As a teenager in the 70’s I went swimming three or four times a week in Stevenage Swimming Pool. In those days health and safety was not taken too seriously, so we had a 6ft springboard, running jumps from a 12ft top board and could play all kinds of games such at jostling to retrieve a pair of goggles placed at the bottom of the 12ft deep-end. Sometimes, late in the day when the mums and dads had left, we had mass games of ‘he’ in which even the lifeguards joined in. Racing up to the top board to run and jump out as far as you could with someone in hot pursuit was a fun tactic in that game.
I guess it taught me to be confident in the water, but these days I never swim in an indoor pool. After leaving Stevenage I rejected chlorinated captivity and started to swim in the wild, in lakes, rivers and the sea.
I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to cold water, so most of my memorable swims have been in the tropics. Now, reading Roger Deakin has inspired me to do more wild swimming in England. This photograph is from a swim in the Cuckmere in Sussex a few days ago.