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Archive for the ‘Open Water Swimming’ Category

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Bedfordshire on Sunday reports: Water safety signs erected at Bedford’s Great Ouse after three river deaths in two weeks.

MORE water safety signage have been erected following a series of river-deaths over the past month.

In recent weeks, three people have died in open water within Bedford Borough, including 39-year-old Zibigniew Lasocki who was pulled from the river on July 18.

Over the following two weeks officers pulled two more men from the river, the first on July 23 – in which the man was pulled from the river alive but later died in hospital – and the second on the morning of July 31

In light of the these tragic deaths, Bedford Borough Council, Bedfordshire Police and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue are working together to ensure messages get out to the public on water safety.

Steven Allen, Homes, Roads & Leisure Safety Manager at Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service urge the public to avoid swimming in open water for leisure and entering open water to help someone else thought to be in trouble. Cold water, strong currents and submerged hazards can quickly overwhelm the strongest of swimmers.

“The best way to help someone else in trouble is to immediately notify emergency services using 999, keep the person under observation and confirm their location to assist with rescue. Lifebelts or other flotation devices, where available, can be thrown to support a person in trouble until help arrives.” More…

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After enjoying the wonderful facilities open to outdoor swimmers around the world, swimmers here in the UK can’t help but feel disgruntled that their liberty to swim in rivers and lakes has for many years been denied, and especially so with the scorching weather we have just been enjoying this week.

We want to go dipping but the sign says NO SWIMMING!

The good news is that things are changing. The impossible is being achieved, albeit very slowly.

The problem lies in the fact that  authorities, keen to restrict swimming in open water (for reasons  long forgotten) have truly convinced themselves that wild swimming is just too risky. Its rather like Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes, in that it takes a child to point out the obvious: “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” The fact is plain to see, if swimming is OK throughout  Europe, how can it be more dangerous here?

This is not to say that its an easy thing for authorities to release their strangle hold on the swimmers freedom. If something goes wrong public opinion will want to point the finger of blame.

The good news comes from the Outdoor Swimming Society in the form of the: Inland Access Guide.

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Download a copy and its message of hope will prove better reading than the Sunday papers!

 

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17522835_10155205434551289_8539666495836669484_nA five-and-a-half year negotiation with British Waterways (as was) to remove their new No Swimming sign at Sparth Reservoir has at last met with success.

A change in thinking has been a long time coming but it is a sign of the times as our Island mentality is slowly being replaced by broader minds.

The dispute arose over the continued use of the reservoir by wild swimmers. British Waterways put up a “no swimming” sign at Sparth Reservoir in Marsden, Huddersfield. They said that it replaced a former sign that had gone missing, reasoning that it would be “reckless” to allow swimming at the site. “But swimmers said they have used the reservoir for decades and it is possible to enjoy the sport safely. They believe the reservoir has been used for recreational swimming since the 1940s and possibly earlier. In the future they hoped signs could be changed to allow them to swim at their own risk.” As reported by the BBC.

Attitudes in Britain differ greatly to those of our European partners. Swimming is encouraged in rivers and lakes abroad but rarley so in England.

Discover the fascinating history of outdoor swimming in Britain – read: Hung Out to Dry; Swimming and British Culture. The reasons for our prejudice towards outdoor swimming are deep-rooted, complex and pervasive. Yet surely reason will ultimately win out, especially as wild swimming continues to grow in popularity.

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Winter swimmers in the Czech Republic

Time reports: Czech Seniors Stay Young by Plunging Into Freezing Cold Rivers

Among the most hardy of all the cold water swimmers is the group of pensioners who meet twice a week, whatever the weather, throughout the year in an old railway wagon at the bank of the Labe River in Pardubice, near a section of the river where the water is less than 20 meters deep.

For these senior citizens, some of whom are in their late eighties, plunging into freezing temperatures has its benefits. “Cold water swimming is as much a challenge as it is a health strategy,” Radek Kalhous, a photographer who has been capturing candid images of the swimmers, told TIME. ” It improves heart activity, vessel elasticity and the immune system in general.”

According to Kalhouse, the pensioners who swim in the Labe are hardly ever ill. “They are brimming with energy and optimism,” he said. “Local clubs are full of friends and the community is still growing. Cold water swimming is not just sport for them. It’s their lifestyle.”

According to Kalhouse, the pensioners who swim in the Labe are hardly ever ill. “They are brimming with energy and optimism,” he said. “Local clubs are full of friends and the community is still growing. Cold water swimming is not just sport for them. It’s their lifestyle.” More…

Discover where you can swim in Prague:

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The Telegraph reports:  A”nanny state” council are trying to stop Christmas bathers from having a festive dip due to health and safety concerns by taping off parts of a beach. Every year hundreds of swimmers jump in the sea on Christmas morning, but the local council want to put an end to the tradition. Brighton and Hove City Council in East Sussex announced it will take measures to try and prevent one of the city’s most famous Christmas traditions over fears swimmers will get hypothermia.

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Chris Ingall, seafront operations manager for Brighton City Council, said: “The continuing mild weather has meant that, as with last year, the seafront has been much busier than in previous winters.

“It’s been great to see so many people enjoying a stroll on the promenade and its good news for seafront businesses, but we would ask people to stay on the path or high up on the beach, especially when the sea conditions are rough.

“Sea swimming takes skill, stamina and knowledge of the physical dangers and should only be for the very experienced, using suitable wetsuits, in very calm conditions and with a friend.

“Even on a calm day sea currents, undertow or a sudden change in weather can create life threatening hazards without warning. Even experienced swimmers can get caught out.”

Compair attitudes here with those in Switzerland

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Throughout history children have faced danger when in and arround water. Better parental supervision, clear warnings of specific dangers and in some cases swimming restrictions have all played a part in reducing the risk, but life saving education is without doubt the best precaution against disaster.

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beginning in 2017 all schoolchildren in the Australian province of Victoria will be required to swim 50 meters straight and show in-pool survival skills beginning in 2017, according to the Herald Sun.

The Herald Sun had been pushing for these learn-to-swim programs in schools as a result of 43 drowning deaths in Victoria this year and a 40 percent rise in fatal drownings. Research from Life Saving Victoria found that three out of five students could not swim by the time they finished primary school.

The Herald Sun reports: Brodie Morris, 12, …almost drowned in the Murray River two years ago. “We nearly lost him,” said his dad, Brett. “It happened in a split second. We’re really lucky that someone pulled him up. He could have been another statistic. He’d been to swimming lessons before but he hadn’t picked anything up.”

After the 10-week program at Shepparton’s Aquamoves pool, Brodie, from Kyabram, was swimming a dozen laps with ease. Even waking up earlier for the 40-minute trip to the pool didn’t faze him. “We were amazed how he went. He was motivated, he was fantastic,” Mr Morris said.

Mr Taylor said the goal was to teach every Victorian child to swim at a satisfactory level within a decade.

 

 

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EUobserver reports: Copenhagen is one of the only cities in Europe where the harbour water is again clean enough to swim in.

The city has built three popular harbour baths – a new type of city-beach for people to swim, sunbathe, and cool off on hot summer days.

A 2-kilometre race in the canals around the Danish parliament in August saw a record 3,600 participants this year.

During the last decade, the harbour baths have also become popular with tourists. They are the most visible result of a deliberate decision in the municipality to move polluting industry out of the harbour, and to clean all waste water before it reaches the sea.

The harbour baths are open 24/7 and many people living in the city centre have taken up the habit of a morning swim before heading to work.

There is no entry fee. Anyone is free to jump in and to enjoy the feeling of pumping blood, tickling skin and the salty taste of sea water.

Swimming around parliament

A 2-kilometre race in the canals around the Danish parliament in August saw a record 3,600 participants this year. Some 230 came from abroad to take part.

For swimmers, the race offers a very different perspective of the city and its old parliament building, Christiansborg. For tourists, who gathered on the city’s bridges and wharfs, clapping and photographing, it offers the unusual sight of swimmers splashing in city canals.

“The water is really clean, I saw streams of small fish and jellyfish when passing Knippelsbridge,” Julia Winklewski told EUobserver…

The water temperature is 20C in August, but in winter the harbour can be covered by ice.

Despite freezing temperatures, winter swimming is a popular activity among Danes. Some 11,000 people are registered members of winter swimming clubs around the country, with many more on waiting lists. Swimming is believed to improve people’s health and their quality of life. Read more…

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