Those who spend time near the water, whether a serene lake or an expansive coast, are likely to be familiar with the individuals and groups who take to the water for wild swimming. Over the past few years, this activity has taken off. Wild swimming communities and groups have appeared across North America, all of which tend to celebrate the benefits of embracing wild waters.
What is particularly interesting, however, is how the popularity of this watersport has come to be sustained through winter too. Some might assume the low temperatures and cold water would deter swimmers but, in fact, many choose to embrace it. Asking any cold water swimmer why they enjoy the low temperatures of wild water might be a long conversation since the community is generally eager to share the many benefits and motivations. There’s even a chance that they may persuade you to give it a try. If you do feel ready and motivated to embrace the challenge, there are a few things you need to know first.
Swim With Others
When starting out as a cold water swimmer, it is generally recommended that you swim with others. This is because there is an element of risk when starting out and some first-time swimmers might be shocked at how their body reacts to the cold water. Bringing along friends or joining a cold water swimming group is a great way to keep yourself safe and to learn from those more experienced too.
Dry Off, Warm Up
It is crucial that you consider your safety when getting out of the water and that you seek to dry yourself off and warm up as quickly as possible. Most swimmers will generally have a changing robe, towel, and hot drink ready for when they are back on land, ensuring that they are best prepared to support their body after the shock of the cold water.
When shopping for wetsuits and swimming accessories, you might notice a number of them have stark and colourful designs, especially items like hats and goggles. This is because visibility is a crucial component of wild swimming, especially when swimmers become more comfortable in the water.
Bright colours and designs ensure that other swimmers and those on land can easily keep track of your movements, ensuring that, should be experience any danger, you can be located and helped quickly.
Know Your Limit
Many swimmers will take a waterproof watch or time-keeping device with them when they swim out in cold water. This is because time, when an individual is submerged in colder temperatures, is important. When starting out, it is crucial that cold water swimmers know their limits and don’t push themselves too far or else they risk putting themselves in danger.
Most experienced swimmers recommend limiting themselves to increments of a single minute, adding more time only when the temperature of the water changes or a person becomes more confident with their ability.