Updated: Jul 24, 2019
Hello, my name is Corinne and I’m a wild swimming addict. It has been over 24 hours since my last swim, and I’m starting to get grumpy.
This is one of those weird things that no one really talks much about. No one tells you this before you get in the water. Only afterwards do they drop the bombshell, “oh it’s sooo addictive isn’t it?” Well I used to enjoy a nice lie in on a Saturday, but not anymore!
As I don't currently have a job I knew that I'd be able to pop into the sea whenever I fancied. Living a short drive away from my favourite beach is wonderful. I thought I’d just pop into the sea a couple of times a week maybe, or just once on the weekend. I of course thought I’d do a couple of sessions in the pool too. What a fool I was. After the first dip on that cold winter morning, I was hooked. I instantly started working out how many times I could go in during the week, asking around the group to see when other people were going to be out swimming. I even changed my job search to look for jobs that were near the sea, so I could go for a lunchtime dip!
I’ve never been a fan of sports, I just never understood the attraction. I’ve dabbled with tennis, and kayaking, and I did swim for my school and in a club for a few years in my early teens. I’m not really competitive (especially if I think I can’t win!) so I’ve spent most my life avoiding exercise. I have however, always been a fan of water. Whenever I was away with my family on holiday, I was always the first in the pool or the sea. Whenever I’m at the beach I always have a paddle, even if it’s midwinter. I also love a good riverbank! Being still and looking under hanging trees for movement in the water, deciding whether the water was “fishy” or not must hark back to days course fishing with my Dad. So how I’ve missed properly wild swimming I have no idea, it’s like I was destined to do it!
Wild swimming has this amazing ability to take over your life. From that first armpit freezing dip in natures pool, your brain decides it enjoys this weird feeling. You need more, you want to know more, experience more. I think about swimming ALL THE TIME. I had no idea I could feel this way about anything (sorry husband!). I lay in bed the night before a swim thinking about how good it will be and what route I’m going to take. I get an excited tummy hours before I get in the water. This is definitely something other swimmers I’ve chatted to experience. You’ve gotta have a pre swim excited wee! I spend hours pouring over maps and driving up and down the coast checking out the beaches to see where I'd like to swim. I’ve treated myself to OS maps of the local area so I can spot good swim spots. I follow more outdoor swimmers on social media than anything else. And don’t get me started on the gear…I’ll have to do another separate post about that!
These are all the practical addictive things. The most wonderful addictive thing you get from wild swimming is the rush. I’ve found its strongest in cold water (less than 10oC for me), but you still get a buzz in any kind of wild water. The feeling when you come out of the water is like the best high you can get. I'm sure it's like drugs. You're all floaty and smiley and full of adrenalin and want to go back in again. It’s hard to describe, but it’s totally unbeatable. It sets you up for the day (occasionally it makes you sleepy, so a nap is definitely a good thing), makes your skin feel all rosy and refreshed, and makes your brain feel like you’ve given it a good wash!
Hints and tips:
Make time in your day for swimming.
Go in the morning if you can to set you up for the day.
Make sure your family/friends understand that swimming is your life partner now!