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Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Natural Home For Open Water Swimming, Year-round

Who needs a pool, when you have Windermere?

While most people grab a coat and hat when they go out on Boxing Day, 70 swimmers grabbed their swimsuit and goggles.

They participated in the inaugural Chillswim Boxing Day Dip at the Brockhole Visitor Centre in Windermere today. With mist on the horizon and 6ºC (42.6ºF) water enveloping them, the aquatic adventurists were all in with smiles for a festive dip.

"Ages ranged from 9 to over 60, and 70 participants travelled from around the North West to take part in the event, many swimming for charity and plenty swimming just for fun or for something different to do after a day of indoor based Christmas activities," explains event director Colin Hill.

"The Boxing Day Dip was our third winter swimming event [run by Lake District-based Chillswim]. We are hosting the second Big Chill Swim Windermere in February 2014, and entries are already sold out."

The hardiest swimmer Debbie Patterson swam for 22 minutes. “It’s not often I get to say that I’m the best at something, I’m never first, but I was delighted to be first in and last out today – it was a beautiful day for a swim."

Unlike FINA competitions where swimwear is closely monitored, the event allowed everyone to wear anything from traditional wear to wetsuits and the fanciful Bruce Evans who works for South Lakeland District Council.

Together with co-organiser Steph Cox, Hill said, “It was fantastic to see such a range of people taking part in this dip, from children to grandparents, and some great fancy dress efforts! We are delighted to have the support of the Lake District National Park and that this event will be on the Brockhole Visitor Centre and Cumbria Tourism annual calendar from now on. Save the date, and we look forward to seeing swimmers and dippers again next year.”

Andrea Runkee, Cumbria Tourism’s Adventure Capital Project Manager, observed, "Cumbria is home to lakes, meres, waters, and tarns making it a natural home for open water swimming. Chillswim’s Boxing Day Dip gave people the chance to try the uplifting experience of winter swimming, something that should be experienced by everyone at least once. Events like this whet the appetite for future adventures.”

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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