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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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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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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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Culture clash! Click the image below and see for yourself the contrast between British and Swiss culture when it comes to outdoor swimming.

Wild Swimming Gunton Switzerland

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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.

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Discover the history of British Swimming

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ITV News reports: A dip in freezing water may sound an unappealing, possibly mad prospect but the Beast from the East hasn’t stopped these brave outdoor swimmers.

Cold water swimming champion Laura Nesbitt took a dip in the water at Clevedon this morning. It was minus 3 degrees in the Marine Lake but she didn’t seem to mind.

In Cornwall, a wild swimming group known as the Battery Belles and Buoys gather for a swim off the Battery Rocks in Penzance every day at 11am. The current freezing conditions hasn’t put them off. They go swimming all year round and there is never a wetsuit in sight, regardless of how cold it is.

Membership of the UK’s Outdoor Swimming Society has grown by 30 per cent a year since it was founded in 2006, and now has 25,000 members. Wild swimming – in lakes, rivers and the sea – has become a year-round lifestyle embraced by thousands.

YouTube Video

The BBC report: The University of Exeter Medical School and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology carried out the study.

It concluded, compared to non-sea swimmers, the likelihood of developing an earache increases by 77% and for a gastrointestinal illness rises by 29%.

As well as swimming, the risks also apply to water sports, such as surfing.

Researchers reviewed 19 studies linking sea bathing to illness from the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and Norway. They analysed results from more than 120,000 people.

“In high-income countries like the UK, there is a perception that there is little risk to health of spending time in the sea,” said Dr Anne Leonard.

“However, our paper shows that spending time in the sea does increase the probability of developing illnesses, such as ear ailments and problems involving the digestive system, such as stomach ache and diarrhoea.

Dr Gaze said most people will recover from infections with no medical treatment but they can prove more serious for vulnerable people, such as the very old or very young.

He added: “We have come a long way in terms of cleaning up our waters, but our evidence shows there is still work to be done.

“We hope this research will contribute to further efforts to clean up our coastal waters.”

 

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The National reports: Robert Hamilton’s dream of an open water regulator was torpedoed by near unanimous opposition from swimmers and swimming organisations, who said they were unwanted, unnecessary and overly commercial.

Unlike in England and Wales, where laws about open swimming are unclear, in Scotland, swimmers have a right to swim freely in open spaces.

Hamilton, along with commercial pilot Stewart Griffiths and swimmer Phia Steyn, had announced plans to establish the Scottish Open Water Swimming Association (SOWSA) to “promote and grow safe open water swimming within Scotland through co-operation between relevant stakeholders and partners in the country”.

Their proposal was to gather “open water swimmers, coaches, event organisers, boat pilots, health and safety professionals, landowners, local and national tourism bodies and relevant heritage and conservation bodies into one body with the aim of promoting and growing safe open water swimming in Scotland”.

But across the country, fans of outdoor aquatics were furious at what they saw as an attempt to limit access to lochs and water, potentially resulting in swimmers being forced to cough up cash for a dip.

There was opposition too from the British Long Distance Swimming Society (BLDSA) and the Outdoor Swimming Society (OSS),

In response to a consultation set up by Hamilton’s group, OSS said: “The establishment of a self-appointed regulatory body with power over all swimming events, venues and pilots in Scotland would create a commercial monopoly that would stifle, restrict and standardise the market, and restrict rather than improve swimming in Scotland.”

A joint response to the consultation from 28 different prominent swimmers complained they had not been made aware of the consultation, and were uncomfortable with a charity representing open water swimmers being proposed by “three people who are known to be closely involved in one of the most heavily advertised commercial companies running open water events and providing services to open water swimmers in Scotland”.

Discover why wild swimmers have faced restriction in England?

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