If you have never been wild swimming before, the thought of taking a dip in the great outdoors can seem exciting, and a little bit scary! It is a whole different world to churning up and down your local pool, and it can be an immensely rewarding and invigorating experience. Here are some tips to help you take your first outdoor dip.
What exactly is wild swimming?
Wild swimming, also known as open water swimming, is outdoor swimming in natural bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, and the sea. If you have never tried this before, late summer and early autumn are a great time of year to start, because the water temperature will be at its warmest, allowing for a gentle introduction to the sport!
How to keep safe when wild swimming
It is important to take safety precautions when choosing your location for outdoor swimming. Avoid rivers and seas with strong currents, as you will not be able to control the direction of your swim, and may have difficulty reaching shore.
Check out the depth of the water before you get in, especially if you intend to jump or dive. There may be hidden obstacles such as rocks, tree branches, or rubbish that you cannot see. It is important not to get too cold if you are unused to unheated water, as hypothermia and cold-water shock can be very dangerous.
For your first few dips at least, it is best to wear a wetsuit or thermal swimwear to allow you to acclimatise gradually to the temperature. If you do get cold and tired, and your teeth are chattering, get out of the water as soon as possible, and get warm and dry.
Avoid swimming alone, so if you do get into trouble, someone can help or raise the alarm. Swimming in company will also make the wonders of the open water even more exciting!
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