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By Stanley Ulijaszek
Swimming in the outdoors - lakes and lidos, rivers and oceans, especially the people that swim in them.

Music - 'Noe Noe' by Castro and Vienna Beat by Radio Pink both on Blue Dot Sessions.

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Darrin Roles and the Lock to Lock Swim Events


Tess and Judy Bird, Daughter and Mother Swimming in Connecticut, New England
Conversations that flow through the water, from mother to daughter and back again, almost dream-like. In this podcast I am in conversation with Tess and Judy Bird, both in New England, daughter and mother, both swimmers, sometimes together, most often not. Judy is a life-long swimmer, former life-guard, with an early excitement about open water that has stayed with her since forever. Tess too is a life-long swimmer.  They share swimming stories with me. Judy – of being in the ocean beyond the breakers, floating, between air and water, where there is a lot of peace. Of swimming in Hawaii with a mother whale and her pup. Of swimming in the Farmington River, going fast and slow all at once, slow on the surface and fast when looking down, an acceleration and deceleration that is completely of the senses, in the mind. Tess talks of a nearby swimming hole by the side of the road in Connecticut where she went with her brother for a spontaneous winter dip, ice cold but before it completely iced over, recovering in the car afterwards. And in childhood of a snake in a deep-nature pond full of pond-life, getting out of the water so quickly to save herself from this creature. Of a water-loving labrador who towed her and her brother around the pond when they were very young. Both Judy and Tess muse on what it has meant to them across the years, swimming, and swimming together, sharing the dreamlike conversations that you have sometimes when in open water. Swimming across a generation. The music is Noe Noe and Watercool Quiet, by Blue Dot Sessions.
July 13, 2022
Sophie Etheridge, adaptive athlete, and swimming the 21 miles of the Two-Way Windermere
I am truly humbled by Sophie Etheridge, and will never ever complain again about the aches and pains in my joints. Sophie is an adaptive athlete, who developed complex regional pain syndrome after a car knocked her off her bike as she was travelling to triathlon training. Now a wheelchair user, Sophie is tough, determined, an achiever, who won back her swimming identity stroke by stroke, swimming through the pain. In 2021 she swam the Two-Way Windermere, all 21 miles of it. She set up the Adaptive/Disabled Open Water Swimmers (ADOWS) group on Facebook and was astonished by the demand for open water swimming community among those with disabilities. She has only recently started writing about this life-changing accident and how it felt, and about the huge importance of swimming in her life now. I am honoured that she has been open to sharing her experience here on Swimmingpod. Additional music 'Electricity' by Elton John; sound from the movie 'Billy Elliott'. 
June 02, 2022
Tom Elliott and Richard Flint Talk About Swimming and the Making of Swim-Film ‘As You Lake It’
Tom Elliott and Danny Longman swam all the lakes of the Lake District in four days, and Richard Flint filmed them. In this podcast, Richard, maker of the film ‘As You Lake It’, talks about the process of filming them do it, and Tom talks doing it - swimming the lakes of the Lake District.
March 11, 2022
Dylan Friedmann - A Year (and counting) of Swimming and Dipping Daily in Lake Ontario, Canada
Toronto-based Dylan Friedmann is an inspiration. She undertook, January 1st, 2021, to swim (or dip) in Lake Ontario every single day of the year to raise money for the charity Kids Help Phone, helping with adolescent mental health in Canada right now when help is needed. Air temperature on some of her dips dips to minus thirty Celsius, the water close on zero. She completed her daily swims in 2020, all 365 of them, and she continues on, swimming and dipping, even when in February she has to dig through the ice for water. The additional music links are Nelly Furtado and Bryan Adams and "Bang the Drum" from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games; Alex Baranowski and “Constellations”.
February 14, 2022
Swimming, Leptospirosis and Me – a 'Night at the Opera' with Stanley Ulijaszek
I was hospitalized with leptospirosis, Weil’s Disease, in August 2021. The risk of this disease sits at the back of the mind of many river and lake swimmers, but it very rarely materialises. It did so in my mind too, until. Until the intense burning and body chills, head and body aches, falling and falling blood pressure took me to hospital and intensive care. The clinical descriptions of the disease do not do justice to the metabolic and physiological roller-coaster I went on. This took me to some strange places in my head, and subsequently made me revisit the risks of contracting this vile disease. This podcast is an account of my treatment-seeking experience, real and hallucinatory, as my condition worsened, into sepsis, and out again, with the expertise and integrated hard work of the medical staff of the University of Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital. Heroes all. I have called it my night at the opera, a hospital drama with music.  The cover image is a copper engraving by Wilhelm Jury (after Johann Heinrich Ramberg) of Tamino chased by a deadly serpent from the opening of Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute".   The music in a 'Night at the Opera' is Nubya Garcia and “Source”; Mozart and “The Queen of the Night’s aria” and “Ihr gotter, was ist das?” from “The Magic Flute”(Cheryl Studer as the Queen of the Night); David Bowie and “Space Oddity”; Diana Krall and “I love being here with you”; GoGo Penguin and “Kora - remix”. Opening music is 'Noe Noe' by Castro, and the ending music is ‘Vienna Beat’ by Radio Pink, both on Blue Dot Sessions.
January 27, 2022
Juliet Turnbull - Swimming the Thames Her Way
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. 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.     
January 27, 2022
The Second Great Stink? UK Swimming Rivers in a Mess, by Stanley Ulijaszek
The Thames, right now is not the universally clean and sparkling river of my dreams. This podcast is about trying to understand, as a swimmer, the problems surrounding rivers in the UK right now – the dumping of raw sewage, of pollution. How did we get into this watery mess? If it were simple, it would have been solved - so what is going on?  The music links are ‘Love is All Around’ by The Troggs; ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ sung by the choir of wells Cathedral; ‘Feeling Good’ by Nina Simone.
January 22, 2022
Charles Sprawson's 'Haunts of the Black Masseur' at 30 years - A Discussion with John Von Düffel and James Norton
This podcast, with German nationally-acclaimed playwright, essayist, dramaturge and prize-winning novelist John von Düffel and acclaimed film-maker James Norton, considers Charles Sprawson’s classic book about the history and cultures of swimming, some thirty years after it was first published. Both John and James are passionate about this book,  John having adapted it for a German-speaking audience in 2002. The discussion ranges from swimming heroes, to romanticism, and to environmental degradation, as well as James' and John's own swimming passions. The book remains as current as ever, but is about so much more than the issues we discuss. Had we recorded the podcast on another day, it might well have been different. Like open water swimming itself – each day is different. Haunts of the Black Masseur can be found at - Music links are: Glenn Miller and ‘In the Mood’; The National Anthem of Russia; and David Bowie and ‘Heroes’
January 04, 2022
Duncan Goodhew, Olympic Gold Medalist, and the State of Swimming in the United Kingdom
Duncan Goodhew is a life-long swimmer and champion of swimming in more ways than one. He won Olympic Gold and Bronze in the 100 meters breaststroke and 100 meter medley relay respectively, in the Moscow 1980 Olympics. He has promoted swimming at all levels ever since. He is President of Swimathon, the swimming charity that brings together swimmers of all ages and abilities with two simple aims: to spread the joys and benefits of swimming whilst raising money for some of the UK’s most needful charity work. He was awarded the Humane Award for administering life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to Lord Sheldon – he learned CPR as an adolescent, with the Learn to Swim Programme. He is one of the founding trustees of what is now SportsAid, a charity which enriches the lives of talented young athletes by recognizing and nurturing their abilities through and beyond sport. He was awarded MBE in 1983 for services to sport. Ever since struck gold and bronze in Moscow, he has been very keen to give back - swimming saved him, gave him direction, from being a wayward and headstrong teenager, to being a champion in every sense of the word, across his adult life.  In this podcast we talk about those early years, about his achievements, and about the important and good work he has done ever since. The music is Simple Minds and "Moscow Underground"; Gorillaz and "Tranz"; Sky and "Toccata". The opening music is Castro and "Noe Noe", and the music ending is Radio Pink and "Vienna Beat", both of Blue Dot Sessions.  
November 19, 2021
Anette Frisch and Mindful Swimming
Anette Frisch lives in Dusseldorf, Germany. She swims in pools and the ocean, but mostly she is a pool swimmer, one that swims crawl because breaststroke is too slow for her. Which is not to say she is in a hurry. She is not; she is one of the most mindful swimmers I know, and this podcast very much became about exactly that – mindful swimming. It wasn’t planned that way, it just happened. Which is part of the magic of mindful swimming – it just happens. She is passionate about swimming, and her website blog ‘’ captures this well. Her writing is eloquent, beautiful, and she captures some of the many stories that people have of the water, of swimming, of places to swim, of swimming moods, captures them before they evaporate. In this podcast, I try to capture Anette’s story before it evaporates. And because music is so important to her, it is inevitable that it sneaks into the podcast. The additional music links are Neneh Cherry and "Synchronised devotion"; Kae Tempest and "People's faces"; Nick Cave and Warren Ellis and "Push the sky away"; Jan Garbarek and "Brother wind March"; Alice Coltrane and "Oceanic beloved". 
September 27, 2021
Pauline Barker, and the Polar Bear (and Penguin) Challenge
Pauline Barker talks about the origins of the Polar Bear Challenge, and how it has expanded. She describes how many people got through the UK COVID-19 winter through swimming, dipping or equivalent challenges. Most importantly, she talks about what’s in store for the coming winter of 2021-22. Winter swimming has probably never been so popular in the UK as it is now, and Pauline Barker, one of the most experienced people in this field anywhere. The additional music links are Tom Rugg's Polar Bear Song, and the Jedi Theme by John Williams.
August 28, 2021
Ben Cousins and Free-diving in the South African Kelp Forest
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 creatures 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.   
July 19, 2021
Grumpy Old Swimming, with Judith Holder
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'. 
June 28, 2021
Berlin Swimming Spree - Caitlin Kraemer and Swimming in the City
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.  
June 04, 2021
Anna Deacon and 'Taking the Plunge'
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.
May 17, 2021
Darrin Roles and the Lock to Lock Swim Events
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.
April 30, 2021
Sian Richardson, Founder of The Bluetits Chill Swimmers
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.
March 30, 2021
Alex Foster's Anthropology of the Serpentine Swimming Club, London
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 Additional music is James Blake's cover of Don McLean's 'Vincent', and Glenn Gould's 1981 recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations.  
February 26, 2021
Nostalgia for Lake Bled Winter Swimming Championships with Jeremy Wellingham and Stanley Ulijaszek
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. 
February 16, 2021
Sandy Burnett, Musician and Broadcaster, on Water, Music, Music and Water
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 -  
January 22, 2021
Frost Swimmers of Gothenberg, Sweden – 100 Dagarkallabad - Anna Carin Olsen, Lina Tengblad and Marielle Sjoren
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.  
December 22, 2020
Swimming Copenhagen-Style
Anne Katrine Kleberg Hansen is an all-seasons swimmer in Copenhagen, a city of the future where outdoor swimming is not just allowed but encouraged     
December 08, 2020
Women Who Swim - Kristie Waller and Judy Pearsall
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.   
November 22, 2020
Swim the Thames - a conversation with Sefryn Penrose, Chris Dalton, Jeremy Wellingham and Sharon Curtis, who started out, with many others, to swim the length of this great river
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.
November 12, 2020
Dip-a-Day - Helen Edwards Swimming Every Day of the Year
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.       
November 02, 2020
Craig Holmes and Jo Jones, British Ice Swimming 500 meter champions, in conversation with Stanley Ulijaszek
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.   
October 26, 2020
Pauline Barker - Founder and Organizer of the Polar Bear Challenge
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.
October 19, 2020
Welcome to Swimmingpod
Welcome to Swimmingpod, a podcast series about outdoor swimming across the seasons, for people who love swimming. An lxvswim production -    #lxvswim
October 18, 2020