Welcome to the Swim Wild podcast - the podcast for the wild swimming community. Interviewing members of your tribe about iconic swims, personal challenges, the friends they have made, the impact on their health and well being and finding a deeper connection with the natural world. Testing out the theory that, whenever and wherever we swim outside, we "emerge from the water better versions of ourselves".
When you feel that crunch of the water
It is with a tiny bit of sadness that today I wish my podcast a fond farewell. Three years and 80 episodes is something I am totally proud of. When I started, there wasn't another wild swimming podcast that I could find, so i decided to fill the gap. Today there are many many to choose from and I hope you will switch your allegiances across to them and give them your support.
I have to say the biggest thank you to every single person who has spoken to me. It isn't an easy thing to do and many of us don't really believe we have anything interesting to say. And yet, each episode have revealed a slightly different aspect of swimming outdoors and has said something about the range of characters that enjoy it.
Thank you so much also to Megan of Flotsam Prints for designing my updated logo, to Beccy Owen Music for my gorgeous intro and outro pieces and to the many people who have listened.
For the record, just a few statistics!
We have had 59,078 downloads, with Alice Goodridge's episode topping out at 1420 downloads
We have listeners in 93 countries, including Egypt, Costa Rica and Singapore
Most listeners are in the UK, USA, Ireland and Australia
Most people listen on their Apple device
So, as a worthy final episode, my guest this week truly epitomises bravery.
If you are like me, you will be used to hearing "ooh, you're brave" from non-outdoor swimmers when you tell them what you do. And to a point, they are right. You are brave.
But this week's guest, Filipa Vance, takes brave to a whole new level.
On July 11th 2021, at 11am, she and 6 other women will take part in the Henley Swim as part of the This Girl Can team. All 7 team members use outdoor swimming as a way to heal. The pain may be physical or mental and the scars may be on the outside or the inside, but all 7 women are fighting back from adversity and leading the way.
I will leave Filipa to tell her own story on the podcast and won't spill any beans here, but trust me you will be inspired, amazed, in awe and probably quite emotional by hearing her story. You will definitely be uplifted by her spirit.
She is one of the most beautiful humans I have spoken to and it was my privilege to interview her for my last ever episode.
Thanks Filipa, and good luck at Henley on Sunday xxx
Thanks to Nancy Farmer and David Perks for some of the photos used
Richelle Flanagan - world Parkinson's congress ambassador #WPC4YOPD
This is the penultimate episode of the Swim Wild Podcast and I'm delighted that my guest could be Richelle Flanagan, talking about her Dopamine Dunkers challenge running throughout May 2021.
Richelle has been diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson's Disease and since her diagnosis has been to the Parkinson's World Congress and become an ambassador, raising awareness of the condition and connecting with other people around the world.
The pandemic has been hard for everyone in so many ways, not least financially difficult. But if you are lucky to have not lost your income, and if you have a few Euros to spare, I would really appreciate it if you would go to Richelle's Go Fund Me page and bung her a few quid once you have listened to her episode.
Richelle wasn't a wild swimmer and committed to swimming every day in May to raise money to enable others diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson's to attend the next World Congress in Barcelona in 2022.
You will hear in the episode what an adventure and revelation this challenge has become. You can find out more by searching for #WPC4YOPD
Other things we talk about that you might like to know more about
Richelle's fundraiser, Parkinson's Association of Ireland, Matt Eagles, Nug changing robe, Seapoint, Forty Foot, Coeliac
I gravitate to the people who have been swimming their whole lives
This week's podcast guest is Kelly from Seattle. Find out more about swimming in Puget Sound, where it doesn't usually get warmer than 11 degrees C, and yet they still have a jellyfish issue!
Playing with a reader's idea of what a book about swimming might be
The guest this week on Swim Wild podcast is Lenka Janiurek, author of fabulous new book 'Watermarks; life, death and swimming.'
If you are the kind of wild swimmer who likes to immerse in all sorts of culture connected with swimming, this is a book to add to your 'to read' pile.
It sits alongside books such as The Outrun, I Am An Island and Wintering, as an exploration of being alongside and immersed in water as an essential mechanism for making sense of, coping with and thriving in life.
This episode is dedicated to the memory of all women/womxn who have suffered at the hands of male violence, and to the wild swimming women who regularly keep me afloat.
RIP Sarah Everard
With huge thanks to Lenka for speaking with me so openly, and to publishers Allison and Busby for sharing a copy of the paperback edition with me ahead of publication.
I always thought swimmers would make beautiful portraits
My guest this week is photographer Justine Desmond.
If you read Outdoor Swimmer magazine, you will be familiar with her work as one of her photographs was on the front cover of the February 2021 edition and some images from her project entitled 'The Swimmers' are featured in the magazine.
In this episode, Justine talks about the importance of a photo shoot being a genuine collaboration with the person she is photographing.
She explains how important it was to put out the right invitation to encourage swimmers to come forward to take part feeling happy and comfortable with the process, both of having their photograph taken but also sharing their story of why they swim.
Crucially, the invitation included a sense of calling out the negative impact that being bombarded with images of perfect bodies and perfect lives has on our self esteem, with the promise that this project would show real bodies and celebrate their real shapes and diversity.
It was an absolute joy speaking to Justine.
Please check out her work here, and look at the specific projects she mentions 'Brighton Peeps' and 'The Swimmers', as well as Portrait of Britain.
Work inspired by Justine's The Swimmers photographs
Recognising lack of diversity is one thing, but taking action is another
This week's guest is Omie Dale.
Omie is a young woman who is very busy.
She is part of the team at the Black Swimming Association, she is about to become co-host of a local Mental Health Swim, she is a qualified swim coach and lifeguard, and is about to undertake her Outdoor Swim Coach certificate.
She's also passionate about outdoor swimming.
Omie shares her experiences of growing up in a household where swimming was a valued skill and was non-negotiable in terms of herself and her brothers learning to swim.
But she also shares her experiences as a swim coach hearing colleagues share the false assumption that Black people cannot swim.
Omie advocates for improving how swim coaches are trained, to make sure they understand intersectionality better so that they can provide inclusive swim teaching for all.
She is a passionate, engaged and proactive member of the wild swim community and it was a pleasure to chat to her.
Things we talk about that you might want to know more about
Omie's website, West reservoir, Beckenham Palace Park, Outdoor Swimmer Magazine, Active Lives Children's Survey report from Sport England, Black Swimming Association, Immerse Hebrides, Keri Anne Payne