JournalMade Better

'Superhumans' with Hen & Claudia

If you, like many people, have never been wild swimming you might be wondering why anyone wants to do it. Particularly, with the typically cold and wet weather we are accustomed to in the UK. We could speculate. But instead, we spoke to Hen and Claudia who are also know as the Wild Swim Girls. 

Hen and Claudia are friends from both England and Wales respectively, they met in London and found a passion for finding wild places to swim wherever possible. Working stressful jobs, they loved the euphoric feeling that the sometimes brutally cold UK waters give them. It allows them an opportunity to access nature in new and unique ways.

Starting swimming initially at the Hampstead women's pond. They found there was a community of unbelievably kind, strong and fierce women who really pushed them hard through their first winter. 

“That's probably one of the reasons why we loved it so much was because of all the women that we were surrounded with all the time and the company that we had. But I found that the sense of community that you get in the wild swimming groups is like nothing else I've ever experienced, especially in London where it's difficult to kind of connect with other people sometimes.

Brains Pure CBD — 'Superhumans' with Hen & Claudia
Brains Pure CBD — 'Superhumans' with Hen & Claudia

Beyond community there are many known physical and mental health benefits of both cold water and swimming in general. People also explain that wild swimming is a very good way to de-stress, and acts like a form of mindfulness or meditation, bringing them into the moment, focusing their mind on the physical sensations, and taking them away from their worries and concerns. In some ways it is the perfect digital detox.

“On an early morning, if you are not really feeling into it, it can be quite hard to get into the water, but it's knowing how amazing you are going to feel when you get out that gives you that push to get in. And even sometimes once you are in you don't always really enjoy it. But it's that feeling when you get out, when the euphoria kicks in and you're like, yeah, this is why I do it.”

There is something slightly naughty, a little bit scary and wonderfully invigorating about leaving your wetsuit at home, and entering open water with just your skin (and perhaps a swimming costume) against the elements.

Brains Pure CBD — 'Superhumans' with Hen & Claudia

“You do also feel a little bit superhuman though. Like sometimes we'll go before I go to work. And when I get to the office, I think sometimes people can tell if I've been swimming or not, because I'm absolutely buzzing on the mornings that we've been swimming and you do feel like you've done something really amazing before most people have even started their days. And I think that's a really good feeling.”

Outdoor swimming in cold water saps body heat, reduces swimming ability and impairs judgement. Cold water shock, which can happen in water temperatures below 15ºc (59f), is common all year round in the UK.

Brains Pure CBD — 'Superhumans' with Hen & Claudia
Brains Pure CBD — 'Superhumans' with Hen & Claudia

”It's really important to listen to your body and how it feels and what it's telling you, because that's your ultimate guide” 

Risks aside, there is something oddly attractive and enlivening about swimming outdoors - which is all wild swimming really is. Beyond the social media posts, there are health benefits too, and it's a beautiful, refreshing and (if you've not done it before) an entirely new way of exploring the outdoors. 

Brains Pure CBD — 'Superhumans' with Hen & Claudia

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