Why is our CEO, Sean, swimming in the Thames in the middle of winter?
The number of swimmers plunging into a lake, river or the sea has exploded in recent years with open water swimmers recognising the significant mental and physical health benefits of cold water immersion.
Swimming in nature is an exhilarating experience which brings a huge sense of personal achievement. Acclimatising to cold water is challenging and training your body’s cold response is as much an achievement as completing the swim!
The physical benefits are significant, you can expect to increase your energy levels, give your immune system a boost, help regulate your nervous system and improve your circulation.
The outdoor swimming scene is very social. There are numerous groups of like-minded swimmers who meet regularly to enjoy a cold dip and then a warming breakfast.
After tentatively trying the swim lanes at Nirvana Spa a few years ago, Sean’s swimming has gone from strength to strength and he has entered several open water swim challenges. Now, encouraged by fellow (crazy) swimmers from Tri 50* he is embarking on his biggest challenge yet… a cross channel swim relay!
Most outdoor swimmers are tempted to stop when the water temperature drops below 10 degrees or at least wear a wetsuit. Training for a channel swim however, requires Sean to keep up his outdoor immersions even on the coldest of days and without a wetsuit! Each weekend you will find his relay team plunging into the river Thames at Medmenham. Training even took place when there was snow on the ground and the river was an icy 2.5 degrees. We can only assume he loves the zing!
Between these uncomfortable dips, Sean and his team build their endurance with long, low intensity indoor swims. Over the coming months, the team will head to the coast to acclimatise to the sea. They will need to learn to cope with the unpredictable conditions, sea sickness, jelly fish and boats; the English Channel is the busiest shipping channel in the world with approximately 1000 vessels per day in its waters! In April the whole team must complete a two hour continuous qualifying swim in temperatures of 16 degrees or below without a wetsuit!
The channel challenge
Did you know …..More people have climbed Mount Everest than have swum the channel!
The Channel Swim Team Relay will take place in the middle of July, the exact date will be determined by the weather and the tides. Each of the six swimmers will swim for one hour each before handing over to the next swimmer. Although the distance from Dover to Calais is 21 nautical miles due to the nature of the tide and sea conditions, swimming 30+ miles is a regular occurrence. Each member of the team will swim one hour continuously, before swapping over to the next swimmer. The swimmers will be raising money for Alzheimer’s.
We will be following and supporting Sean’s training for this epic swim over the next few months.
*Tri50 provides specialised triathlon training for mature athletes. They focus on a quality approach to training to reduce the risk of injury and maximise potential.