Swimathon (the popular annual fundraising swim) recently surveyed 36,000 UK swimmers to find out where we love to swim – indoors and outdoors! 62% of those surveyed said they prefer swimming indoors to outside and I think that’s incredible. It means that 38% of respondents would choose to swim outdoors where possible. Hooray for open-water swimming!
Ponds Forge, Sheffield’s 50m pool, came out top as the favourite place to swim, and lovely London Fields Lido (pictured) was named as the most popular outdoor pool. The favourite open-water venue was none other than Dorney Lake, in Windsor where I’ve coached and raced in triathlons on many an occasion!
Other swimming spots in the top ten:
- Crystal Palace pool (I trained there on occasion when I swam with Otter SC)
- Manchester Aquatics Centre
- Cardiff International Pool (I went there over New Year with my husband and our friend Richard)
- Tooting Bec Lido (I once won a triathlon there, rather hilariously. Only because the people in front of me either DNFed or cut out a section of the course!)
- Jesus Green Lido
- Hampstead Heath Ponds (I’ve never been but would love to)
- Coniston Water
- Lake Windermere (I swam this in 2007, pictured below)
Do you swim at any of those pools, lidos and lakes? Where’s your favourite place to swim, and what do you love about it?
When training for open-water swims or triathlons, I swim at this lake in Datchet. My favourite memory (of many!) is from one early-morning weekday swim. There were few other swimmers in the lake and it was very quiet, with mist on the water’s surface. A kingfisher flew past my head and landed on a tree which overhangs the lake. I was able to swim right up to him and watch him for a while without disturbing him… wonderful!
Perhaps the most beautiful place I’ve swum though would be Loch Ness (bl**dy cold though!)
Or maybe the Scillies.
Oh, I don’t know, it’s hard to choose. We are spoiled for choice with so many lovely places to swim here in the UK. I’m definitely with the 38% who prefer open-water to pools.
More about the Swimathon survey
The swimmers surveyed were of a range of ages and swimming abilities, but all have completed at least 1.5k in recent Swimathons.
As well as their favourite places to swim, they also talked about their secret swim venues, stunning once-in-a-lifetime swims (such as from Ysdradfellte Waterfalls in Powys, to the sea around Torness Nuclear Power Station in East Lothian) and what runs through their minds whilst submerged (everything from solving tricky problems, to a spot of singing). I can definitely identify with that!
The 2011 Swimathon
This year’s Swimathon (the 24th annual event) will be available at 580 pools across the UK from 8th-10th April and will raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Swimathon Foundation. Over £2million is the target. Over 500,00 swimmers have taken part in a Swimathon event, swimming the equivalent of 24 times around the world and raising more than £34 million for charity. I once did the 10,000m event (which is available any more – oh well ). Will you be taking part? Sessions for the 1.5k, 2.5k or 5k challenges do sell out, so reserve a place! Happy swimming.