Swimmingpod Oct 03, 2023
Paul Atherton, Outdoor Swimming and Creativity
Paul Atherton is a filmmaker and Londoner. He produced and directed The Ballet of Change, four short films that were projected onto London landmarks, most famously Piccadilly Circus in 2007. His video-diary Our London Lives is in the permanent collection of the Museum of London. He took up outdoor swimming at the Serpentine Swimming Club, London, in the Summer of 2023, barely being able to swim 50 meters. Just a couple of months later, he completed a mile and a meter in the race by that name, at that club. In this podcast, over breakfast at the Serpentine Lido Café, we discuss swimming, building achievements from a modest baseline, and how swimming allows the mental space for creativity.
Karen Throsby, and a Sociology of Marathon Swimming
Karen Throsby is a swimmer and a sociologist. She is passionate about marathon swimming, and her CV of international distance swims is truly outstanding, taking in the Catalina Channel and Twenty Bridges Swim around Manhatten, as well as the English Channel. In 2008, as she started training for her English Channel solo swim, she took this as a unique opportunity to bring together her combined research and swimming interests. She wrote a very scholarly book called ‘Immersion: Marathon Swimming, Embodiment and Identity’, which takes the lid off of the identity and body-shaping process of becoming a marathon swimmer. In this podcast, we talk about what it takes to make a marathon swimmer, through the lens of her own Channel swimming experience.
Social Exclusion and Swimming, with Georgie Milner
Access is an important issue everywhere. People of all creeds and backgrounds swim. Georgie Milner is a life-long swimmer and is very keen to improve the inclusivity of sport settings. She graduated in Human Sciences from the University of Oxford in 2022, where she completed her dissertation on the intersection of swimming and social exclusion, alongside working on the Oxford University Sports Council as Inclusion and Access Officer. As well as water and inclusion for swimming as sport, she is passionate about refugee rights and water safety. In this podcast, recorded in August 2022, we talk about Georgie’s passion for swimming in both the pool and in open water, about inclusion, about her dissertation, and much more.
Francesca Forno, Trento University, talks about 'From grassroots to platform: The reconfiguration of alternative food provisioning in the online world'
Francesca Forno, of Trento University, Italy, gives a presentation entitled 'From grassroots to platform: The reconfiguration of alternative food provisioning in the online world'
Poop Pollution Politics by Stanley Ulijaszek
The gorgeous rivers of England are sick, and I am sick too. Of the politics, of the discharges into the rivers. Of the effluent, both real and that spoken by the politicians currently in charge of this usually green and pleasant land. A land also full of streams and rivers, veins and arteries of blue space, often blue but also often coloured by raw sewage. The personal is political, and that goes for swimming waters every bit as much as human rights. This podcast is in response to a front page headline in the Guardian newspaper - ‘Tories turning rivers into open sewers’ - Sir Kier Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour Party, bringing poop pollution further into UK national politics.
The Serpentine Swimming Club, London, and the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
In May 2022, the Serpentine Swimming Club was inducted into the International Marathon Swimmers Hall of Fame (IMSHOF), in Naples, Italy. One Saturday morning following this proud moment, many of the club’s marathon swimmers came together to be photographed by Anthony Wood, a fellow Serpentine Club Swimmer who’s been photographing life at the club for the past few years, as documented in his Instagram feed @coldwatermornings. This podcast catches the exuberance of the morning’s celebration with many of the clubs’ marathon swimmers as they assembled by the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, London, with interviews with some of the many, including multiple solo English Channel swimmer Nick Adams, John Coningham-Rolls, Neil Drinkwater, Robert Fischer, Tom Elliott, Gerald Power-athome, Club President Rob Ouldcott, Judith Charman, Mark Johanssen, James Lythe, James Norton, and the legendary Rosemary George. Marathon swimming defined here as 10 kilometers or more, takes, time, persistence, determination and of course - support. James Norton mentions three that supported him; Volker Koch, Alan Mitchell and Kevin Blick, all marathon swimmers themselves giving up their time to play a modest role in another marathon swimmer’s challenge. ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’ – trite but true.
Grace Wright-Arora, and Cold Water Swimming as an Act of Resistance
So many cold water swimmers are non-conformists, but who would have thought of it as a political act? Grace Wright-Arora carried out social research on cold water swimming for her undergraduate dissertation at the University of Bristol. She interviewed outdoor swimmers in London and near Bristol, and found that for many, swimming was a way of resisting norms and structures that confine them in everyday life. Like size-ism, that people have to fit bodily norms dictated to them by health authorities or the fashion industry (strange bedfellows, it seems to me). And linked to that, pool-ism - that you need to have a certain type of body to swim in a pool or run the risk of being judged by others. Or the physical structure of the pool itself, dictating how you can swim –up, then down, then up again, and again and again. Or the political-economic structures that deem it OK to dump raw sewage into rivers. In this podcast, she describes her own cold water swimming history, what took her to study the often personal politics of cold water swimming, and discusses with Stanley Ulijaszek her findings.
A Winter Swimming Briefing given by Stanley Ulijaszek, prepared by Jeremy Wellingham
It is winter, and there are many winter swimming briefings out there – this is a good thing, people are aware of winter swimming safety. This podcast is a raw recording of the briefing given and embellished by Stanley Ulijaszek and prepared by Jeremy Wellingham, at the annual winter swimming event at Oxford's Port Meadow, the Dodo Swim. It takes the swimmer or dipper through a chronological sequence, from preparation on the day, to immersion and swimming, to ending and getting changed.
Moon Swimming, Swimming in the Moonlight, with Stanley Ulijaszek
Swimming in moonlight is one of life’s un-buyable treasures. There are twelve full moon opportunities a year, and although the clouds or the rain can sometime put a spoiler on things, you can come away having experienced at the very least a change in routine, and more often than not, a sense of wonder of the world. All it takes is a full moon and some open water to swim in, and of course some friends to share it with. In this podcast, Stanley Ulijaszek describes three very memorable moon-swims: his first ever, in the Thames at Dorchester, Oxfordshire; a recent strange dip at Port Meadow in Oxford; and at the Lido in Venice (which is really a beach). Each is different but all three share a strange enchantment.
Juliet Turnbull and ‘Open Water – Share the Knowledge'
Juliet Turnbull has set up a group called ‘Open Water – Share the Knowledge’, which is about sharing the open water experience that she and others have, with people newly entering open water swimming. As she puts it, promoting positive use of open water. This is needed, after a hot summer of rising water-based fatalities in the UK. Juliet is otherwise known as the Thames Mermaid, and she swims in the River Thames at Molesey and Thames Ditton almost every day. She has swum the length of the non-tidal Thames across two years, and has many swimming achievements under her belt. A very experienced swimmer indeed. There are several organisations in the UK whose remit is the prevention of anti-drowning, so what makes ‘Open Water- Share the Knowledge’ different? Most importantly, builds on the growing expertise in open water among local users, about open water swimmers and paddle boarders sharing their experience, their local knowledge. In this podcast we talk about river swimming safety, and her ideas for developing ‘Open Water – Share the Knowledge’ alongside other organisations, and with meetings and social media.
Music is Noe Noe and Watercool Quiet, from Bluedot Sessions
Wild Open Swim, with Kath Fotheringham, Fiona Undrill and Darrin Roles
The Wild Open Swim Blog is the brain child of Kath Fotheringham, Darrin Roles and Fiona Undrill. This now sits under the Swim Oxford banner, the organisation run by Darrin, who created the Wild Swim series, known for being set in locations of natural beauty in West Oxfordshire. The blog is a celebration of open water swimming all year and the photographs, words and artwork that it has inspired. Kath lives and works and swims in and around Oxford. Originally from South Africa, she has embraced swimming in the UK. She is a designer by profession. Fiona Undrill is an Oxford-based primary literacy specialist, publisher, author, researcher, and teacher. She writes books to help with young children’s learning to read, and writes compelling blog posts. Darrin, well, he was born in the village of Eynsham, has travelled widely and returned, making this his home for life. He is a man who sees beauty in the local, and the Lock-to-Lock series of events show-cases the River Thames as it flows by this village and on to Oxford. For this podcast, I meet with the three of them in a cafe in Eynsham, to talk about their collective swimming passion, how it has shaped them, and how it drives their collective project.
The music is 'Noe Noe' and 'Watercool Quiet' from Bluedot sessions. Additional music is Darrin Role's own.
Tess and Judy Bird, Daughter and Mother Swimming in Connecticut, New England
Conversations that flow through the water, from mother to daughter and back again, almost dream-like. In this podcast I am in conversation with Tess and Judy Bird, both in New England, daughter and mother, both swimmers, sometimes together, most often not. Judy is a life-long swimmer, former life-guard, with an early excitement about open water that has stayed with her since forever. Tess too is a life-long swimmer.
They share swimming stories with me. Judy – of being in the ocean beyond the breakers, floating, between air and water, where there is a lot of peace. Of swimming in Hawaii with a mother whale and her pup. Of swimming in the Farmington River, going fast and slow all at once, slow on the surface and fast when looking down, an acceleration and deceleration that is completely of the senses, in the mind. Tess talks of a nearby swimming hole by the side of the road in Connecticut where she went with her brother for a spontaneous winter dip, ice cold but before it completely iced over, recovering in the car afterwards. And in childhood of a snake in a deep-nature pond full of pond-life, getting out of the water so quickly to save herself from this creature. Of a water-loving labrador who towed her and her brother around the pond when they were very young. Both Judy and Tess muse on what it has meant to them across the years, swimming, and swimming together, sharing the dreamlike conversations that you have sometimes when in open water. Swimming across a generation. The music is Noe Noe and Watercool Quiet, by Blue Dot Sessions.
Sophie Etheridge, adaptive athlete, and swimming the 21 miles of the Two-Way Windermere
I am truly humbled by Sophie Etheridge, and will never ever complain again about the aches and pains in my joints. Sophie is an adaptive athlete, who developed complex regional pain syndrome after a car knocked her off her bike as she was travelling to triathlon training. Now a wheelchair user, Sophie is tough, determined, an achiever, who won back her swimming identity stroke by stroke, swimming through the pain.
In 2021 she swam the Two-Way Windermere, all 21 miles of it. She set up the Adaptive/Disabled Open Water Swimmers (ADOWS) group on Facebook and was astonished by the demand for open water swimming community among those with disabilities. She has only recently started writing about this life-changing accident and how it felt, and about the huge importance of swimming in her life now. I am honoured that she has been open to sharing her experience here on Swimmingpod.
Tom Elliott and Richard Flint Talk About Swimming and the Making of Swim-Film ‘As You Lake It’
Tom Elliott and Danny Longman swam all the lakes of the Lake District in four days, and Richard Flint filmed them. In this podcast, Richard, maker of the film ‘As You Lake It’, talks about the process of filming them do it, and Tom talks doing it - swimming the lakes of the Lake District.
Dylan Friedmann - A Year (and counting) of Swimming and Dipping Daily in Lake Ontario, Canada
Toronto-based Dylan Friedmann is an inspiration. She undertook, January 1st, 2021, to swim (or dip) in Lake Ontario every single day of the year to raise money for the charity Kids Help Phone, helping with adolescent mental health in Canada right now when help is needed. Air temperature on some of her dips dips to minus thirty Celsius, the water close on zero. She completed her daily swims in 2020, all 365 of them, and she continues on, swimming and dipping, even when in February she has to dig through the ice for water.
The Second Great Stink? UK Swimming Rivers in a Mess, by Stanley Ulijaszek
The Thames, right now is not the universally clean and sparkling river of my dreams. This podcast is about trying to understand, as a swimmer, the problems surrounding rivers in the UK right now – the dumping of raw sewage, of pollution. How did we get into this watery mess? If it were simple, it would have been solved - so what is going on?
Charles Sprawson's 'Haunts of the Black Masseur' at 30 years - A Discussion with John Von Düffel and James Norton
This podcast, with German nationally-acclaimed playwright, essayist, dramaturge and prize-winning novelist John von Düffel and acclaimed film-maker James Norton, considers Charles Sprawson’s classic book about the history and cultures of swimming, some thirty years after it was first published. Both John and James are passionate about this book, John having adapted it for a German-speaking audience in 2002. The discussion ranges from swimming heroes, to romanticism, and to environmental degradation, as well as James' and John's own swimming passions. The book remains as current as ever, but is about so much more than the issues we discuss. Had we recorded the podcast on another day, it might well have been different. Like open water swimming itself – each day is different.
Haunts of the Black Masseur can be found at - https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/103/1032355/haunts-of-the-black-masseur/9780099577249.html
Duncan Goodhew, Olympic Gold Medalist, and the State of Swimming in the United Kingdom
Duncan Goodhew is a life-long swimmer and champion of swimming in more ways than one. He won Olympic Gold and Bronze in the 100 meters breaststroke and 100 meter medley relay respectively, in the Moscow 1980 Olympics. He has promoted swimming at all levels ever since.
He is President of Swimathon, the swimming charity that brings together swimmers of all ages and abilities with two simple aims: to spread the joys and benefits of swimming whilst raising money for some of the UK’s most needful charity work. He was awarded the Humane Award for administering life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to Lord Sheldon – he learned CPR as an adolescent, with the Learn to Swim Programme. He is one of the founding trustees of what is now SportsAid, a charity which enriches the lives of talented young athletes by recognizing and nurturing their abilities through and beyond sport. He was awarded MBE in 1983 for services to sport. Ever since struck gold and bronze in Moscow, he has been very keen to give back - swimming saved him, gave him direction, from being a wayward and headstrong teenager, to being a champion in every sense of the word, across his adult life.
In this podcast we talk about those early years, about his achievements, and about the important and good work he has done ever since.
The opening music is Castro and "Noe Noe", and the music ending is Radio Pink and "Vienna Beat", both of Blue Dot Sessions.
Anette Frisch and Mindful Swimming
Anette Frisch lives in Dusseldorf, Germany. She swims in pools and the ocean, but mostly she is a pool swimmer, one that swims crawl because breaststroke is too slow for her. Which is not to say she is in a hurry. She is not; she is one of the most mindful swimmers I know, and this podcast very much became about exactly that – mindful swimming. It wasn’t planned that way, it just happened. Which is part of the magic of mindful swimming – it just happens.
She is passionate about swimming, and her website blog ‘bahnenziehen.de’ captures this well. Her writing is eloquent, beautiful, and she captures some of the many stories that people have of the water, of swimming, of places to swim, of swimming moods, captures them before they evaporate. In this podcast, I try to capture Anette’s story before it evaporates.
Pauline Barker, and the Polar Bear (and Penguin) Challenge
Pauline Barker talks about the origins of the Polar Bear Challenge, and how it has expanded. She describes how many people got through the UK COVID-19 winter through swimming, dipping or equivalent challenges. Most importantly, she talks about what’s in store for the coming winter of 2021-22. Winter swimming has probably never been so popular in the UK as it is now, and Pauline Barker, one of the most experienced people in this field anywhere.
Ben Cousins and Free-diving in the South African Kelp Forest
Ben Cousins is 72 years old and is passionate about the ocean – he has surfed it, swum in it, and now free dives in and around the ocean kelp forest south of Simonstown, south of Capetown, South Africa. At the start of our conversation in this podcast. Ben quotes poet Emily Dickenson - ‘That it will never come again - Is what makes life so sweet’. Ben lives life to the full, and strives to understand this mysterious world by keeping a diary for every swim - shark, octopus, sting ray, and all the creatures big and small that make up this unique ecology.
Grumpy Old Swimming, with Judith Holder
Judith Holder is a bestselling comedy writer, TV producer and speaker, who originated the BBC series and stage shows 'Grumpy Old Women' which have sold worldwide. She is passionate about outdoor swimming. In this podcast she talks about her love for swimming, comedy, and her podcast series with friend and comedian Jenny Eclair.
Berlin Swimming Spree - Caitlin Kraemer and Swimming in the City
Caitlin Kraemer is a graduate student in Berlin and has written an article 'Swimming in the City'. In this podcast we talk about Berlin as an outdoor swimming city, and city swimming in general. A citizen-swimmer, she knows a lot about the Flussbad Berlin, which will open up the Spree Canal to open water swimming right in the heart of the city.
Music is 'Noe Noe' by Castro and 'Vienna Beat' by RadioPink, both on Blue Dot Sessions.
Anna Deacon and 'Taking the Plunge'
Anna Deacon is co-author, with Vicky Allen, of the book 'Taking the Plunge', She is a photographer of considerable repute, and has a number of swimming-oriented projects on the go. She talks about these, and more.
Darrin Roles and the Lock to Lock Swim Events
Darrin Roles started and runs, with acknowledged support from many friends and family, the Lock-to-Lock events in the River Thames upstream of Oxford. These swims are variously from Eynsham to King’s Lock (4 kilometers), from Farmoor to King’s Lock (6 kilometers) and from Farmoor to Godstow Lock (10 kilometers). In the course of setting up these swims, he revived the Oxford Mile (renamed the Oxford Classic Mile) and set up two swim-runs, along the same stretch of the River Thames as the Lock-to-Lock swims.
The Lock-to-Lock events are now regular features in the swim calendar, and they show-case the River Thames as it flows through Eynsham and towards Oxford, this little corner of paradise. Darrin’s paradise – a man who sees the beauty of the local, of the thing before him, rather than chasing a far-off butterfly. And the local, the Thames at Eynsham, is astonishingly beautiful, growing more so the more you look at it. In this podcast, we discuss Darrin’s swimming life history so far – he is in his fifties and has much swimming him yet. We discuss the Lock-to-Lock events, their origins and their development, and his plans for future swimming events in the River Thames in Oxfordshire.
Sian Richardson, Founder of The Bluetits Chill Swimmers
Sian Richardson, Founder of The Bluetits Chill Swimmers, talks about how this social enterprise, with now more than 6,000 members across three continents, started and grew. From Wales, at the beach near the farm where Sian has lived all her life. Sian has style, panache and a passion for winter swimming which she is taking to the world.
Alex Foster's Anthropology of the Serpentine Swimming Club, London
Alex Foster spent the winter months of 2019-2020 learning about winter swimming and cold water immersion at the Serpentine Swimming Club, in Hyde Park, London. This is podcast is about his immersion in the club and its waters, and his MPhil thesis in Medical Anthropology on this topic. The thesis is available at www.lxvswim.org.
Nostalgia for Lake Bled Winter Swimming Championships with Jeremy Wellingham and Stanley Ulijaszek
A nostalgia conversation between Jeremy Wellingham and Stanley Ulijaszek about the Lake Bled Winter Swimming World Championships which took place a year ago, February 2020. We could not have anticipated how the year would unfold, so full of optimism was this event. Helped by the full-to-the-brim enthusiasm of the thousand-plus participants and their friends and family, there was seriousness, friendliness and fun in equal measure. ‘It’s wonderful to be here, it’s certainly a thrill…’
Frost Swimmers of Gothenberg, Sweden – 100 Dagarkallabad - Anna Carin Olsen, Lina Tengblad and Marielle Sjoren
Bada bada bada, Varje dag
Bada bada bada, Varje dag
Bada Ja, Bada Ja
Bada bada bada, Varje dag!
Less of poetry than trance chant –
Swimming, swimming, swimming, every day
Swimming, swimming, swimming, every day
Swimming Yes, Swimming Yes
Swimming, swimming, swimming, every day!
Three women in Gothenberg, Sweden who swim every day, and bring joy, candles, bubbles and yoga on a surf-board, as well as their friends, to their project of a hundred swims into winter.
Anne Katrine Kleberg Hansen is an all-seasons swimmer in Copenhagen, a city of the future where outdoor swimming is not just allowed but encouraged
Women Who Swim - Kristie Waller and Judy Pearsall
Judy Pearsall and Kristie Waller are two women who swim together regularly in Oxford and Oxfordshire. They both have a passion for swimming and they share some of their swimming thoughts, memories and plans.
Swim the Thames - a conversation with Sefryn Penrose, Chris Dalton, Jeremy Wellingham and Sharon Curtis, who started out, with many others, to swim the length of this great river
Between 2011 and 2013 a group of outdoor swimmers swam the 250 kilometer length of the non-tidal River Thames in stretches, starting at the source and ending in Teddington on the outskirts of London. The numbers varied from stretch to stretch, and the project took on a life of its own. Stanley Ulijaszek discusses this art-work-like swimming project with four of the founders of Swim the Thames.
Dip-a-Day - Helen Edwards Swimming Every Day of the Year
Helen Edwards started swimming outdoors every day - Dip-a-Day - with no intention of taking it this far. She is now into her fourth year of this personal project, and she talks about her motivation for it, what it brings to her life, and how it has just kept going. She lives in Oxford, and most of her swims are in and around this beautiful city. The music is Noe Noe by Castro, and Vienna Beat by Radio Pink, both on Blue Dot Sessions.
Craig Holmes and Jo Jones, British Ice Swimming 500 meter champions, in conversation with Stanley Ulijaszek
Craig Holmes and Jo Jones are the defending British Ice Swimming 500 meter champions, and are very nice people. They talk with Stanley Ulijaszek about their swimming achievements, their aspirations, and how they got into cold water swimming. They have lots of excellent advice, all learned on their own bodies, on how to break the ice, so to speak, if you haven't done it before and want to.
Pauline Barker - Founder and Organizer of the Polar Bear Challenge
Pauline Barker, founder and organizer of the Polar Bear Challenge, in conversation with Stanley Ulijaszek, talking about her winter swimming achievements, what it takes to make a Polar Bear swimmer, and her swimming mission to make winter swimming open to everyone that wants it.
Welcome to Swimmingpod
Welcome to Swimmingpod, a podcast series about outdoor swimming across the seasons, for people who love swimming. An lxvswim production - www.lxvswim.org #lxvswim