According to Sky News, it’s a new “craze” where people swim in natural waterways, like rivers and lakes.
Come again? Swimming in rivers and lakes is a new craze? Did I hear that right?
Like most Aussies, I have been jumping in to lakes, rivers and dams and having a grand old time since I was a child.
But it seems this is quite a new concept in the UK, and it’s proving rather popular.
Sky interviewed veteran wild swimmers, who offered advice to first-timers.
Apparently they can join wild swimming clubs.
There are clubs dedicated to swimming in rivers? Ok, this is getting a bit silly, isn’t it?
After a smidgen of research I found that yes, they do exist. There’s a host of websites which offer all the information you need to get involved in this “new” hobby.
First of all, let’s address what would seem to be the most obvious barrier for UK swimmers – the bloody cold weather.
You sure as hell won’t find me jumping in any outdoor, unheated rivers in this country, even in “summer”.
The weather hasn’t all of a sudden turned tropical (trust me, I checked).
But no, the climate was never the issue for our brave, warm-blooded UK-raised friends.
Strict health and safety laws were what got in the way.
As well as poor water quality and the usual risks involved with jumping in a river or lake, such as submerged objects, water depth and currents.
Swimming outdoors is something we take for granted in Australia.
But it’s great to see that the people who are brave enough to get their gear off and jump in icy cold water are fighting for cleaner waterways and more relaxed laws.
Read more of Shannon Crane’s Go Hard or Go Home