i can vividly remember the effort it took for me to cross the pool, aged 9 or 10, to achieve a 25 yard swimming certificate – a strange mixture of breast stroke and doggie paddle. the certificate was red and while i knew i hadn’t done a proper job, i was very proud of it!
my technique hadn’t improved much until i had a few swimming lessons a couple of years ago and finally i was able to do a ‘proper’ breaststroke – how sweet that was to do a whole length with proper leg movements and breathing.
and now i have for a taste for more and am trying out crawl thanks to some brilliant youtube clips by swimming without stress.
i lived in pembrokeshire for a couple of years and from june to november i swam almost every day, sometimes twice a day. sea swimming is glorious and exhilerating. on one occasion, while swimming back to shore, i had the thought “i would rather do this and die than not do this” – which rather shocked me as well as feeling the truth of it.
i swam in the teifi river last summer and was, literally, swept away by the current – dangerous i accept, and wonderful too – my only thought was ‘wow! this river is so powerful!’ a moment of such presence. i would love to do some more river swimming like this and love the’fishman’ who swims in the river in yellowstone park – watch this wonderful short film of him.
returning to shropshire last summer left me thrilled to see lots of friends and somewhat landlocked, until a dear friend took me swimming in a reservoir! and i went on to initiate other friends – just too good not to share. this is a special kind of wild swimming as you are literally in the hills.
roger deakin’s book ‘waterlog’ is quite widely known now and for good reason – it is a beautiful and inspiring book and has done a lot to remind us of the simple and exquisite joys of wild swimming. his other books are great too!
the outdoor swimming society has loads of resources and is worth checking out.