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CWS Interview: Embracing the thrills cold water swimming

CWS Interview: Embracing the Thrills Cold Water Swimming

In this interview, we sit down with Amy, an avid cold water swimming enthusiast based in London, UK.

Amy has been passionately exploring the icy waters of the British coastline for several years, finding joy, solace, and connection with nature through her swims.

Our Interview with Amy, the cold water swimmer

The team at Cold Water Swim picked Amy’s brain for top tips when open water swimming!

To start off, could you share what drew you to cold water swimming in the first place?

I’ve always been captivated by the sea and the outdoors. The idea of challenging myself by immersing in cold water seemed intriguing. It’s the balance with nature that keeps me grounded and energised.

I took part in a triathlon in 2020 and found the swimming section to be invigorating, but it was only when my friend suggested I join her for a cold water swimming trip that I fully recognised the true benefits.

After my first proper dip, I knew I was hooked and three years later I’m fitting in at least one cold water swim a week.

What were your initial thoughts and feelings when you took your first dip into cold water?

I remember that moment vividly. It was a mix of excitement and nervousness. The initial shock of the cold was intense, but as I started moving and swimming, I felt a rush of endorphins and a profound sense of vitality. It was addictive in the best way.

It was my friend who initially suggested I try cold water swimming – or ice swimming as she introduced it, and I was definitely sceptical.

I only went with her that first time as a bit of fun and to have a laugh, but little did I know that cold water swimming would change my whole perspective of life. Truly amazing.

What were your initial thoughts and feelings when you took your first dip into cold water?

How did you overcome the challenges of adapting to the cold water?

It wasn’t easy at first. I took it slow, starting with short swims and gradually extending the time.

The key is controlled breathing – taking deep, deliberate breaths helps manage the initial shock. Over time, my body has adapted, and I can stay in longer without as much discomfort.

I always wear a wetsuit, which certainly helps. I also have a bobble hat, which I often pop on to help keep my head and ears warm while I swim – I don’t tend to put my head under the water if I can help it!

What advice would you give to someone who’s considering trying cold water swimming for the first time?

Safety first! Always swim with a buddy, especially when you’re new to it.

Start in the warmer months and wear a suitable wetsuit to protect yourself from hypothermia. Other equipment that I use includes a tow float, swim booties, gloves, my trusty bobble hat, and a whistle.

Listen to your body and know your limits – every swim doesn’t have to be a marathon.

How has cold water swimming impacted your overall well-being?

Immensely. It’s not just a physical exercise; it’s a mental and emotional one, too. Swimming in cold water clears my mind, reduces stress, and lifts my spirits.

If you are having a day where your mental health isn’t doing too great (we all have those days), taking a swim is the best medicine – for me, personally, anyway. The cold is so invasive, that you don’t really have time to think of anything else.

Then, the adrenaline and buzz after you exit the water always puts you in a positive mood, no matter what bullshit you are dealing with at home or work.

The connection with nature is profound – it’s like a meditation in motion.

How has cold water swimming impacted your overall well-being?
Group of cold water swimmers

Are there any specific rituals or practices you follow before and after your cold water swims?

Definitely. Before a swim, I do some gentle stretches to warm up my muscles. I also make sure I’m well-hydrated and have had a light snack, like a cereal bar.

After the swim, I immediately change into warm clothes to prevent getting chilled, and I enjoy a hot drink and a healthy snack to refuel. My favourite is a hot chocolate.

What’s your favourite cold water swimming memory or experience?

Oh, that’s a tough one! There have been so many memorable moments.

One that stands out is a sunrise swim in Brighton on a winter morning last November. The colours reflecting on the water, the silence, and the sense of being the only one awake in the world – it was magical.

So far, I have only gone open water swimming in the United Kingdom, but it would be great to go abroad. The Scandinavian countries are on my bucket list!

How do you deal with the colder months when the water temperature drops even further?

Winter swimming certainly requires extra preparation. I wear a high-quality wetsuit designed for colder temperatures and neoprene gloves and booties to keep warm.

Having a hot flask of tea or hot chocolate waiting for me after the swim is a lifesaver. I always slip into my dry robe after I get out of my wet equipment as it helps me get dry and toasty. I also like to sit in my warmed-up car for five or ten minutes, as this lets me hide from the wind, as well as the cold.

Lastly, what advice do you have for fellow enthusiasts who want to make cold water swimming a regular part of their lives?

Consistency is key. Make it a habit, even if it’s just a quick dip.

Find a supportive community – there’s something special about sharing this experience with others. And most importantly, savour the moments.

Cold water swimming offers a unique connection with nature that’s worth every chilly splash!

Consistency is key

Conclusion

Amy’s enthusiasm for cold water swimming is truly inspiring.

Her dedication to the practice and her deep connection with nature exemplifies the transformative power of embracing challenges and stepping out of one’s comfort zone.

Whether you’re a seasoned swimmer or considering your first plunge, Amy’s interview insights remind us of the beauty and rewards that cold water swimming can bring.