Open Water Swimming... In February

You're in for a treat this week. To start with, for only the second time in Trihard history there is video content on this blog.

And secondly, I'm going to share some video that I originally posted on the One Year No Year Beer Facebook group. I actually post quite a lot of video content on that group and want to do a bit more of that on here, because it's a lot easier than writing!

Anyway, one of the things I love most about triathlon is open water swimming. Where I live there are several lakes and reservoirs with organised sessions and I'm less than half an hour away from the coast if I fancy a spot of sea swimming.

But this is confined to the summer months and usually when wearing my wetsuit. As a result I'm also on a Facebook group called the Outdoor Swimming Society. So I was quite astounded to discover that a lot of the members of this group don't confine their activities to the summer months and don't bother with wetsuits.

A very extreme example of this was recently featured on the BBC.

But what has this all got to do with One Year No Beer? Well, while OYNB is, as the name suggests, having a break from alcohol, it's a lot more than just that. It's about really pushing your personal boundaries, taking on new challenges and embracing new challenges.

One of the members of the group has really taken this to heart and is taking part in a 1.5km swim in the Arctic Circle. Yes, you read that right, the Arctic Circle!

Last weekend I attended an OYNB meet up in Brighton. We were meeting for a late lunch and this particular member asked whether anyone was interested in a refreshing dip in the sea beforehand.

"Why not?" I thought, as did a few others.

But as I approached the meeting point I began to question exactly what I was doing (excuse the language)...

After meeting my friends we sat around for a while, waiting for some stragglers. We'd arranged to meet at 12.30pm to swim at 1pm. I was one of two males taking on this ludicrous challenge but he was yet to arrive.

By 1pm he still hadn't so we made our way to the shore and prepared to go in...

There is video footage of my dip in the sea that another member took but in short, it was quite a shock to the system.

As I do in the Summer months I just threw myself in and swam for my life, hoping I'd soon warm up. But after about 10 strokes I had to make my way back in and raced to my pile of clothes. But I have to confess once I was on dry land again, and warming up, I had quite a rush of euphoria.

But then my phone started ringing. It was Matt, who we'd been waiting for. "I couldn't find a place to park. Are you still going in?"

"We've already been in!" I told him.

"What was it like?"

"F*cking freezing, but you should definitely give it a go!"

"I'll be there in a minute, is anyone still in?"

They weren't. But I couldn't let him miss out on this amazing experience and I couldn't let him go in on his own. So I went in again...

So would I reccomend Open Water Swimming in February? Kind of. It's certainly an experience. However with any type of OWS I'd definitely make sure you are with a group (both in the water and on dry land). And I wouldn't advise my approach - certainly make sure you ease yourself into the water.

But if this is the sort of activity that floats your boat then definitely check out the Outdoor Swimming Society Facebook page and at least give it a go in the Summer months.


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