Seattle’s Devotees of Wild Swimming Say It’s Transformative
Are you looking for some non-impact activities that will help you get out of the mundane COVID-19 days in the Pacific Northwest? The devotees of wild swimming are spreading the word that the initial discomfort of cold water will be superseded by a wonder reset and transformative health benefits.
Think about swimming in the ancient water with the most cheerful people. Wild swimming will also bring you closer to nature. Let’s get geared up.
Lynne Cox is a celebrated open-water swimmer and the author of “Swimming to Antarctica.” She said that swimming in the company of nature is the best with three things. In her words, those are “warm fluids, warm food and warm company.”
She advises having nutritious comfort foods before you start swimming. Besides, she recommends having warm apple juice or a thermos of cocoa to warm up post-swimming. Caffeine makes the blood vessels narrow or facilitates the process of vasoconstriction. So, Cox asks to avoid having coffee or any other caffeinated beverage immediately after swimming in the cold water.
Another prolific swimmer, Sarah Thomas, advises to “start really small.” She is known for the world record of the longest unassisted 104.6-mile swim in Lake Champlain in just over 67 hours. She further said that swimming in open water is “cumulative.” So, it is always wise to begin small and build the way up during the course. She also emphasized that if one can nonstop swim for 15-20 minutes in a pool and has the doctor’s approval for the same, open-water swimming will be the best workout for him/her. Moreover, she said that open-water swimming comes “with mental benefits that surpass the physical.”
The Swimmers Should Remain Visible
All the swimmers should focus on staying visible to ensure safety. Scott Lautman, chief safety officer of Northwest Open Water Swimming Association, says, “Always wear a swim cap in open water.” He advised the swimmers to choose caps in bright colors such as neon pink, orange or red. Even if the swimmers are wearing a neoprene hood for warmth, they should cover that with a bright cap.
He further says that a neon swim buoy or tow buoy is great to make a swimmer visible to watercraft, beach support, and others in the swimming pod. These inflatable and lightweight floats are attached at the swimmers’ waist. These do not affect their swimming performances but make them visible. Also, many buoys feature a dry bag, where one can keep essential things like keys, ID, or phone.
Getting Geared Up
The swimmers can pick up the gears according to their preferences. However, the experts advise choosing earplugs to maintain proper body temperature in the cold water. Besides, the swimmers who wear glasses or contact lenses can use correction goggles for their convenience.
Seattle swimmers further love swim socks or booties. Many of them also wear neoprene swim gloves to keep their fingers warm in the chilling cold water. Above all, a swim-specific wet suit helps the swimmers to stay in the water for longer.
Location is Important
The beginners should choose the long and straight sandy beaches for wild swimming. There the swimmers can stop swimming and come out of the water at any time. Beginners should avoid swimming along sharp barnacle-covered beaches, big rock jetties, or weedy marshland.
Going In and Coming Out of the Water
The swimmers should get in the water slowly to avoid cold shock and hyperventilating. Once they start swimming, they will gradually get acclimatized to the cold water. Once they have come out of the water, they should take off their swimming gear and cover themselves with wool and fleece clothing.
Seattle is full of open-water swimming talents. They are more than willing to teach the socially distanced method of open-water swimming in the days of the pandemic. So, the aspirants should not feel shy to seek help from the experts. Besides, the members of Seattle’s open-water swim community are waiting to witness and celebrate your wild-life swimming venture. In the words of Cox, “One of the reasons it’s so much fun is that it’s BEST done with other people.”