As a local child I think it is fair to say many of us locals grew up playing in the sea and jumping off West Bay pier or North wall in Lyme. However, as an adult it was pool or holiday sea swimming for me, England was too cold right?
Wrong, you get used to the cold pretty quick after a few dips and then you are immersed in a tranquil world of bliss, bobbing around in the salty water listening to the sea and sand move underneath you as you swim. It’s amazing the affect this has on your body and mind, lately there has been a considerable amount of research into the links between overcoming the stress of entering cold water and how this can help you deal with other stresses in your daily life. I certainly know when I’ve been out of the water, my colleagues may say the same!
A good friend convinced me to give a 10k river race ago in the March of 2017, I am still very thankful to her for this as I can honestly say it changed my life! Needing a challenge for the year, it seemed like a good idea, so training started in the March and by August I was swimming to Lyme and back again! I’m not the fastest or fittest but finishing that Dart 10k in the September felt like I had won the race and I’ve never looked back swimming most weeks throughout the year even during a frost which is invigorating.
If you fancy giving it a go the sea is at its warmest in September/October. There are many groups online you can join in your area, locally we have the Jurassic Coast Swimmers who dip in Charmouth, Lyme and beyond or TED swimmers who dip regularly locally, often at Seaton, Sidmouth Ladrum and many other places. Both groups are found on Facebook.
Nick Stonex who lives in the village has started teaching open water swimming in Charmouth and can be reached on 07931 349706.
For more information on some of the research look up https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/cold-water-swimming-why-an-icy-dip-is-good-for-your-mental-and-physical-health/