Taking The Waters By Caitlin Davies And Ruth Corney

Taking The Waters By Caitlin Davies And Ruth Corney

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Caitlin Davies is a novelist, non-fiction writer, journalist and teacher who recently authored the history of swimming in the River Thames, titled Downstream: a history and celebration of swimming the River Thames.

Back in 2012, she also wrote Taking the Waters: A Swim Around Hampstead Heath with photography by Ruth Corney where she describes four open water swimming spots on Hampstead Heath: the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond, the Highgate Men’s Pond, the Mixed Bathing Pond, and the Parliament Hill Lido where people have been swimming for over 200 years.

Imagine open water swimming over 200 years ago…two generations before Captain Matthew Webb crossed the English Channel…

…who wore goggles?
…what kind of swimsuits did they wear?
…did they have competitions?
…did they maintain records?
…was prize money offered?
…did anyone do anything akin to butterfly?
…did they swim year-round?
…until what ages did people still swim?
…did anyone do night swimming?
…was swimming considered a healthy exercise?
…did disabled people also swim?
…was membership limited?
…were there lifeguards on shore?

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