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BBC News Reports: Researchers are testing the water in Cambridge to identify the source of bacterial infections affecting rowers and swimmers.

Puntseq’s survey of regular river users found that one in five “obtained an infection likely attributed to Cam water contact”.

Symptoms included so-called “swimmer’s itch”, fever after swallowing water, and wound infections.

In 2014, organisers cancelled the first City of Cambridge Triathlon after the river tested positive for potentially-fatal Weil’s disease.

The team collected water samples at nine points along the river, between Grantchester Meadows and Baits Bite Lock, at three different times last year – in April, June and August.

After samples are filtered and processed, they use a tiny portable sequencing device, called a MinION, to pinpoint and identify the DNA profile of any lurking bugs.

PhD student Lara Urban, of the European Bioinformatics Institute, said the team had “an important societal question to answer”.

She said: “People here are very divided: some will just go swimming everywhere; others say they wouldn’t even put their hand in the river.

“We have not found anything ‘super dangerous’, but we may have one candidate that is known to cause wound infections and come from agricultural input”.

Tom Larnach, river manager with the River Cam Conservancy, welcomed the study.

“The river attracts so many people because it has so many facets – the tradition of punting, the beauty of the colleges – and the fact that 10 minutes along the towpath you’re in pristine countryside,” he said.

“Anything that helps build up a bigger picture of the overall health of the river is a good thing.”

Puntseq’s findings will be published in the summer. ​

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Discover the history of swimming in Cambridge…

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Artist's impression of the new lake

Lewisham’s largest green space, Beckenham Place Park, has been awarded £440,000 from Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. The award is part of the mayor of London’s push to make London the world’s first National Park City.

The funding will be used to:

  • plant thousands of new trees
  • support the restoration of the park’s Georgian lake, which will create a new wildlife habitat and be used for open water swimming.

Read more…

Discover the history of British Swimming

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Austerity measures and budget cuts will see regular swimmers gradually excluded from Leicester City’s swimming pools.

Aylestone Swimming Baths 1949

Ayleston Swimming Baths

Andrew Beddow; head of Sports Services at Leicester City Council, has implemented a raft of measures that will have a lasting impact on the sport in Leicester.

Members of the public are invited to share their thoughts in a consultation process but in essence the future course for city swimmers has already been plotted.

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Leicester Bede House Bathing Station

From today the general public are excluded from Aylestone swimming baths between 4 and 6 pm; essentially to save money on lifeguards. This has until now been a popular time for swimming at the pool, but from today family’s will only be able to swim between 6 – 7 pm. If this fails to attract sufficient numbers then even this brief concession could be axed in the future. The 4 – 6 pm slot will be devoted to the learn to swim program said Mr Beddow (in a forty minute discussion), so that the Council can make more money from the pool, but as swimming lessons are currently under subscribed, the claim that excluding the general public will enrich the Council doesn’t hold water. A failure to ensure that all swimmers paid their dues (many family’s took a free swim whilst one of their children had lessons) has meant that on paper at least, the pool did not appear as popular as it in fact was.

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Pool to Close – Exciting Changes?

Several other pools in the city will be affected, with New Parks swimming pool being most likely the next victim of the cuts. As the lions share of new funding is being spent on gym equipment, the public may well be excluded from this pool altogether with school swimming lessons, Council run swimming lessons after school and swimming club sessions (with lifeguard cover provided available at an additional fee) early in the new year.

Although these developments are described as “exciting changes to our membership” (see above), what will be the effect on swimmers? Members could well be excluded from the pool!

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Leicester Leys Leisure Centre

Swimmers are being encouraged to swim at Braunstone pool (which is very busy already) or at Leicester Leys Leisure Center (fun pool) which is very popular and turns swimmers away at certain times because the pool is full. Until now the fun pool has not been classified as a swimming pool, but from today, those purchasing a swim pass will find that the fun pool has been reinvented as a swimming pool in an effort to soften the blow that the City swimming restrictions will inflict on the sport.

Those learning to swim at City pools prior to September 1, 2017 have been encouraged to use any of the City’s pools for free as often as they desired in an effort to boost their swimming proficiency. From today even such students will be excluded from Ayelstone pool, just as soon as their lesson is over, with other pools seeing restrictions in the New Year.  They can of course go home and come back later, or travel across the city to another pool for a swim after their lesson, but realistically I can’t see that happening.

On one hand the Council are working to retain all the swimming pools in the city, but on the other, by excluding swimmers from the pools they save, Leicester City Council are steering away from sport for all, and are refocusing on sport for profit.

The aim when building these swimming pools was to provide a public amenity, but it seems that such notions are becoming ancient history. Even so, all the blame cannot be left at the Councils door; our changing culture has transformed the way we use swimming pools. At one time children would take themselves swimming, and indeed the free swims at New Parks Pool see children queuing to get in. Children have always made up the greater part of the swimming public, but ever since the Mores Murders shocked the nation, children have had their freedom to roam gradually curtailed. The Council recognise the need  to get more children swimming if they are going to keep their pools open, yet preventing new swimmers from swimming at convenient times and locations will prove counterproductive. Under the new  arrangements those who swim for exercise and pleasure will find themselves gradually squeezed out of the program and ultimately; hung out to dry.

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NO SWIMMING LEICESTER

Will early closing times and swimming restrictions force swimmers back to the river (as has happened in Kettering) from which they were plucked back in the 1970’s? Or will Leicester become a city where you can neither swim outdoors or in? Many may scoff at that question thinking that it could never happen, yet Leicester once stood head and shoulders above other city’s as its swimming champions won gold medals at the Olympic games. Times change, and our river swimming venues are all lost to history. If history repeats itself we could well see swimmers very much restricted over the next few months, even indoors.

Discover the 2,000 year history of swimming in Leicester.

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Thousands Swim at Rutland Water August Bank Holiday 2017

 

 

 

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Thank you for subscribing to Wild Swimming News!

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As a way of saying thank you, you will be able to get a copy of: Hung Out to Dry Swimming and British Culture for just £9.14 with free P&P (RRP £14.50) throughout the bank holiday! (Expires August 28)

Thanks again for subscribing!

Chris

 

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250h0078a462a314a2d3b62bb4557169ba0fThe Westmeath Independent reports: A 57-year-old American who twice survived cancer is bidding to become the first person ever to swim the length of the River Shannon. Dean Hall set off on this remarkable challenge at the northern tip of Lough Allen on June 5.

“It is taxing, but I’ve found that with marathon swimming, as with cancer recovery and life, we are much more limitless than we would ever consider. “We put limits on ourselves mostly because of fear we have, or because of what other people tell us is our limit. Once we take those limits off ourselves, and let our bodies and our minds do what they were created to do, we can do nearly anything.

Along the way Dean is raising money for an Irish charity, the Childhood Cancer Foundation, which helps to fund services for children and families affected by childhood cancer. More…

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Wild Swimming in France last summer.

wild swimming France

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

Visit our new website

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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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