Slow Swimming 2020 Schedule

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 being clearly defined and expanding.

Many open water swimmers race for titles, medals, cash, awards, and prizes,” observes Steven Munatones. “Social media exposure, self promotion, recognition and acclaim also play a part and motivates others.

But a vast majority of swimmers simply participate in these timed competitions all around the world for their own personal pleasure of casually swimming along the race course with many others and then enjoying the post-race camaraderie of a mass participation event. Many wear wetsuits, eliminating the need for hard-core acclimatization training. A mass picnic with lots of laughter and hearty conversation follow the swim.”

Hamilton and Martin, Nat, Danny, Kevin, Amy, Guy, Sarah, Candice, Cathie and Tiffany, his like-minded slow swimming colleagues, started to formally organize the enjoyable community experience via the Slow Swimming movement way back in 2013. They promote open water swimming for the pure pleasure of experiencing the nature and the open bodies of water, usually meandering rivers – and it has caught on with some 2,000 participants taking part in 3 formal events.

Hamilton 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

Similar to 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 13th 2020 [register here]
* Cambridge Slow Swim and Picnic on July 11th 2020 [register here]
* Dedham Vale Mill 2 Mill Swim and Picnic on August 9th 2020 [register here]

Concurrently, cake sharing has become a major part of the slow swimming experience. Hamilton explains, “In the early days, with only a few swimmers and supporters, they were encouraged to bring cake to share. This has now grown into one of the most popular parts of the picnics: the cake sharing table. Swimmers and supporters are encouraged to bake extra and share it amongst other picnickers. The social media pages are now used as much for swapping family recipes as for swimming-related chat.”

For more information, email [email protected] or visit here.

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