Ben Cousins is 72 years old and is passionate about the ocean – he has surfed it, swum in it, and now free dives in and around the ocean kelp forest south of Simonstown, south of Capetown, South Africa. At the start of our conversation in this podcast. Ben quotes poet Emily Dickenson - ‘That it will never come again - Is what makes life so sweet’. Ben lives life to the full, and strives to understand this mysterious world by keeping a diary for every swim - shark, octopus, stringray, and all the creastures big and small that make up this unique ecology.
The music links are 'On Still Waters' by John Surman, Nelson Ayres and Rob Waring; 'A Breath Away' by Ralph Downer; 'Blue in Green' by Miles Davis.
Judith Holder is a bestselling comedy writer, TV producer and speaker, who originated the BBC series and stage shows 'Grumpy Old Women' which have sold worldwide. She is passionate about outdoor swimming. In this podcast she talks about her love for swimming, comedy, and her podcast series with friend and comedian Jenny Eclair. Linking music is Andy Grammer's 'Gotta Keep Your Head Up'; linking dialogue is from Judith Holder and Jenny Eclair's 'Older and Wider'.
Caitlin Kraemer is a graduate student in Berlin and has written an article 'Swimming in the City'. In this podcast we talk about Berlin as an outdoor swimming city, and city swimming in general. A citizen-swimmer, she knows a lot about the Flussbad Berlin, which will open up the Spree Canal to open water swimming right in the heart of the city.
Music links are: Froboess ‘Pack die Badehose ein’; Jaye Jayle 'The River Spree'; Tommy Guerrero 'Sun Rays Like Stilts'. As well as 'Noe Noe' by Castro and 'Vienna Beat' by RadioPink, both on Blue Dot Sessions.
Anna Deacon is co-author, with Vicky Allen, of the book 'Taking the Plunge', She is a photographer of considerable repute, and has a number of swimming-oriented projects on the go. She talks about these, and more.
Darrin Roles started and runs, with acknowledged support from many friends and family, the Lock-to-Lock events in the River Thames upstream of Oxford. These swims are variously from Eynsham to King’s Lock (4 kilometers), from Farmoor to King’s Lock (6 kilometers) and from Farmoor to Godstow Lock (10 kilometers). In the course of setting up these swims, he revived the Oxford Mile (renamed the Oxford Classic Mile) and set up two swim-runs, along the same stretch of the River Thames as the Lock-to-Lock swims.
The Lock-to-Lock events are now regular features in the swim calendar, and they show-case the River Thames as it flows through Eynsham and towards Oxford, this little corner of paradise. Darrin’s paradise – a man who sees the beauty of the local, of the thing before him, rather than chasing a far-off butterfly. And the local, the Thames at Eynsham, is astonishingly beautiful, growing more so the more you look at it. In this podcast, we discuss Darrin’s swimming life history so far – he is in his fifties and has much swimming him yet. We discuss the Lock-to-Lock events, their origins and their development, and his plans for future swimming events in the River Thames in Oxfordshire.
Juliet Turnbull is a very accomplished swimmer, and an artist who turns ideas that churn in her mind as she swims, into art-textiles and embroider-work, works that evoke the sensorial nature of being in the water. She lives on the Thames and swims in it. She is swimming the length of it in sections with her friend Fiona Irwin; she also sings under bridges. The musical link is Abba's 'SOS'. This podcast was recorded in January, when we were both in dry robes, recovering after swimming in a snow flurry, she near Hampton Court, London, me at Eynsham Lock, Oxfordshire.
Sian Richardson, Founder of The Bluetits Chill Swimmers, talks about how this social enterprise, with now more than 6,000 members across three continents, started and grew. From Wales, at the beach near the farm where Sian has lived all her life. Sian has style, panache and a passion for winter swimming which she is taking to the world. Link music in the podcast is John Rutter's 'Deep Peace' sung by Aled Jones.
Alex Foster spent the winter months of 2019-2020 learning about winter swimming and cold water immersion at the Serpentine Swimming Club, in Hyde Park, London. This is podcast is about his immersion in the club and its waters, and his MPhil thesis in Medical Anthropology on this topic. The thesis is available at www.lxvswim.org. Additional music is James Blake's cover of Don McLean's 'Vincent', and Glenn Gould's 1981 recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations.
A nostalgia conversation between Jeremy Wellingham and Stanley Ulijaszek about the Lake Bled Winter Swimming World Championships which took place a year ago, February 2020. We could not have anticipated how the year would unfold, so full of optimism was this event. Helped by the full-to-the-brim enthusiasm of the thousand-plus participants and their friends and family, there was seriousness, friendliness and fun in equal measure. ‘It’s wonderful to be here, it’s certainly a thrill…’ Music link is Brian Eno's 'Music for Airports' performed by the Alaska Orchestra, live-streamed from the Sydney Opera House 2020.
Sandy Burnett is a Man of Music, especially amphibious in classical waters and jazz streams of consciousness. He is one of the most authoritative classical music broadcasters in the UK, with a huge and impressive CV, which he wears lightly. He is also an outdoor swimmer, Summer and Winter. In this conversation we discuss great rivers like the Thames and the Rhine, the ocean at Aldeburgh, Suffolk, and music that has been inspired by the flow of water. The music in this podcast is Sandy himself, improvising, opening of Sea Interlude III, 'Sunday Morning by the Beach' from Benjamin Britten's opera Peter Grimes (Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Conducted by Sir Colin Davis), opening of Bach Cello Suite I (played by Pieter Whispelwey), and Noe Noe and Vienna Beat, both of Blue Note Sessions. Find Sandy at -
Bada bada bada, Varje dag
Bada bada bada, Varje dag
Bada Ja, Bada Ja
Bada bada bada, Varje dag!
Less of poetry than trance chant –
Swimming, swimming, swimming, every day
Swimming, swimming, swimming, every day
Swimming Yes, Swimming Yes
Swimming, swimming, swimming, every day!
Three women in Gothenberg, Sweden who swim every day, and bring joy, candles, bubbles and yoga on a surf-board, as well as their friends, to their project of a hundred swims into winter.
Judy Pearsall and Kristie Waller are two women who swim together regularly in Oxford and Oxfordshire. They both have a passion for swimming and they share some of their swimming thoughts, memories and plans.
Between 2011 and 2013 a group of outdoor swimmers swam the 250 kilometer length of the non-tidal River Thames in stretches, starting at the source and ending in Teddington on the outskirts of London. The numbers varied from stretch to stretch, and the project took on a life of its own. Stanley Ulijaszek discusses this art-work-like swimming project with four of the founders of Swim the Thames.
Helen Edwards started swimming outdoors every day - Dip-a-Day - with no intention of taking it this far. She is now into her fourth year of this personal project, and she talks about her motivation for it, what it brings to her life, and how it has just kept going. She lives in Oxford, and most of her swims are in and around this beautiful city. The music is Noe Noe by Castro, and Vienna Beat by Radio Pink, both on Blue Dot Sessions.
Craig Holmes and Jo Jones are the defending British Ice Swimming 500 meter champions, and are very nice people. They talk with Stanley Ulijaszek about their swimming achievements, their aspirations, and how they got into cold water swimming. They have lots of excellent advice, all learned on their own bodies, on how to break the ice, so to speak, if you haven't done it before and want to.
Pauline Barker, founder and organizer of the Polar Bear Challenge, in conversation with Stanley Ulijaszek, talking about her winter swimming achievements, what it takes to make a Polar Bear swimmer, and her swimming mission to make winter swimming open to everyone that wants it.