It’s Cold Outside. Time to Get In
Back in September 2014, Sian Richardson had an idea to transition from her extreme sporting lifestyle.
Previously, she competed in triathlons, cyclosportive events, marathon runs, ultramarathon runs, open water swims and multi-sports events. But the strain on her joints and her wallet provided the impetus to start getting into the open water near her home along the Pembrokeshire coast in west Wales.
History recorded the origins of her experience, “As she swam into the winter months of 2014 and 2015, Sian discovered open water swimming presented no less of a challenge mentally. As the months passed by and the temperature dropped, she continued to squeal and whoop in the Pembrokeshire sea. She squealed and whooped quite loud so it would seem others heard her and joined her. That is how The Bluetits began.”
The Bluetits Chill Swimmers have taken off and now count over 15,000 members in dozens of chapters around the world from Europe and Africa to the Americas and Oceania.
Richardson’s enthusiasm and boundless energy has led to inspire numerous groups of cold water swimmers, each with a mission is to create a community through cold water swimming. Their website explains, “There are no club fees, registration, requirements, or expectations where everyone is welcome. We are committed to empowering an inclusive community of cold water dippers, spanning the globe and made up of informal groups of mixed-gender people who like to swim or dip together.
Some carry on throughout the winter months, some do not.
Some enter swimming events, some swim across the English Channel.
Some meet every morning same time, same place, and swim chat their way through the water.
Others swim Ice Miles, some meet for coffee and cake, and maybe a swim or even a paddle.
Their link to each other initially is the joy of challenging ourselves to potter in and around open water together throughout the year.”
One group includes a group of winter swimmers from Ohio, the Buckeye Bluetits, that includes members who gather at the home and dock of 78-year-old Anne Coen to swim. The group was founded by Margaret Gadzac who was previously a member of the Bluetits Chill Swimmers in Denmark and includes Gigi Somerville and Kelly Mastriacovo.
For more information on the global Bluetits, visit thebluetits.co.
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