouting his name, Baisya swam 185km in an unbroken 61-hour marathon – a possible record for someone of his age, organisers said.

Apart from the sheer distance – and fighting fatigue as he swam through two consecutive days and nights – Baisya had to negotiate polluted stretches of river that irritated his skin.

“It was a difficult task as the water was almost stagnant due to a lack of monsoon rains. On top of that, parts of these rivers were polluted, with garbage floating around,” he said.

On Sep 5, at around 8pm (1400 GMT), Baisya crossed the finishing line with thousands cheering him on.

He was taken to hospital for health checks but was declared fighting fit – allowing organisers to breathe a sigh of relief.

“We were tense,” said Aditi Bhusan, one of those monitoring the epic swim.

“He was quite old to make such a daring attempt. But he was very stubborn, and mentally strong.”

Organisers said Baisya had become the oldest swimmer on record to cross such a distance – further even than Diana Nyad, an American who in 2013 crossed 165.7km of the Florida Straits at the age of 64. They are seeking to get this record confirmed.

He has attracted attention overseas, with the World Open Water Swimming Association naming Baisya a candidate for their ‘performance of the year’ award.

Baisya was a “worthy nominee” for “pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the open water at an advanced age”, the California-based association said.

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LEAVING A LEGACY

His swansong done and dusted, Baisya has turned his attention to another lifelong pursuit – getting young Bangladeshis into the water.

It is no easy feat in a country where few children can swim and 18,000 drown every year – nearly 50 a day on average.

The dangers are part of everyday life in Bangladesh, a delta nation where around a quarter of the 160 million population live by the sea.

But Baisya hopes his determination and love of the water will inspire others to take the plunge.

“I truly hope young swimmers will be motivated by watching what I do at this age,” he said.

Visit the Hung Out to Dry website

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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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