A Lido of Legends: The UK Cold Water Swimming Championships 2015 at Tooting Bec

My first UK Cold Water Swimming Championships; In fact my first ever championships in anything. Anything at all…

The event brings together swimmers from around the world to enjoy 30m of front crawl and head up breast stroke with millinery joy, along with a big group ‘Splash!’ – This year all at a delicious temperature of 3 degrees.

CWSC the scene is set. Credit: Sam Mould

CWSC the scene is set. Credit: Sam Mould

Like all championship swimmers, I meticulously prepared my championship kit the night before:

Championship Swimming Cossy; Championship Bikini; Championship Swim Hat; Championship Goggles; Championship Towel; Championship Thermals; Championship Woolly Hat; Championship Down Jacket; Championship Sombrero; Championship Moustache; Championship Sunglasses; Championship Sean Conway Beard; Championship Wonder Woman cape and Championship Wonder Woman head, waist and wrist band.

I was championship ready.

My only concern was that my championship sombrero was not hand made (a condition of the CWSC hat competition is that your hat needs to be hand made). Although that meant I could never be in the running to participate in the official championship hat parade, I just had to hope that the famously austere SLSC officials would at least let me compete with it on…

The Championships were officially opened by a full championship choir singing a championship song especially commissioned for the championship, as steam rose up from the championship hot tubs and floated around the growing crowd of championship swimmers.

CWSC 2015 Choir

CWSC 2015 Championship Choir and Championship Swimmers

The swimming started and in no time at all an expert team of volunteers were guiding us from our assembly point to the start positions for the individual front crawl. Our names were announced and then with shoulders underneath the water, 3…2…1 …we were off!

CWSC Fire Breathing Dragon! Credit: Sam Mould

CWSC Championship Fire Breathing Dragon! Credit: Sam Mould

An hour later it was head up breast stroke – wearing a sombrero, moustache and sunglasses helped keep my head position above the water and within the head up breast stroke swimming guidelines. Halfway across I was almost incapacitated with laughter, but thankfully managed to re-focus like a true cold water swimming champion and power through.

CWSC Championship Sombrero and Moustache in action. Credit Sam Mould

CWSC Championship Sombrero and Moustache in action. Credit Sam Mould

CWSC Sombrero hot tub

CWSC relaxing post swim in the championship hot tub

And then, in an inter galactic constellation of loveliness, team Wonder Women were GO! in the front crawl relay. Our team was a very last minute combination of super hero glory.

Sometimes all you need is a picture (or two). Well done team!

Team Wonder Women. Has anyone seen Bee? Credit: Sam Mould

Team Wonder Women. Has anyone seen Bee? Credit: Sam Mould


Team Wonder Women. with their invisible plane. Credit: Sam Mould

Team Wonder Women with their invisible plane. Credit: Sam Mould

Then all that was left to do was enjoy the swim finals, hot tubs,  music, pakora – chilli naan and a pint, and admire the hat parade – stunning!







CWSC is a bi-annual event, so as much as I would love to only have to wait 12 months for another CWSC, I now have two years to become a millinery expert and, perhaps, become speedy enough to reach an actual championship final…CWSC 2017 – can’t bloomin’ wait!

A massive thank you to the organisers and wonderful volunteers for making this such a wonderful day.


CWSC Hot Tub. Credit: Sam Mould

CWSC Serpentine Hot Tub. Credit: Sam Mould

芙蓉出水: (fúróng chūshuǐ) Out of the water a lotus rises

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