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Archive for the ‘River Swimming’ Category

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Waterford Live Reports: Waterford City and County Council must identify official bathing areas so that they can be monitored for safety, water quality and their level of use.

To help with this process, Waterford City and County Council is asking people who swim at beaches, lakes and rivers to tell them if they think they should maintain existing designated bathing waters designations or give a new official bathing area designation to areas that are commonly used for swimming, but not identified at the moment.

Under European and Irish law, Irish local authorities must identify bathing waters each year so that these areas can be monitored to ensure they meet stringent microbiological water quality standards. In some cases, the official bathing areas are also the areas where local authorities focus their resources providing lifeguards during the summer season. These laws require that the local authority prepares detailed descriptions or profiles for each of the identified bathing water sites that describe not just the bathing area but also areas in the surface waters catchment area that could be a source of pollution. The profiles include assessing the risk of pollution and what action would be taken if pollution occurs.

If you are a regular swimmer and want to help the council decide which bathing areas should be classified as such, it might be helpful to consider the following:

  • How your swimming area has been used up to now
  • How many people use the site
  • What facilities exist at the site and how accessible it is
  • Any safety issues.

If you wish to propose your favourite beach/river as a new bathing water site or comment on an existing site, please visit www.waterfordcouncil.ie. Closing date for submissions to Waterford City and County Council is July 17.

 

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China Daily reports: Di Huanran …the 60-year-old daredevil is the resident waterfall diver at the northeast border city’s Jingpo Lake resort, and he loves his job of providing hair-raising entertainment for sightseers.

“I feel I’m flying like a hawk and this feeling is such a great joy,” enthused the pensioner in a recent interview with Xinhua. “When I am in the air, I wish time would stand still. Every time I try a new height or a new place, it’s a breath of fresh air.”

Upon reaching retirement age last winter, Di was devastated to learn his contract would not be renewed. The bombshell even affected his health and he fell ill.

Things took a turn for the better a month later, though, when he signed a contract extension allowing him to earn at least 180,000 yuan (nearly $30,000) per year in addition to his pension. More importantly, he could resume diving down the 20-meter Diaoshuilou Waterfall – the world’s largest basalt cascade – every day.

Over the years, Di has tried diving off almost every bridge in Heilongjiang province, including the Mudan River Bridge and the Songhua River Bridge in Harbin.

Some of his favorite spots include the Hukou Waterfall on the upstream of the Yellow River and the Haihe Jiefang Bridge in Tianjin.

Despite the risk involved, Di insists safety is always uppermost in his thoughts.

“You need to be a good swimmer and you need to know how to adjust your body to avoid going too deep,” he explained.

“A depth of one and a half meters is fine for me, so I can return to the surface quickly and don’t get lost in the turbulence.

“Diving down, you need to prevent your body from heading to the bottom, and you need to make sure you are able to swim back to the bank, that’s what I keep in mind for each attempt.”

In 2008, Di was awarded a Guinness World Record as the globe’s highest waterfall diver. But he remains uneasy with the daredevil tag he has earned.

“I will only dive down when I’m 100 percent sure I’m not risking my life. Safety is always my top priority when I try this activity, which to many is so risky. I like to think of myself as an explorer as opposed to an adventurer.”

Remarkably, Di hopes to continue his adventures for another two decades.

“Outdoor diving is a huge part of my life,” he said. “As long as my body condition allows, I think I will continue diving until the age of 80.” Compare attitudes in China with the UKRead more or Watch the video below:

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The Ilkley Gazette reports: ILKLEY Clean River Campaign is applying for the River Wharfe to be designated for swimming in a bid to rid it of pollution.

Ilkley would be the first in the UK to achieve this status if it can be proved that the public plays, paddles and swims in the river.

Becky Malby, of the campaign group said: “We are applying for Designated Bathing Water status between the Old Bridge and Denton Bridge to cover the entire area where locals and tourists enjoy the river. This would put pressure on the water agencies to ensure they are not polluting the river with raw sewage, and would make our river fit to paddle and play in.

“To prove that we need a clean river we are required to count people on the river bank and playing in the river over the period May 15 to September 30.

“To do this we need to photograph (long shot not close up) and count people in the river at least 20 times over the summer. We need to count the number of adults and children separately, and state the numbers related to swimming, paddling, playing (inflatables), and on the riverbank. We are looking for volunteers to help us with the counting. We provide you with a Ilkley Clean River Group t-shirt, clicker, form and information flyers (as people are bound to ask what you are up too). You volunteer to do two or more counts in one week (choose your week) between May and September. You count when there are a lot of people there!

“We will present the interim results at a Town Meeting on the 11th July and also update everyone on the results of the Citizen Water Testing. If you have comments on the Designated Bathing Water Status, or can volunteer for counting please let us know on our website https://sites.google.com/view/cleanwharfeilkley/home?authuser=0

or Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Ilkley-Clean-River-Group-431201944302819/

Ilkley Clean River Group’s second Ilkley Town Meeting is on July 11 from 5.30pm – 7pm in Christchurch.

Data from the citizen testing and the bathing count will be shared and MP John Grogan will be there along with new Town Mayor, Mark Stidworthy.

Becky added: “Do come and hear our progress and contribute your thoughts to the campaign and contribute to the consultation on Bathing Water Status.”

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Swim City Exhibition Basel Switzerland

25.05. – 29.09.2019

Swim City

Opening: 24/05/2019, 7 PM

The exhibition “Swim Citywill be the first to draw attention to one particular contemporary phenomenon in the urban space: river swimming as a mass movement – a 21st-century Swiss invention. For decades, cities like Basel, Bern, Zurich and Geneva have been gradually making the river accessible as a natural public resource in the built environment. This has made the river become a place of leisure, right on the doorstep and firmly anchored in everyday life. The rest of the world looks on in awe at the bathing culture in the Rhine, Aare, Limmat and Rhone. Here, cities like Paris, Berlin, London and New York see an example of how they can reclaim their river areas as a spatial resource, so as to sustainably improve the quality of people’s urban lives.

Curators:  Barbara Buser, Architect and Rhine expert; Andreas Ruby, Director S AM
For the film recordings, S AM collaborates with Zurich director Jürg Egli, who creates a large-scale triple-screen projection that will show the experience of river swimming from the perspective of the swimmer.

Discover more…

Basel Swim City

Watch the Video              Discover Wild Swimming in Switzerland

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Glasgow Live reports: We chart the evolution of swimming from the River Clyde to the public and private baths that sprung up across the city.

In the 18th century, long before the appearance of swimming baths in the city, swimming as a leisure pursuit was practiced by plenty of Glaswegians in the most obvious place – the River Clyde.

Its popularity among the working classes was down to the easy access afforded to the river, alongside the obvious fact that is was both an activity without cost and killed two birds with one stone in that it was both refreshing and a way to ensure personal cleanliness.

Another reason for success of informal river swimming in the city was the formation of the Glasgow Humane Society in 1790 (the oldest continuing lifeboat service in the UK) – which helped to bring down the number of drownings that were occurring.

The construction of a boat house and a room with life saving equipment reduced the risks involved in taking to the Clyde along with it, as well as the introduction of a life saving officer working out of the boat house and rewards for people who helped people who had gotten into difficulty on the river.

But with fatalities continuing the Council decided to take it upon themselves to build facilities at the river to try and ensure people would bathe at the same (safe)  location.

Not that it mattered much post 1850 – as the increase in river traffic and the move by industries to secure locations next to the Clyde, alongside the polluting of the river, practically put a halt to the popular Glasgow pasttime.

While the Council also passed a law prohibiting river bathing in certain (dangerous) areas and used local police to strictly enforce a rule limiting the amount of flesh you could display as you took a dip.

Things began to change with the opening of an opening air facility in Alexandra park in Dennistoun in 1877 form the summer months and an increase in national (and local) concern for general public health.

Prior to that, one of the first indoor swimming and bathing facilities for the public to use was situated up in the Blythswood area from which Bath Street gets its name.

Constructed by businessman William Harley (who made his money in the cotton trade), the lavish setup and social facilities attempted to attract the upper echelons of Glasgow society.

But it struggled to do so in a time where physical exercise wasn’t regarded as necessary (especially in a 12 hour, six day a week industrial working day) and where few people could swim – coupled with the hard fact that Glaswegians loved a ‘bevvy’ and a bet couldn’t do either in the confines of the swimming pool.

But with renewed interest in swimming in the 1870s into the 20th century, ten indoor swimming pools were constructed in the city (five public and five private), such as North Woodside Pool in 1882 – the oldest public pool in operation today.

Private baths such as the still-standing Arlington Baths proved popular given that the upper levels of society had begun to enjoy making trips to seaside resorts outside of the city on the West Coast and the fact that they offered swimming lessons to members.

Figures show that in 1900, male Glaswegians made 475,000 trips to public swimming pools, with that figure rising to over 700,000 by 1914. Compare that to 30,000 females visiting public baths in 1900 increasing to 100,000 in 1914.

A by-product of the increase in swimming was the rise in popularity in Glasgow of competitive swimming both in participating and as a spectator. With clubs springing up across the city – numbering 109 in 1914.

Cut to today and with Glaswegians more keen on staying fit and active than ever before, we remain pretty much spoilt for choice with 12 public swimming pools to choose from at sites such as Scotstoun, The Gorbals, Tollcross and Maryhill, as well as a handful of private baths.

Enough to ensure both that, like in years gone by, residents are never too far away from their nearest pool and that our love affair with going for a wee dip remains as strong as ever – although doing so in the River Clyde is well and truly a thing of the past!

Discover swimming history in your region…

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The Guardian reports: Nationwide, there is a boom in wild swimming. Even the fashion pack, rarely ones to embrace the great outdoors, have got involved. Anne-Marie Curtis, editor-in-chief of Elle, swims regularly at the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond on Hampstead Heath in London, as does designer Louise Gray.

Four years ago, printmaker Katherine Anteney entered a triathlon. While training, she remembered how good swimming felt – the peace and the adrenaline, the pleasure of spreading your fingers wide in cool water or kicking your legs in a firm breaststroke. She began visiting lakes regularly. “At first I wore a wetsuit, but ditched that pretty quickly as it felt like it kept me removed from the water.”

Today, Anteney’s favourite swimming spot is the river Test in Southampton. Even in the winter, she will swim a handful of times a month, and the local train now greets her and her swimming partner Pam with a hoot. “Where we get changed is called the Slab. It’s a concrete culvert right next to the tracks on the mainline to Salisbury. We always get a honk and a wave. Those poor fellas have seen our bare bums too many times.”

Anteney advises swimming with a companion for camaraderie and motivation. “We swim upstream heads up and chatting, and then back with head-down crawl. In the winter, we wear woolly hats and I keep my glasses on, because then I have an excuse not to put my face in.” Occasionally, they go in the dark with head torches. She would advise investing in neoprene shoes for warmth. “I hate getting mud on my feet,” she says. “Earplugs help keep you warmer but they mean you can’t do much chatting, so I’ve stopped wearing them. I have learned the importance of getting warm quickly afterwards and anticipating the afterdrop (where your core temp carries on dropping after you get out). I couldn’t live without my Dryrobe.” This combines a windproof outer shell with a synthetic lambswool lining.

“Swimming is the new yoga,” says the journalist and screenwriter Marion Hume. “I love that fashion has finally ‘got’ swimwear to swim in, from Stella McCartney’s whimsical pieces to Ashley Graham’s, which are so body-positive.” She prefers the comfort of a lido – just wild enough, without the risk of reeds or fish. “I swim at Parliament Hill Lido, which is lined in metal that sparkles in the sun – it’s like moving through a James Turrell art installation.” Like Anteney, she recommends neoprene boots – “I tell myself they are Margiela circa 1980s, when in fact they just look ridiculous.”

If the thought of plunging into the cold – and open water often is cold, even in the warmer weather – in just a swimming costume fills you with horror, a wetsuit is always an option. Consider the thickness carefully, says consultant Charlotte Goodhart, who swims in the West Reservoir at Manor House, north London. “My advice would be to wear a wetsuit of at least 2mm thickness – the water might not feel that cold but you’ll gradually get quite chilly – though gloves and socks aren’t as necessary.”

Before you grab your goggles, consider your swimming aims, says Anteney. “The last thing it’s about is exercise,” she says. “It’s about being in the water and feeling it all around you. Being at eye level with nature. An early-morning swim before work makes the rest of the day manageable. It keeps me sane – even though everyone else thinks we are insane.” Read more on this story…

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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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