The Outdoor Swimmers' Handbook: Collected Wisdom on the Art, Sport and Science of Outdoor Swimming

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The Outdoor Swimmers' Handbook: Collected Wisdom on the Art, Sport and Science of Outdoor Swimming

The Outdoor Swimmers' Handbook: Collected Wisdom on the Art, Sport and Science of Outdoor Swimming

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It was a high point for me, a marker of how far we had come as a community – all of us amateurs out there in this big(ish) river, capable of swimming for hours, in all weathers, engaged together in wordless communion with this thing that we love. Speaking to kayakers can be a great way to find out about swimming in the sea as they tend to be more risk adverse, so then I think about it with a swimmer’s mindset. The first book on the theory and techniques of swimming was presented to the world in 1587 by Cambridge don Everard Digby in his De Arte Natandi (‘The Art of Swimming’). The OSS ‘Regional Rep’ programme, whereby a few swimmers across the UK started social swim communities in their areas via Facebook, mushroomed into the hundreds of independent social wild swim groups that exist today. So many swimmers have helped create this movement and form and articulate this knowledge over the years – may it help make water accessible to millions more.

Outdoor Swimmer Magazine News - Outdoor Swimmer Magazine

Learn how to handle the fear of deep water Many swimmers have a "fear of the deep", especially on dull days. Many people don’t get in because they’re so freaked out by the opaque depths – you’re so insignificant in water and you can’t control everything that’s going to happen to you. The Outdoor Swimmers Handbook is a really important, inspiring book, written by someone at the heart of the outdoor swimming movement that –– over the last fifteen years –– has encouraged millions of people to experience the wonders and friendships of Britain’s rivers, lakes and seas.In this extract from the book’s introduction she describes the joy- and hazard-filled early days of The OSS as she and others blazed a trail through the waterways of the UK. There were days when we cancelled or aborted swims for fear of sewage or blue-green algae and occasions when whimsical swim plans (‘Let’s swim down a tributary into the Thames! There are plenty of ways to learn more about swimming safely outdoors, from taking an introductory course to reading up on the subject ( The Outdoor Swimmers’ Handbook includes a lot of information about risk assessments, understanding tides and much more).

Outdoor Swimming 5 Tips for Getting Started with Outdoor Swimming

There is a perception that you need lots of kit when getting started with wild swimming - in particular, the much maligned Dryrobe. We are a society of people who don’t follow, a tribe of non-joiners, but one thing many of us share alongside a love of water is the desire to share our finds, questions and experiences.Through the lenses of community, the environment and mental health, Toes in the Water is a collection of inspiring stories exploring why the underwater world can have such a profound impact on people. Owen Hayman is a horticulturist, member of the OSS Inland Access Group and founder of SOuP (Sheffield Outdoor Plungers). I am super excited to have been able to group it all together in what I hope is a really accessible, beautiful fun to read book.

The Outdoor Swimmers’ Handbook - Outdoor Swimming Society

There were days when we cancelled or aborted swims for fear of sewage or blue-green algae, when in retrospect we were just unfamiliar with tree pollen, and the occasions when whimsical swim plans (‘Let’s swim down a tributary into the Thames! You’re going to see a lot above and underneath the water, so possibly get goggles without a tint as that will colour the whole natural world you’re about to go and enjoy. If you’re somewhere the water is taking you, you can swim defensively – you lie on your back, feet first, and look out in front of you and keep your arms out, feet out in front, not looking up too much that your bum drops as then you can hit rocks. But at this point in history people needed to hear that it was ‘allowed’, so we went around ‘sanctioning’ swimming.It’s important to be aware of the fact that you are going to be much colder ten minutes after you get out of the water than you are in it, so err on the side of caution. Kate advocates taking a moment before swimming to tune into where you are, and making a basic assessment about whether the water looks appealing and safe. Or, the further you are from hypothermia you are when you get in, the further you are from hypothermia when you get out.



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