Selkie Swim Co is an open water swimwear brand passionate about pushing the personal boundaries of open water swimmers of all abilities.
Here are two personal accounts of how wild swimming has not only helped Becky and Fay physically but also benefitted their mental health.
Becky Horsbrugh, 49 from London
I’m a freelance journalist working in print and TV, but in my spare time, my biggest passion is swimming. It has helped me so much physically and mentally over the last decade. I was never a serious swimmer when younger. In my 30s I competed in the odd triathlon but swimming was something I just had to do to compete.
Then around ten years ago, I experienced quite a hard time in my life. My father died and I got divorced. It was difficult dealing with everything. Then one day I saw a swim advertised that was taking place, across the Dardanelles in Turkey. It is a famous swim that Lord Byron did in 1810. He’s my favourite poet and this swim was to commemorate the anniversary. I decided to enter and it became something for me to focus on.
I began swimming several times a week and found it gave me real peace of mind.
After that trip, I was hooked and wild/open water swimming became a huge part of my life. In 2014 and 2016 I suffered 2 serious illnesses which meant each time I could not swim for months. Getting back in the water when I was recovering from both gave me hope and an incentive to get fit again.
In the water, I can escape everything, stretch out and find peace with the water. No disturbances, just me alone with my thoughts.
Being part of Team Selkie has been wonderful as it’s such a great group to get support and inspiration from. We all have our own talents and interests. Recently I’ve got involved in drowning prevention work in Bangladesh and in January did a big 16km swim there. My team were behind me all the way was such a bonus.
Fay Preene, 23 from Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria
This year I want to focus on swimming for my enjoyment; escaping from everyday life, going on adventures, discovering beautiful places and receiving the mental health benefits that open water swimming gives you. For this reason I have chosen not to sign on to many events this year, but instead to simply enjoy open water swimming as part of my day-to-day life.
I have so far done the Ullswater swim, I’ve swam across Bassenthwaite at 1:00am to help friends with a charity challenge and I will see what the rest of the year brings. Swimming for distance is not the reason why I swim; I am in awe of people who do, but my reasons behind wild swimming link more to the solitude that I feel when I swim outdoors.
There is not one day that I have regretted going swimming. It becomes a routine, one that I know so well and my mind is addicted to the feeling that you get after you have been swimming in open water. The huge natural high is so prominent. I feel as though someone has injected me with happiness, given me five coffees and stuck a smile on my face from ear to ear that lasts for the rest of the day.
Swimming outdoors is my passion and it makes me truly appreciate the magnitude of the world, and our environment, and how we are such small beings lucky enough to embrace this planet. I’m part of something that is much bigger than me; I’m something so tiny in such a big mass of water. It certainly puts things into perspective and it is a way of being in the moment.
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