This time last year I had just started open water swimming

By Sally Ward

So here is my story ….

It was something I had wanted to try for a long time but didn’t have the confidence to do so. I saw a post from Gillibob on my FB about a taster session and thought, why not?

Then came the Winter Swim Challenge… I’d not swum in the winter before, I didn’t know if I would enjoy it, didn’t know how cold it would get and if I would cope, but inspired by Cath, The Merthyr Mermaid at the Halloween Swim I signed up and set my initial target at 220 minutes. 10 minutes a week, should be doable.

Very soon I realised just how addictive cold water swimming was! My target passes quickly and I raised it, first to 500 minutes, then to 2500 minutes as it became clear I was going to pass that.

I was hooked. I swam at every opportunity, in lakes, rivers and sea. Wherever I went I took my swim gear with me and contacted local swim groups to find people to enjoy the water with.

I was swimming 4 or 5 times a week, and loving it.

Every winter of my adult life I have suffered with fairly severe Season Affective Disorder. Not this time! The time spend outdoors in cold water completely transformed winter for me. From a time of depression and lethargy to a season of happiness and energy. The warmth of my fellow swimmers and the lovely communities I have found giving me so much joy ❤️

In the end I completed 2706 minutes – and loved every one of them (even if my swearing as I entered the water made others think I wasn’t having fun!!)

Without Her Spirit (and their wonderful swim angels) I would never have made that first step (splash?).
The community has encouraged and inspired me at every turn. From coaching sessions to signing up for crazy challenges they have been with me the whole time. 
The biggest barrier for me was myself. My own lack of confidence, my menopausal brain riddled with anxiety and self doubt. 
Not only did Her Spirit get me into the water but they have helped me navigate my way to menopause help and I feel so much better! 

Sign up for the Winter Swim Challenge

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