Swimming for health reasons is fun, social, and can have a dramatic impact on one’s wellbeing.
Open water swimming is an activity that is great for your health and your mental wellbeing. It’s one of the activities that we run for 8 weeks as part of our social prescribing service. Leanne is a Care Coordinator who gets involved with many activities. After joining our Open Water Swimming, she wanted to tell us about her experiences. Thanks Leanne!
I’ve had the pleasure of joining participants in their journey for their open water swimming course. It’s an 8-week course run by swimming coaches who are fully qualified.
In these courses you’ll find a variety of people with different levels of swimming capabilities. These vary from those who cannot swim at all to strong swimmers who’ve lost confidence. It includes people who are struggling with physical or mental health issues. Each have their own aims and goals they want to achieve. But all are keen to explore the benefits of open water swimming.
The coaches are very professional and welcoming. They work with each participant independently to support and reassure them to achieve their goals. They even come with cake!
First time swimming
The first week was a great success as each participant made it into the water. Even as cold as it was, everyone enjoyed their time in the water. Once the shock of the cold water was over, of course!
Some of the participants managed to swim to the buoy while others were happy to float and chill out (literally) in the water. This made them more comfortable and ready for the next time.
The highlight of this session was a participant who cannot swim and has had bad experiences in the past. She got her feet off the ground and learnt to swim for the first time. She was beaming afterwards!
Swimmingly good feedback
Each participant returned. It’s amazing to see that everyone is committing to the course. This week the current was quite strong so we didn’t get all that far. We had good arm and leg work outs! We had some brilliant feedback on the course and how week 2 was.
For me it is getting down here and being with other people enjoying the sea
I have no words it is amazing how much progress I have made already
I feel amazing how much my confidence has grown in a week and I enjoyed the water this time
Brilliant outcomes yet again and everyone left with beaming smiles on their faces.
I had the pleasure of watching the participants from the beach whilst they got in the water. This was a completely different experience as I’m normally in the water with them. They have all come so far since day one. The enjoyment that they all get from being in the sea is lovely. And all the goals they make each week, they are smashing them! I can see social and wellbeing improvements in them all.
We are more than halfway through the course now. I’m impressed with how the participants take on their goals week after week and make great improvements. They amaze me, especially when some who couldn’t swim at all and are now swimming underwater!
We hit some bad weather, which can be a hurdle. It’s so important to respect the water and recognise how much you can do as in individual and not put yourself, or others, at risk. The waves were very big, and although they all had lots of fun, it was very tiring.
We’ve had feedback that the participants would like to carry on as a group to support each other. They have made friends and are having fun whilst achieving what they came to the course for.
There was one week when the weather was so bad that we were unable to go in as it was too dangerous. Instead, we decided to walk down near the water watching the crashing waves and reflected on our course with only 1 week left to go. There were tears and laughter talking about the journey they have all had. And how much confidence and happiness this course has brought.
A thank you
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the coaches Tori and Becky. They have been amazing throughout and have supported us all so well and made us all feel safe in and out of the water. They have so much knowledge that we have all absorbed. We’ve also learnt how to be safe and respect the water and others around us.
Swimming for health reasons is fun. It’s been an amazing experience for me as well, and I was so happy to be able to join the participants in their journey and share my own journey too.
Author: Leanne Glew