Chill Swim Advice
Chill Swim Advice
Chill Swims – why JUST WHY?
By Shaun Crowley
😷 It boosts your immune system ✅
🤩 It gives you an endorphin high ✅
🥰 It enhances your circulation ✅
🐓 It increases your libido ✅
🥵 It burns more calories ✅
🧘 It reduces stress ✅
Click here to find out more.
I’ve been chill swimming since 2016 and while I’m no expert I have picked up a few tips along the way. I’ve swam wetsuited, ‘skins’ and everything in between, in Beccles Lido, other lidos, the River Waveney, and the sea – down to sub-5°C.
BUT that doesn’t make me an expert, and there’s no such thing in my experience. We are all different, psychologically and physiologically and we all learn by our own experiences and through listening to the experiences of others and most importantly to our own bodies.
So... BIG DISCLAIMER – do your own research, swim within your own capabilities, enjoy the chill but get out before you get chilly – it’s not a competition – enjoy yourself and STAY SAFE.
This article is to try and help you with some links and tips that I’ve found useful and I hope you will too. This is one of the best sources of advice I found outdoorswimmer.com. They have a great subscription magazine – subscribe to support all things Lido and wild swimming.
There are also some great Facebook groups to join:
Norfolk & Suffolk Open Water Swimming (which will also help you join other local groups)
The Lido Guide (also a fab book – YES! of course we are in it!)
These are all great groups to learn more about swimming in the cold, in Lidos, in the wild, and what kit you might need or want – whatever your level, aspirations or dare I say... size!
Remember – everyone is different and everyone's experience will be different, listen to your body, listen to others, and if in doubt, get out! But before you do that, why not get in and try it? This is an old link, but the advice never gets old: outdoorswimmer.com/blogs
CHILL SWIMS – GETTING STARTED
As the temperature of the pool drops, don’t feel you need to swim more than a length or a couple of minutes per degree°C – it’s not about how long you swim for but about how good it makes you feel!
After a few weeks, as the water cools, it will feel cold when you get in and for the first length or so, then I usually get the chill swim ‘buzz and tingle’ - and that’s the reason I do it. As you begin to cool down it’s time to get out; often it’s the fingers that feel it first, with some people it's their toes but that’s because your heart is keeping your core warm.
Will you NEED a wetsuit or special kit? Maybe, it’s all down to personal preference. You are very welcome to wear a wetsuit or anything else that makes you feel comfortable. So called "ice cream head" is the most common issue, so if you are a head up breast stroker then get a big bobble hat for swimming in. If you are head down then get a silicone swim hat (or even 2!), or a neoprene helmet. I recommend wearing some ear plugs – no one wants surfer’s ear!
The best way to warm up is to quickly rub down and dress with lots of layers – t-shirt/base layer, fleecy tracksuit, thick socks and crocs, Uggs or boots, a big bobble hat, a puffa jacket or the now ubiquitous DryRobe (other brands are available).
The main thing if you've never done it before is not to worry or stress about it – you won’t be the only chill swimming newbie, and there will be some experienced chill swimmers in most sessions to ask for tips.
AND WE WILL BE SERVING HOT DRINKS – it’s important to warm yourself up from the inside!
We will also have warm showers BUT if you are feeling very chilly this will just make you colder, so it’s better to warm yourself up with a brisk towel rub and lots of warm clothes and a hot drink!
You will probably be fine in your regular swimming costume for the first week and even the second, but you might want to be thinking about chill swim kit and I’ve listed some below – just make sure if you are buying wetsuits that they are for SWIMMING – surf suits will be too thick, too loose and too restrictive for your arms (if in doubt, ask me when you see me at the Lido, and I’ll show you my collection!). Oh, and swim wetsuits are supposed to fit tight!
For advice and to try robes and neoprene on:
Triharder in Dereham – it’s where all the local triathletes and open water swimmers go for their first wetsuit, and they often have cheap ex-hire suits.
For budget neoprene:
For serious (& seriously discounted) neoprene:
Zone3 (their Victory D or Thermal Aspire should keep you going all through Winter!)
(I’m always amazed how good even the Grade B suits are and even Grade C nicks & tears will have been or can be repaired yourself with 'Blackwitch' neoprene repair glue)
Sportstore Beccles stocks Zone 3 robes
And for your Xmas list:
Swimzi onesies are great
Selkieswim for more great post swim kit