OPEN WATER AND WILD SWIMMING

This section has been created in collaboration with Loretta Cox and Rachel Andrews. Who are brilliant supporters of Bluetonic and both have knowledge and experience that they are keen to share to increase safe participation in swimming as both a sport and a leisure activity. They have also both been part of our winter cold water catch up (see details below).

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RACHEL ANDREWS

Rachel is a YouTube star known as the everyday athlete. She has an amazing amount of knowledge that she shares via her channel. She is determined to provide content that busts myths and supports people choices when looking to swim safely in open water.

Rachel's content is second to none, she works tirelessly to identify common questions about open water and wild swimming. Then creates videos that are warm, friendly and massively informative. Check out her content using the link below.

Rachel's YouTube

LORETTA COX

Loretta is a triple crown swimmer and channel swimming coach currently working towards achieving the oceans 7 challenge. She has already swum the English Channel and the Catalina channel.

Loretta volunteers to provide free channel swimming coaching and is passionate about increasing safe access for people to enjoy open water swimming.

Her next swim she will be looking to be the oldest lady to swim the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland.

A true inspiration coming to swimming after a knee injury halted her running career. She has recently had a 2nd total knee replacement.

Her relationship with Swimming and water is documented in her book "In at the deep end"

Her record breaking attempt does rely on crowd funding to find out more please click on the link below.


 
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INCREASING PARTICIPATION AND CONNECTING PEOPLE

We are keen to help people safely get into  swimming in the outdoors. We want to do this by providing advice on how to get involved as well as connecting like minded together. As part of this our Cold Water Catch Up  Facebook group is a great place to pose a question and meet like minded people.

When thinking about swimming outdoors if you have any health concerns speak to your doctor. A good place to start can be a local lifeguarded venue often they will run taster sessions. For more information please read RLSS guide to swimming outdoors in the UK.

If you are looking more towards a wild swimming experience as well as the Cold Water Catch Up Facebook Group a great place to start is to research local groups.


Swimming is a very social sport and on Facebook there are lots of excellent groups where you can join and then ask questions about equipment, places and meet people with similar interests. Make sure you are careful when online, we recommend you follow the stay safe online information here, to minimise risks.


These groups can be focused on the whole of UK, a local area, specialist support such as disabilities or even a wider themes relating to things like art and swimming:

National groups:

Open Water Swimmers UK

Outdoor Swimming Society

Examples of local groups:

Midland Inland Swimmers

Midlands based Swim and Tonic

Example of support specific group:

Adaptive / Disabled Open Water Swimmers

Example connecting around an activity and swimming:

Art For Swimmers

 
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COLD WATER CATCH UP

Through the winter and inline with the shorter evenings, Bluetonic runs a free online cold water catch up every Wednesday evening at 7:30pm. Some weeks this involves guest speakers talking about their experiences. The sessions always allow the opportunity for people to chat in smaller break out rooms. Connecting people from across the country to talk all things swimming. So as a newbie looking to take the plunge or as an experienced swimmer looking to share your insight the cold water catch up offers something for everyone.

 

OUR PREVIOUS GUESTS

As well as Rachel and Loretta we have had some brilliant guests on our weekly catch up. You can find most of our guests in our Cold Water Catch Up Facebook group which is a place for people to connect about swimming outdoors. Why not join, if you pose a question we have such a wide ranging group of people interested in swimming its a great place to get advice.

DAVID BURKE

David lost his leg as a boy when a stock car hit him and his family when coming of the track and into spectators at an event. He did not let this hold him back representing Ireland in the early 80’s as a Para Olympian.


David interest in swimming did dwindle. But on meeting a new partner it was rekindled. Getting back into the water and moving into open water swimming. This has included relay swims in the Northern and English channels and to him setting two world records in open water.


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SHAUNA TATE

Shauna is a 30yr old mother of two who has found refuge in cold water from the many battles she has faced whilst growing up. Shauna was brilliant in talking about how outdoor swimming has boosted her mental well-being.

Water is definitely a place of sanctuary and solace for Shauna and she is passionate about helping others engage in swimming outdoors.  

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EMMA O'BRIEN AND PENNY WILKIN

Are the creators of the soon to be published beautiful book Dips and Chips. With helpful advice to take your first dip. Penny is an experienced triathlon coach and Emma a talented illustrator. They share a passion for swimming and enlighten this via their stories in the brilliant book.

Regularly swimming in the Midlands both Penny and Emma are passionate about supporting more people to get in the water and reap the benefits to health and well being.

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ALAN WHITE

After being competitive marathon runner through his middle aged years, Alan sustained an injury ending his running career. Proving its never to late Alan got into swimming and approaching 80 years of age he is a popular figure in the Midlands outdoor swimming scene. From being a novice he now holds records in relation to cold water exposure.

Water now inspires his poetry

and he has a wealth of knowledge of the plants, birds and local water based ecosystems.

He has also written articles about his swimming exploits on the brilliant website www.swimandtonic.org. Click here to read an example of his brilliant story telling and inspiring experience.

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