The Her Spirit community has been a great support during my swimming journey

So here is my story ….

By Nicola Edson – Januarys Swim Secure Winter Swim Challenge Swimmer of the month

I started open-water swimming in 2021.  Initially, I went on an introductory course just to get a little bit more comfortable with the water as I was doing a lot of paddleboarding but had started getting scared of falling in.  However, I didn’t just get a bit more comfortable with the water I absolutely loved it and a new hobby was born!

My introductory session was in one of my favourite places, Windermere, and it was there that I returned for my first event – a mile in which I swam mostly breaststroke. I wanted to swim crawl but could only manage very short distances at a time.  For months I tried, frustrated that I just could not quite get the breathing right, then one overcast February day in the Liverpool docks it suddenly clicked.  Windermere still feels like my swimming home, and I returned there again last year to complete an end-to-end.  Sadly, that body of water does sometimes suffer from pollution issues so I hope something can be done to ensure we can all continue to enjoy that beautiful place for many years to come.

When I started swimming I was concerned about the cold but no longer! I embrace it, I love it, it makes me feel alive.  Just being out in the fresh air is hugely relaxing and getting into the water, the cares of the day float away.  That doesn’t mean swimming can’t be hard, sometimes it does feel like a fight with the water but then other times the magic happens, it feels almost effortless, gliding over the water, if only for a short time.  

If I were to highlight a few things I have discovered along my swimming journey it would be these:

  • The open-water swimming community is, without question, the most supportive community I have ever encountered.  Everyone is welcoming and happy to answer questions, nobody judges or cares what shape or size you are, what you are wearing or how well you can swim. So, if you are feeling nervous don’t be, go out and get involved.
  • The choice is always yours, whether to swim, how long to stay in, what stroke to swim, whether to wear a wetsuit, and the list goes on.  Remember to do what feels good for you on the day. It’s your swim, always.
  • No two days are ever the same, the temperature is different, the weather is different, and the mood of the water is different.  Don’t let this put you off but embrace it. As long as it’s safe give it a go.  You get to swim a different swim every time. How good is that!
  • With a bit of encouragement, you can achieve far more than you think you can.  Entering events or setting challenges isn’t what everyone wants to do but, if you ever find yourself thinking “I wish I was able to….” then go for it because with a bit of training and persistence, you will be able to.

Onwards to more swimming adventures!

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