If you were inspired by yesterday's interview with competitor Olivia Brown, you might want to go along to this weekend's Winter Swimming Championship at the Tooting Bec Lido, the largest fresh water swimming pool in Europe, to find out more about the joys of an outdoor dip.
The festivities start today with registration, practice and media activities. The competition proper opens on Saturday at 9:10 am with the first of 95 heats of 25-metre "heads up" breastroke. Margy Sullivan, vice president of hosts the South London Swimming Club explains the origin of this format rests with the sport's foremost nation:
The Finns decided to make the races 'head-up breast stroke' to give the amateurs a chance against the elite. The championship is less about speed and more about coping with the cold, the challenge of the races and having some fun.
Saturday concludes with all the finals being held between 2:20 and 3:30 pm. If you fancy a break from the relentless pursuit of gold, silver and bronze you could take in some of the sessions in the accompanying day of talks being held in the Lido's marquee which will cover territory ranging from basic cold water swimming advice to tales of adventurous swims throughout Europe and North America. There's even a consultant from St. Thomas's Hospital on hand to outline the latest research into the health benefits of this bracing pastime.
Sunday offers a more relaxed, but still challenging menu as swimmers take part in events including a 60m freestyle fun race, an endurance swim, international relay races, and a Water Performance Competition. Refreshments such as fine speciality ales and a hog-roast will be available, though you may find the hot drinks readily on offer the most tempting option in the circumstances.
Photo by Chris O'Hearn from the Tooting Bec Lido Flickr group by permission of the South London Swimming Club.