A 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.
The BBC reports: Students applying to one of China’s most prestigious universities have been told they must learn to swim before they graduate.
Tsinghua University, known as the Harvard of the East, has ruled that the nation’s top minds must also prove themselves in the pool.
The news made waves on Chinese social media, with some questioning the move in a country struggling with drought.
But the university said swimming was a key survival skill.
President of Tsinghua University, Qiu Yong, said the exercise was made compulsory for all students because it also improved physical fitness.
One of China’s most highly regarded institutions, Tsinghua University first made swimming a requirement in 1919, but it was later dropped due to the university’s popularity and a lack of swimming pools in Beijing.
However, under the rules announced on Monday, new students beginning in September will have to take the plunge and demonstrate that they can swim at least 50m (164ft) using any stroke.
The announcement has been hotly debated on social media, with some questioning whether it is reasonable to expect those who grew up in inland cities to learn how to swim as adults.
“What happens to students from arid places that have no seaside or rivers?” wrote Yixunsangyao.
Another commenter, Xishuoge, wrote: “Even though it is a ‘famous university’, it shouldn’t make up arbitrary rules, as such rules could snuff out talents.”
Others, such as Shin-ssi, praised the university for promoting a “necessary skill which can save lives”, adding: “It’s a good thing for the university to emphasise this.”
Those who appeared pleased with their own abilities to swim, made light of the announcement, asking if they could enrol as students at Tsinghua University.
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:
The Guardian reports: “Get in the water, get your shoulders under.”
A day of cold blue therapy. Where volunteer marshals lined up more than 700 competitors for 114 races at intervals timed to the second. “Get in the water, get your shoulders under,” they said briskly and everyone did, briskly. More…
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.
The New – Can I swim here? app…
Stuff.co.nz reports: Swimmers in New Zealand are now able to check online or via a new app to see if the beach or river they want to visit has clean swimming water.
Regular testing at times when swimmers most often frequent bathing places, make this real-time information invaluable, setting a new standard of transparency for swimmers living in or visiting the country. More…
Hindustan Times reports: Swimming, racquet sports and aerobics are associated with the best odds of staving off death, and in particular of reducing the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke, scientists said…
… research, published in the British Journal and Sports Medicine …analysed data from 11 annual health surveys for England and Scotland carried out between 1994 and 2008, covering 80,306 adults with an average age of 52. Participants were asked about what type and how much exercise they had done in the preceding four weeks, and whether it had been enough to make them breathless and sweaty.
Exercise included heavy domestic chores and gardening; walking; cycling; swimming; aerobics, gymnastics or dance; running; football or rugby; and badminton, tennis or squash. The survival of each participant was tracked for an average of nine years, during which time 8,790 of them died from all causes and 1,909 from heart disease or stroke.
In death from heart disease and stroke, the study found racquet sports players had a 56% lower risk, with 41% for swimming and 36% for aerobics, compared with those who did not participate in these sports.
Chico said …“I will continue to tell my patients that regular physical activity… is more effective in reducing their risk of heart disease than any drug I can prescribe.”
Despite the benefits of swimming the number of participants in the UK continues to drop.
Discover the full story: Hung Out to Dry Swimming and British Culture
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.
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.
The Mirror reports: “Almost seven in 10 of bathing sites in England now meet ‘excellent’ standard set out by the EU…”
In 2016, 287 beaches and inland swimming sites in the country met the tough top standards set out in the European Union’s Bathing Water Directive (69.5%), and 407 out of the 413 spots assessed passed the minimum grade.
But six bathing waters failed to meet even minimum standards: Scarborough South Bay, Yorkshire; Clacton (Groyne 41), Essex; Walpole Bay, Margate, Kent; Instow, Devon; Ilfracombe Wildersmouth, Devon; and Burnham Jetty North, Somerset.
The figures, which look at results for water quality over the last four years, are an improvement on 2015, the first year of results under the new EU system , when 63.6% of beaches met excellent standards.
This is partly due to improvements being made in infrastructure at or near bathing sites in recent years, which has helped reduce pollution and cut levels of harmful bacteria in swimming spots that can make people ill.
But this year’s figures are also better than 2015 because of more favourable weather conditions.
Better weather reduces the risk of overflows from sewers and storm drains and the amount of urban and agricultural pollutants washing down to the sea when there is heavy rainfall.
The 2015 results include the very wet summer of 2012, which saw water quality at bathing sites drop.Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “England’s bathing waters are enjoyed by millions of people every year, which is why I am delighted the water quality at our beaches and lakes is better than at any time since before the Industrial Revolution. More…
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
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…
BBC News reports: Thousands of people are expected to take part in a two-day open water swimming festival in London’s Hyde Park.
Dutch News reports:
Make the most of the last days of summer with a swim in a Dutch lake
The facilities for swimming in lakes and rivers are often excellent, with many boasting a mixture of spotless toilet blocks, manned car parks and refreshment vans, to ensure the best possible experience.
Amsterdam, for example, has nine official places where you can swim, if you dare, and the water is currently around 22 degrees. In fact in the Netherlands as a whole, there are around 600 official places to swim. Noord-Holland tops the provincial league with 151 but even Utrecht has 25 places you can take a safe dip.
Every province publishes an annual list of approved swimming spots, and the transport ministry – which manages 6,000 kilometres of rivers and canals – teams up with local water suppliers and the environment ministry performs weekly checks on the water quality at each site during the official swim season, between May 1 and October 1.
‘People here have always been keen swimmers but now the popularity of open water swimming is certainly increasing,’ says Ellen Julius of the Dutch swimming federation, which organised the event.
‘Swims like the one in Dordrecht are regularly happening across the country and attract lots of people. People love to take to the water in the Netherlands, but they are also well aware of the regulations around these activities,’ she adds.
And that really is the key. To all of you out there soaking up the last bits of summer, take the opportunities to swim outdoors but take heed of the warnings. Above all, enjoy.
* Visit www.zwemwater.nl for a clickable map of all the official swimming places
Bank Holiday Monday proved to be an exceptional day at Rutland Water.
Despite a damp start, the sun came out to play as did hundreds of children who delighted in the seaside atmosphere. Overflow carparks strained at the seams as thousands flocked to a facility encouraged and promoted by the Outdoor Swimming Society.
They built it and they came in their thousands.
A heartning example of what can be achieved to advance the intersets and quality of life for all.
The Bulletin reports: Wild and wet: Where to find the best natural swimming spots in Belgium. Fans of wild swimming need to head out of the capital to enjoy the pleasure of cool, non-chlorinated water.
Grand Large, Mons
For the first time in many years, swimming will be authorised at the city’s lake this summer. Up to now bathing has been forbidden due to the danger of passing boats and barges. Extensive facilities at the site include a marina, renovated club house and indoor and outdoor pools. Alternatively, one of the best places for freshwater swimming in Hainaut province is Godarville lake at Chapelle-lez-Herlaimont, between Charleroi and La Louvière. Part of the Claire-Fontaines domain and relaxation centre, it offers a range of water sports and is a paradisiacal spot when the sun shines. Both sites are accessible by public transport.
Adelaide Now reports:
A 100-year-old swimming club that started in the River Torrens is closing but only after sharing its $450,000 nest egg with the community. Gilberton Swimming Club will spread the money among the Walkerville, Klemzig, Vale Park and East Adelaide Primary schools. The $450,000 sum has grown from about $150,000 the state government paid the club when it was forced out of the Torrens swimming hole in 1970.
A ban on swimming in the river displaced the club, which received the money for land it owned either side of the Torrens pool. The homeless club has since funded children’s swimming classes in local pools instead of building a replacement pool of its own. More…
The Londonist reports: Uxbridge Lido — or Hillingdon Sports and Leisure Complex, as it’s now called — is one of London’s great resurrection stories. Thanks to a campaign to bring the lido back to life, it was reborn again in 2010…
The pavilion’s been modernised and extended, but vitally retains its 1930s sass. Sun loungers add a further touch of vintage glamour, meaning you can dip in and out of magazines/the pool over the course of an afternoon. The whole experience feels less leisure centre, more holiday resort. More…
The Daily Echo reports: FREE outdoor swimming and water safety sessions for up to 2,700 children will be held in Sandbanks Beach from the end of this month.
The Swim Safe programme, which is delivered in partnership between the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) and the RNLI, is running events from July 30 to August 18 for the public to attend. It features a land-based safety lesson with a lifeguard, followed by in-water tuition with a swimming teacher.
Ashley Jones, Site Coordinator for Swim Safe at Sandbanks said: “We’re really looking forward to running Swim Safe for the first time on Sandbanks Beach this year.
Wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with t-shirt are all provided.
If you like outdoor swimming and have traveled in Europe you’ll have been delighted to discover that swimming in rivers and lakes is very much the done thing. When on holiday in Switzerland a couple of years ago it was obvious that everyone wanted to swim when the sun shone. Lakes in Switzerland have multiple swimming places built all around them with diving boards; pontoons and changing facilities providing opportunities for fun in the water that are convenient for all. Because of our unique history both as an Empire and as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution we find that our swimming freedoms have all but vanished, well, that is until quite recently, but astonishing things can and do happen don’t they!
Just as I was enjoying the freedom to swim in the expansive swimming area at Swan Pool (Sandwell Valley Country Park) in Birmingham at the weekend, Robert Aspey was enjoying his freedom at Rutland Water (pictures above). What’s more astonishing still is that this year a new Aqua Park with slides and play equipment in the lake itself has opened for business. Rutland Water Bathing Beach has been a tremendous success; it now looks much more like a European lake than a British one.
This development is very significant. It shows a tremendous confidence that there is money to be made from outdoor recreational swimming. As there is no charge to use the bathing beach, lifeguard costs are covered by car parking charges and an array of seaside amenities that are springing up in the beach area. To use the aqua park for 55 min’s adults and children pay £15 plus £5 to hire a life jacket and another £5 for a wet-suit if desired.
This just goes to prove what has been said all along; open an outdoor swimming beach and people will come. So with these two excellent and successful examples under our belt, just as we exit Europe we may see more opportunities to get into the swim of things.
PRWEEK reports: One in Five Swedish children cannot swim. The energy firm E.ON's Swedish subsidiary has teamed up with the country's swimming federation to launch a campaign called The Power of Swimming, which aims to "inspire young people to swim and to raise water-confidence".
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…
…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.
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.
The Observer reports: Swimmers across Britain will greet the longest day by plunging into a pool tomorrow. Many will take that summer solstice dip amid the splendour of a restored public lido or municipal baths as the national appetite for preserving historic leisure facilities grows.
In Penzance, the Jubilee Pool reopened last month following a £3m repair project after storm damage in 2014. The pool, built in 1935, was first reopened in 1994 after falling into disrepair.
The new lido movement, driven by a fresh impulse to swim in the open air, has notched up a series of successful rescues. Among the star sites are south London’s Brockwell Lido, for years threatened with closure, the lido in High Wycombe, shut down in 2010, and one in Charlton, which reopened after a £2m refurbishment in 2013. In Reading, Berkshire, the team behind the restoration of Bristol’s chic Grade II-listed open-air pool at Clifton are doing extensive work on the former King’s Meadow pool, built in 1902 for women and initially fed by Thames water. It has been closed for 42 years. On the south coast, Saltdean Lido, near Brighton, was visited by communities and local government secretary Greg Clark this month to herald its restoration by 2017. Six years ago the pool was due to be filled in. More…
The BBC Reports: Ross O’Sullivan, 25, from Cardiff, started the 220-mile (354km) swim of the River Severn at the source near Llanidloes, Powys, on 1 June. On Saturday, he completed the challenge after reaching the Severn Beach at about 14:00 BST. “I was completely drained. But it was a great sense of achievement,” he said.
So far, he has raised £1,600 for motor neurone disease sufferers in memory of his uncle Jimmy, who died from the disease.
Mr O’Sullivan said he hoped he had helped promote “wild swimming” and inspired others to “take up a challenge”. More…
The Saudi Gazette reports: Mariam Saleh Binladen, a dentist from Saudi Arabia, has set a new record as the first woman to officially swim 101 miles of… the River Thames in the United Kingdom.
Swimming to inspire more women to participate in sport and to raise awareness of the plight of refugee Syrian orphans around the world, Mariam is just the third person and first woman in recent history to have successfully completed the 100+ mile open-water swimming feat. Most recently this included the British comedian and Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams, who finished the swim in 2011.
Talking about her successful swim Mariam said: “I am thrilled and very proud to be the first woman to swim 101 miles of the Thames. I wanted to show that a young woman from Saudi Arabia can achieve a lifelong ambition, whilst at the same time raise awareness to bigger causes, particularly the plight of thousands of suffering Syrian orphan refugees. I also want to encourage more women from around the world to participate in sport and show them that anything is possible. More…
Boston.com reports: Summer means swimming, and the Charles River is getting in on the action. “Love that dirty water? Too bad! It’s clean! Let’s go swimming!” the Charles River Conservancy wrote on Facebook Thursday.
Yup, that once dirty water is now swimmable, but you and your swim group will have to register ahead of time. The CitySplash Swim the Charles event is Tuesday, July 12 from 2 to 6 p.m. This marks the fourth year in a row that the Conservancy is letting Bostonians jump—but no flips off the dock, please—into the river.
ITV News reports: “The mother of a fourteen year old who died while swimming with friends in the River Wear is backing a new water safety campaign. Cameron Gosling suffered a ‘shock reaction’ after jumping into the river near Bishop Auckland last summer. His mother Fiona has joined the campaign ‘Dying to be Cool’ which is being launched by the council and emergency services to make teenagers aware that cold water shock kills.”
Sadly the campaign poster focuses on staying out of rivers lakes and reservoirs rather than on the need to acclimatize. No mention is made of cold sea water.
Please see Swim Smart
The Leicester Mercury reports: A 100-metre slip’n’slide will be helping to raise money for the Loros hospice at a family event this summer. The popular ride will be at this year’s Family Fun Day at Leicester Racecourse on Sunday, August 7.
Loros fundraising co-ordinator Laura Fitzsawyer said: “Slip’n’slides are brilliant fun and we wanted to do one to raise money for the hospice.
“Leicester Racecourse have always been really supportive of us and we asked them about putting on an event with a slip’n’slide and they said we should bring one to the Family Fun Day, which is great because there should be in the region of about 10,000 people there.”
Visitors with swimming costumes will be able to pay £3 for a single go on the slip’n’slide or £8 to have three goes. The real enthusiasts can pay £10 and get to slide all day long.
The Family Fun Day will take place between 10am and 4pm and there will be horses taking part in flat racing on the day, as well as pony rides, stilt walkers, fire displays, face-painting and some superhero visitors.
And if the slip’n’slide isn’t enough for adrenalin junkies, there will also be a bungee run, a gladiator arena, jousting, an activity castle and a fun run.
Entry to the Family Fun Day will be free for children and cost £15 for adults. More…
Wales Online reports: The River Severn is 220 miles long and Ross O’Sullivan has given himself 20 days to swim the whole thing.
The Severn is Britain’s longest river. But it’s initially too shallow to swim in, so he’ll be walking the first 50 miles or so from the source near Llandiloes to Pool Quay.
He’ll be alone and he’s not taking a tent, sleeping bag and only the minimum in cash. So he’s hoping local pubs, restaurants and hotels will provide him with board and food along the way. More…
Maureen McCoy and Paul McCambridge have produced Wild Swimming Ireland; inspiring swimmers to get off the beaten track and find amazing locations for swimming, diving and snorkeling, dipping into the top 20 of Irish Interest books on Amazon.
The Irish have a deep affinity with the water and are spoiled by some of the most beautiful outdoor swimming spots in the world.
Take a dip under the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge off the rugged coast of Ulster; circumnavigate Devenish Island in the freshwater Lough Erne; explore the rockpool at Hook Head Lighthouse; drop from high diving boards into Galway Bay; or slip along the Wild Atlantic Way’s hidden beaches and isolated coves.
From secret coves to serene rivers and lakes, there is something to suit swimmers of every ability. Expert tips, spectacular photos and practical information make wild swimming safe and invigorating for everyone. The maps, grid references and clear directions make it easy to find these locations where you can join the wild swimmers and get away from the hordes on supervised beaches and in crowded pools. Take the plunge in some of the most awe-inspiring corners of Ireland’s landscape. More…
Luxembourg Wort reports: Landlocked Luxembourg has among the cleanest swimming spots in Europe, an EU-wide water quality audit has found.
Luxembourg topped the ranking in the report released on Wednesday, recording “good” or “excellent” water quality in all 11 of its outdoor wild swimming holes.
The tests concerned bathing water at the Remerschen swimming lake in south-east Luxembourg, and at 10 sites located around the Upper Sûre Lake in the mid-north of Luxembourg. More…
The Age – Victoria reports: Fancy a swim in the Yarra River?
Watercraft regulations make it illegal and water quality makes it questionable – especially after it rains – but a not-for-profit group wants to change that by building a floating swimming pool on the river’s edge that would cost at least $6 million.
The Yarra Swim Co has released a concept design for the pool it suggests could be built on the banks of the Yarra next to Enterprize Park, where Melbourne’s settlers moored their ship in 1835.
The concept was released on Thursday night as part of Australia’s Venice Biennale Exhibition, opening this week.
The group last year pushed to revive the historic Race to Princes Bridge, a swim competition that ran from the early 1900s to the 1960s, and again in the late 1980s.
It argues that waterway pools are a growing concept globally, with plans under way for New York and London. More…
The ASA reports: A new group has been set up to investigate the links between swimming and health, and demonstrate just how good swimming is for you. The Health Commission for Swimming is an independent group made up of experts from across the health and physical activity sectors. Set up as a response to Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation, the group will explore current research around health and swimming, and provide evidence on how swimming positively impacts on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Ian Cumming, Health Education England Chief Executive and Level 3 swimming coach, will chair the Commission group. He said: “Over the last six months there has been a distinct shift in the national debate about the value of physical activity and the contribution it can make to the health of the nation.
“Swimming is unique; anyone can do it regardless of age, ability or health condition. It is the only physical activity that can be done from birth right through to older age, and with over 16 million people swimming at least once a month, it is well-placed to respond to many of the country’s key health and social concerns.
“We already know that just 30 minutes
of swimming each week can significantly benefit general levels of
health and wellbeing. This new Commission group will seek to identify
and conclusively demonstrate how swimming can help combat a range of
health conditions within the population.” Read more…
Comment: With much in the news lately about the hidden risks associated with swimming pools perhaps outdoor swimming will be considered as a healthy alternative.
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…
The Sun Parramatta Holroyd reports: The first full summer season of swimming at Lake Parramatta attracted 12,000 visitors between October 31 and March 13, according to the Australian Lifeguard Service.
Swimming was re-introduced to the lake for the first time in more than 70 years last year as part of the Parramatta River Catchment Group’s ‘Our Living River’ campaign to return swimming to the river by 2025.
“Lake Parramatta has been a popular spot for swimming since January last year and I’m sure it will continue to be for many summers to come,” Parramatta lord mayor Paul Garrard said.
The water temperature throughout the season ranged from a comfortable 20 to 27°C, well within safe swimming guidelines.
Bacteria levels were good outside of the rain periods.
While lifeguards won’t return to the lake until October, it remains open for swimming all year round.
It’s recommended people don’t swim for three days after heavy rain due to water quality concerns.
Lake Parramatta, North Parramatta NSW 2151, Australia
The Telegraph reports: Organisers of Stert Island Swim, which was first held in 1915, cancel 2016 event after waters are deemed unsafe by EU – despite apparently being cleaner than ever.
The Stert Island Swim, which takes place every year off Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset, has fallen foul of the EU’s decision to significantly increase the pass-mark for safe bathing waters.
Burnham Jetty North was one of 10 beaches that were previously regarded as safe but have been deemed too dirty for swimming under the new standards, which are roughly twice as tough as the old ones.
He said organisers would “reconsider holding the event in 2017 if the sea water improves or if we’re no longer in the EU and the sea water regulations return to how they were”. More…
The Daily Post reports: When snow envelops the Welsh mountains, and ice forms across upland lakes, most people would pull their coat collars a little tighter and head inside for warmth.
Vivienne’s swimming obsession, which began in childhood and endured into adult life, has now been documented by the Eyes & Ears group of filmmakers from London.
For their beautifully shot short film, called Afterglow, they followed her for three days to capture the essence of wild swimming in Snowdonia’s frigid lakes, from snowy Llyn Idwal to serene Llyn Padarn.
“Vivienne is remarkable,” said director Tommaso Di Paola. “She was shivering for about three hours afterwards. Did I go in? No, but now I wish I had.” Watch Now…
BBC News reports: “You’re out in the elements, you’re connecting to nature. There’s always a chance that a fish might jump up at you or a seal might swim alongside you.”
“Once you’re submerged and your body’s under, it’s fine. It’s the coldness in the water which I find invigorating, and you don’t get that in a swimming pool.” More…
The Guardian reports: You think it’s cold out?
Try going to Tampere, Finland, where temperatures can hit -25C in
winter (-5C is considered a warm day). Now hold that thought – and
imagine going for a swim in a frozen lake in those conditions. This is
what locals in this inland city like to do each day, warming up in a
sauna before taking a dip in breathtakingly cold water. Finnish born
photographer Markku Lahdesmaki spent some time documenting this magical ritual
at one of the lakes near Tampere; producing a short film that captures
people of all ages calmly stepping into the hole in the ice. Far too
casually in our minds. With winter swimming festivals happening around the world right now, this lot truly are an inspiration.