Tag Archives: Fear of fish

Water nightmares

It’s been a while since I posted any nightmare fuel for open water swimmers, so I thought I might collect a few of my favourites together.

We’ll start gently. Close encounter with a humpback.

One from years ago on the blog, the frilled shark, aka dragon shark.

Remember Brutus the giant Australian salt-water crocodile?


A subtle one, what is the super predator?

This one is fairly well known, and you know, a bit of a traditional swimmer’s scare.


Remember the conger eels?

A favourite on the Marathon Swimmers Forum, and Game of Thrones, the lamprey, aka the sea vampire.

As anyone who has ever swum into one knows, plastic bags can be surprisingly scary. What if they were alive?

And then of course, there’s this thing, and honestly, I don’t even care what it is.

and then there's this thing lampray eel

If only I could stop there. There’s worse though.

None of these are as scary as approaching the second corner at Sandycove during the annual challenge race, and seeing Finbarr Hedderman reach out to grab you. Sharks, jellyfish, Finbarr, crocodiles and eels, all pale in comparison beside the last nightmare, the one thing that unites open water swimmers in fear.





















These guys:


Open water swimming fears listed

I was thinking about the fears that hinder open water swimmers or potential open water swimmers. It always amazes me how many non-swimmers (or even swimmers) have a seemingly visceral fear of even the idea of swimming over deep water in the dark or imagining themselves over a deep section of sea with potential movement under them. Here’s a provisional list of relevant fears. I’ve excluded basic fear of water, it seems inappropriate for swimmers.
Open Water swimming fear 2.resized
Autophobia is a fear of being alone.
Bathophobia is a fear of depths or deep things, (for swimmers who dislike swimming over deep water).
Cryophobia, Frigophobia or Cheimatophobia is a fear of cold, cold weather or cold things. Also known as Psychophobia!

Cnidophobia is a fear of stings. Surprisingly, there is no specific clinical phobia for jellyfish.

Dishabiliophobia is fear of undressing in front of someone, probably relevant when you changing by the side of the road in Sandycove.

Eleutherophobia is a fear of freedom. Seriously, are we ever as free as when we are open water swimming?

Eosophobia is fear of dawn or daylight. A bit difficult for an overnight swim.

Francophobia or Gallophobia is a fear of France or French things. That’s the Channel out then.

Galeophobia or Selachophobia is a fear of sharks.

Ichthyophobia is a fear of fish.

Kymophobia or Cymophobia is a fear of waves.

Limnophobia is a fear of lakes.

Megalophobia is a fear of large things and Mycrophobia is a fear of small things. Both are prevalent in the sea.

Myctophobia / Nyctophobia / Scotophobia / Achluophobia / Lygophobia: fear of the dark or darkness. That’s a whole lot of fear right there.
Ostraconophobia is a fear of shellfish. 
Ornithophobia is a fear of birds.Osmophobia is a fear of smells or odours.

Thalassophobia is a fear of the sea.

I’ve seen Megalohydrothalassophobia  proposed as a fear of the unknown and-or large objects underwater, a useful word for many people, but unlike the others not a medically recognised phobia. Yet.