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Eastern Daily Press reports: Fire crews stood down after man swimming in River Wensum in Norwich sparks alert.

A man swimming sparked drama in Norwich city centre when fire crews went to the scene believing he had got into difficulty.

A member of the public called Norfolk police because they were concerned at what they thought was a person in trouble in the River Wensum near the Ribs of Beef pub on Wensum Street.

Police contacted Norfolk Fire and Rescue and the service sent a fire engine from Earlham and its rescue boat from Carrow.

However, on arrival, at just after 7.45pm last night, it became clear there was no need for a river rescue.

A spokesman said: “On investigation it was found to be a swimmer who was happy to be in the water. We just offered some words of advice that a May night might not be the best time to go swimming.”

Do you know the safety 8?

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KGW reports: In Mayor Ted Wheeler’s proposed city budget released this week, there’s an interesting $158,000 line item in the park bureau budget: Build a swimming beach under the west side of the Marquam Bridge. The idea is to get more people access to the water on warm days.

The city says the river is safe, just don’t drink the water. To get people to love the Willamette again, and not just view it as industrial, Mayor Ted Wheeler has talked about turning Poetry Beach, into an actual beach for months.

The site is along the river trail and already has a walking path down to the water for a small boat ramp. Under this winter’s high water level, there is a sandy beach down there. The mayor is proposing adding a lane line out in the water to mark off safe swimming, bathrooms, maybe a lifeguard, park ranger safety patrols, picnic tables and possibly even inviting a food cart to set up nearby.

Ella Jackson agreed saying, “This would be a good way to get out and not travel three hours to get to a beach, it’s smart.”

“Getting people to challenge the notion that the river is just a thing to drive over and inviting people to get back into it and reconnect with the Willamette is the goal,” said Wheeler’s senior policy advisor Nathan Howard. “I would say a $158,000 is not ‘nothing’ but it is a small portion of the city budget and really it is a very worthwhile investment to tell the story of the renaissance of the Willamette and all of our public investment has created something we can all experience and is much healthier than it was a couple decades ago.”

If it’s approved in the final city budget at the end of May, Poetry Beach would be fixed up and ready to open as a swimming beach in July through September this year. If this pilot beach goes well, there are plans to invest in the Eastbank Crescent Park on the east side of the river near the Hawthorne Bridge. A floating dock is already very popular with sunbathers and kayakers, but it would be torn out and replaced with multiple docks for swimming and boating, and a sandy beach with picnic tables and restrooms would be built.

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Jenny Landreth of the Telegraph reports: The joy of swimming in lidos – and what they tell us about ourselves. There are people for whom the notion of a lido …is not appealing at all.  Some people would only consider dipping their toe into an outdoor pool on a Mediterranean summer holiday where the temperatures barely drop below 30 degrees. Some of course would prefer not to share with anyone outside immediate family. Some swimmers need a roof. And for ‘wild’ swimmers, lidos are restrictive boxes of chemically-treated water, offering none of the freedoms that being outdoors should bring…

The Blue Lagoon Bristol 1937

…To my mind, lidos offer three very particular things: freedom, equality, and community. If all that sounds suspiciously French, it’s merely a happy coincidence because the nostalgia that surrounds them feels particularly British. Something in the solidly unpretentious architecture, and something in the water. Something cold. Maybe it should be part of our nationality exam: if you can get in freezing water then turn to your companions and say through gritted teeth ‘it’s fine once you get in’ you are British. There’s nothing, except maybe cake, we do as well as stoicism.

Swimming History in Leicester

When the then Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Josiah Stamp, opened the Morecambe Lido in 1936 he said: ‘When we get down to swimming’ he said ‘we get down to democracy’.  He was right: we are all equal in a swimming cap…  Everywhere else, we’re prodded and pushed, cossetted and coddled, shouted at and sold to, from screens on the buses, in post office queues, up every escalator, and on our phones. Swimming in a lido puts all of that temporarily on hold. It may be a 90metre artificial box of bright blue tucked in a corner of Tooting Common, but when you get into the water you can be right at the heart of your day, feeling whatever it has to chuck at you. The freedom of solitude and the ability to forget quite where you are, while simultaneously celebrating it. These are simple pleasures. The joy of feeling free, and alive.More…

Did you know – The Lido is responsible for seismic shift in the nations attitude towards swimming. Read chapter 5 of the book: Hung Out to Dry – Swimming and British Culture; Lido’s Open, Rivers Close.

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The Connection reports: Swimming in the Seine could become a reality in the next year as mayor Anne Hidalgo has launched a 43-point plan to clean up the Paris river.

Aiming to make the Seine a focal point if the city wins the 2024 Olympic Games, she wants to “improve the water quality” and open up the Bassin de la Villette for swimmers next year.

Swimming has been banned on the river since 1923 except by special permit and the last major event to be held on the Seine was the Paris Triathlon in 2012. However, that year a competitor died after falling ill in the water and the next planned event, with 3,000 swimmers, was banned by the prefecture. More…

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River Swimming Trent Bridge Nottingham

This site was a very popular swimming place, later reconstructed with steps into the water for swimmers. Swimming often took place under bridges as they provided easy access to the water whilst at the same time they hid swimmers from public view. Discover more about the history of British swimming…

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The Eastern Daily Press reports: Emergency services were called to reports of a man in the River Wensum in Norwich city centre on 25 November 2015.

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A Norfolk police spokesman said officers were contacted by concerned members of the public about a man in the river near Wensum Street at about 11am.

However the spokesman said when officers went to the scene they found that the man had chosen to swim there.

Fire crews from Sprowston and Carrow also attended the incident along with the technical rescue unit and surface rescue boat, and firefighters encouraged the man to come out of the water.

The East of England Ambulance Service was also alerted and sent a rapid response vehicle which was stood down before arriving at the scene.

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