By: Blonde Two

I’ll bet you have been wondering whether or not I am keeping up with my sea swimming all through this (rather long and damp) winter. Well, the answer is that I haven’t let the outdoor swimming side down and have managed a swim for approximately half the days of most of the weeks.

One of the things that have been keeping me going has been the issuing of a winter challenge by the Devon and Cornwall Wild Swimming group. The Polar Bear challenge is very simple (but really quite cold). Each participant has to swim, twice a month, 200 metres in outdoor water without any neoprene wetsuit, hat, gloves or shoes to protect them. They have to do this every month from November to March inclusive in order to achieve ‘Polar Bear’ status.

So far I have kept up with the challenge but even here in Devon the sea is getting colder (currently 9 degrees) and I have now succumbed to neoprene hat and gloves for most of my swims. It doesn’t take too long to swim 200 metres but when the water is that cold it can feel like an age and I always lose the feeling in at least three of my toes (always the same ones).

I do love a doable challenge, especially one that you can share with friends. Questions such as, ‘Does anyone want to polar bear this afternoon?’ and ‘Is the sea polar bearable today?’ have become commonplace amongst my swimming mates as has the sight of someone dashing into the water and swimming frantically, for much longer than the rest of us.