Update from Robin, our Open Water enthusiast

Brian Dalgleish

By Robin Szmidt
SAST Life Member, Senior Club & Masters Squad swimmer and Open Water Swimming Enthusiast


We're all feeling fed up and locked-down and locked-out of the pools.  Some Masters live close enough to water to have kept wild-swimming all through but it's not easy. River temperatures are now mostly sub 5C and the sea is only a little warmer at 5-8C.


In the Doon recently, against the flow, it was possible only to swim hard for about 10 minutes as the flow drains both strength and body heat.  The river pushes back like an endless pool and progress was zero metres!   In the really hard frosts we had to break the ice to even get in a river side ice hole while the main flow was bringing knife-sharp plates of ice sliding past.  We're all anxious about loss of fitness and core strength and want to keep going; but what else can we do?  (YES, land training etc.) 


Wild swimming is a real buzz but it is potentially very dangerous.  If you're interested, first talk to your coach as well as family and anyone with proper experience for advice.  Make sure you have a swim buddy and watcher (within Covid guidelines).  Only then consider getting in the water.  Winter's not over yet and temperatures are still falling - how low can you go?  I was booked to go to the Scandinavian Winterswim Championships (non-wetsuit) in northern Sweden in February (50m ice-fly and 50m freestyle).  Each year they cut the pool out of a frozen river for the event and constantly skim it with nets as it refreezes during the gala.  Sadly, like everything, that's been cancelled and travel’s not possible anyway, so I'll just look forward to more local fun and games.


Take care everyone!

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