How To: What Is Afterdrop

Some concepts or acts can be so fundamental to a communal activity that the members of that community can forget that they once may not have known of the concept, let alone the meaning as the activity becomes second nature. These acts, which we might call unconscious assumptions, are not ignored, but accepted, language grows…

Oversized padded coat

Warm Clothing for Cold Water Swimmers

“Loneswimmer is a brand now“, my buddy and two-way English Channel and Double Round Manhattan swimmer Lisa (Cummins) said to me one day and not as much alcohol or hypothermia as you would guess was involved. Now let’s get this out the way. Having Lisa as friend is a bit of trial. You go through…

The Truth Is Cold

Though I had been pool swimming, I hadn’t swam in the sea in four weeks, and if I didn’t get in at the weekend I would go a month without an open water swim for possibly the first time in a decade. On Saturday the bay was lousy and blown out in howling onshores, breakers…

Wave Shadows in Tramore Bay

The Open Water Swimming Year: January’s Dark Rituals

“The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the Deep”. It’s occasionally struck me that in the second verse or chapter (or whatever these biblical couplets are called) Nothingness, the Void and the Deep are all co-equal. The Deep cannot exist without the Not-Deep, without its face, (nonsensical theological…

Sam Krohn rescues someone who had been drinking and attempted to swim in rough conditions, Christmas Day 2015

How To: Advice for Christmas or New Year swimming in cold water for beginner or casual open water swimmers – What Would Santa Do?

At Christmas time, many people who would never consider getting in cold water will be thinking of a Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s Day dip. If you are wondering WHY you might or should do it, apart from; taking part in a local tradition in many places; having a hot punch  at the…

Cliffs of Moher in November

The Open Water Swimming Year: November Winterage

This post begins a new series here on Loneswimmer.com. There are certain patterns that I’ve seen repeated over the years. There are certain experiences that recur, certain thoughts that reappear, coming anew each year. Though previously experienced, all feel fresh each time, only deepened by the growing realisation that what were once first-time or rare…

The Arse of Winter

It gets better from Down Here. Down Here it’s the coldest and the shortest swims. Down Here is where we separate ourselves from the newbies, the dippers, the triathletes, the fakes, the Christmas Day and mystic swimmers. Down Here is where we differentiate ourselves, even from ourselves. Down Here is the bottom of the bathtub…

Extreme cold adaptation in humans, part 3

Tiina Makinen‘s “Different types of cold adaptation in humans” works as a meta-analysis of various scientific studies of cold adaptation and is a fantastic read and is available at the Finnish Arctic Institute of Health.  It ranges over types of cold adaptation, (physiological, genetic, behavioural), acclimation and acclimatization in specific groups (occupational, indigenous, high latitudes)…