Courtesy of Stuart Hamilton, River Stour, Dedham, UK.

Stuart Hamilton has kicked off a niche part of the open water swimming community that has always existed, but now is clearly defined.

Lots of open water swimmers race for titles, medals, cash, awards, recognition and acclaim,” said Steven Munatones.

But most swimmers participate in these competitions that occur tens of thousands of time annually around the world. They swim simply for their own personal pleasure of casually swimming along the race course with many others and then enjoying the camaraderie of a mass participation event. Often a meal and lots of hearty conversation follow the swim.”

Now Hamilton is formally organizing that experience via the Slow Swimming movement. He promotes open water swimming for the pure pleasure of experiencing the nature and the open bodies of water.

He explains the Slow Swimming experience, “The ideal Slow Swimming event takes place in idyllic surroundings, doesn’t start too early in the morning. 10 O’clock is early enough for anyone to be doing some exercise, encourages swimmers to take their time and enjoy the experience, has a reasonable amount of cake involved at some stage, and ends with a picnic for friends and family.

The idea of a Slow Swim and picnic started on the River Stour in Dedham on the Suffolk-Essex border in the UK in 2013.

The 4 waves in the Slow Swimming events are all creatively defined:

* Wave One: Seriously Need More Cake (known as Serious) for swimmers who race
* Wave Two: Relaxed ’cause we know where the cake is hidden (known as Relaxed) for swimmers who hold a steady pace without a rush
* Wave Three: Enjoying the Journey (known as Enjoying it) for swimmers who scull along, maybe with a bit of paddling, smiling and chatting
* Wave Four: Pooh Sticks for people who want to enjoy the scenery and float along using floaty things and stick out the occasional hand or foot to paddle

Like winter swimming, ice swimming, high-altitude swimming, and stage swimming, Slow Swimming events are catching on:

* Bradford-on-Avon Slow Swim and Picnic on June 15th 2019
* Cambridge Slow Swim and Picnic on July 7th 2019
* Dedham Vale Mill 2 Mill Swim and Picnic on August 11th 2019

For more information, email stuart@SlowSwimming.co.uk or visit here.

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