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Why we swim

A foot plunges into the icy blackness. Cold penetrates the skin like a knife. Bit by bit, the rest of the body becomes submerged. Slow, intentional movements. One leg, then the other. A cautious step forward. Edging in, feeling for the river bed. Numb from the waist down. It’s time to take the plunge. A leap of faith The intentional part is done. Now there’s nothing for it but to submit completely to the water. Falling slowly forwards. Every breath is an effort. Slow down, don’t gasp. Lie still, weightless. Wait for the panic to pass. Self-awareness is all-consuming. Focus…

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What I learned from a Winter of wild swimming

Last January, I sat in a cafe with a friend looking out at the snow on the ground. We talked about starting wild swimming in a few months time and laughed at the irony of discussing it while the weather was so cold. We agreed to start wild swimming in May and carry on until the school summer holidays. Perhaps we’d even be brave and manage to one or two swims in September. Over a year later, Spring officially starts in under a fortnight and we’ve completed our first Winter of wild swimming. Here are a few things I learned.…

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