By: Blonde Two
Last Saturday the sea temperature in Torbay (more specifically in Brixham) was a balmy 16.9 degrees Celsius. Not only that, it was clear enough to see the fishes and beautifully blue in colour. A perfect day to be sea swimming you might suggest and I would agree. I swam about 500 metres and stayed in long enough afterwards to play with my camera and float around admiring the play of light under the surface. The average September sea temperature in Torbay is 16.5 degrees, so we are doing quite well this year.
Despite the resurgence in popularity of wild swimming, outdoor swimming, sea swimming or whatever you prefer to call it, It will probably come as no surprise to hear that more people swim in Torbay during the summer than during the winter. It is easy to understand why but, no matter how shocking that first entry into cold water, there is something truly magical about the impact a really chilly dip can have on both your physiology and your psychology. I have chatted to a few summer-only swimmers (swim chats are definitely to be recommended) about their reasons for heading inside for winter swims and they all make sense. Who, after all, would want to take off all (well most of) their clothes in an icy January wind, scream (or in my case swear) as freezing water hits them, experience sharp headaches from cold water submersion and emerge shivering with fingers so numb that button fastening becomes impossible?
I will be entering my fourth winter of cold water swimming this year and I can honestly say that I am looking forward to the chill. Maybe not the shivering at my desk all day afterwards but definitely the after-buzz that grows as the temperature lowers. If you are thinking about trying winter outdoor swimming yourself, my best advice would be to start now… and don’t let yourself stop. As the sea temperatures drop, keep up the swims, your body will acclimatise, and you will soon find yourself thinking of clever answers to the question, ‘Is it cold?’