Meeting members of the wild swimming tribe and hearing about why our sport is so addictive
The Final EVER episode – when you feel that crunch of the water
59:59It 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
49:37This 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
1:01:32This 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
55:29The 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
47:50My 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
55:14This 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
Life is not over after you have had trauma
51:55Welcome to the latest edition of Swim Wild podcast. This week's guest is Gill, known on social media as Stoma Chameleon. The episode itself is a complete shot of pure joy. If your levels are getting low, this will definitely top them up. Which some people might find surprising, because Gill is talking about her experience of birth trauma that led to her having a permanent stoma. You could be forgiven for thinking that this might be quite a tough, but worthwhile listen. It definitely is worthwhile, but it is not tough at all. It is about 45 minutes of pure joy and enthusiasm for life that you will find infectious. 30,000 women every year are affected by birth trauma. Gill's message is that life is not over after trauma - on the contrary, life can go on and in unexpected and exciting ways. Before I share the links to all the organisations Gill mentions during our chat, I do have a shout out to anyone who can put Gill in touch with the other channel swimmer who also has a stoma. If you know who this is, please message Gill via any one of her social media routes and put them in touch. All links are below. And finally, if you can donate to her Channel swim fundraising, Ostomy Mermums, please do - here Things you might want to know more about Birth Trauma Association, Jacob's Well Appeal, Colostomy UK Gill's bikini challenge fundraiser Gill's website
The Chatter Challenge
41:05This week's podcast guest is Jacqui. Based up in the North East, not far from me, Jacqui only took up wild swimming in 2020, but loved it so much, and was so determined to swim trough winter, she set up The Chatter Challenge to help swimmers, new and old, to stay motivated and keep going. The Chatter Challenge looks likely to become a regular feature amongst existing winter swimming challenges. Jacqui brings new energy and enthusiasm, an inclusive approach and she has a puppy who looks great in her Chatter Challenge branded Dry Robe! I hope you enjoy listening to her.
The kingfisher made us do it
49:06Welcome to the last episode of 2020. This is a small treat for any of you missing your swim buddies. It's a group episode. Katy, Justine and Erica join me to talk about starting wild swimming in 2020 and what a gift it has been in a year of so many losses, both big and small. I hope it conjures the illusion of being surrounded by your swimming friends, laughing and joking after a swim, high on adrenaline. However your year is ending, I hope this at least brings a smile and a small ray of hope that even in a tough year, there are new things waiting for us that will bring us joy. Have a peaceful night, and all the love in the world for 2021 Karen xxx
A Film Called Blacks Can’t Swim – with Ed Accura
53:01This week’s podcast guest is Ed Accura, creator of A Film Called Blacks Can’t Swim and co-founder of the Black Swimming Association. If you aren’t familiar with the statistics in the UK, 95% of Black adults and 80% of Black children don’t swim. 25% of Black children leave primary school unable to swim, and only 1% of Swim England competitive swimmers are Black or mixed race. The reasons why people from Black and other ethnic minority communities can’t or don’t swim are many and complicated. We can obviously only go into so much detail in the hour we chatted for this podcast. But Ed goes into a lot more depth in his podcast In The Deep End and I recommend you go and give it a listen to learn more But some of the issues include Low or no expectations of Black children to swim Negative messages and stereotypes such as misconceptions that Black people have heavier bones or cannot float Parent’s views, many of whom never learnt to swim themselves Access to pools, to swimming lessons and to opportunities to learn to swim Whether it is something your mates are doing Your experiences growing up Class and poverty play a big part Skin and hair differences and the lack of easy access to protective products to overcome this The Black Swimming Association has a DIPER charter that anyone in support can sign up to. It stands for Diversity Inclusion Participation Equality and Representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people in aquatics. And it is so much more than swimming. Being a non-swimmer more or less excludes you from a whole host of other activities too, such as kayaking, body boarding, surfing, rowing, canoeing and more. Ed’s work, alongside his fellow BSA co-founders, is vital, exciting and everyone in the wild swimming community can get behind it. My asks after you listen to this episode are Watch the film Listen to Ed's podcast Listen to Seren Jones’ BBC documentary 'Black girls don't swim' Visit the BSA and give them some support Things we talk about you will want to go and learn more about A Film Called Blacks Can’t Swim, Alice Dearing, In The Deep End podcast, the sequel to A Film Called Blacks Can’t Swim, Seren Jones BBC documentary, Swimming Nature, Black Swimming Association, Danielle Obe and Nemes, Speedo sponsorship of the BSA, the survey Ed talks about, RLSS, Black Lives Matter, Swim England, Ed in his ‘other’ life as a musician!