I just travelled 574 miles to swim 120 metres; Why?
Looking out from Low Wood Bay Marina to the white horses galloping across the beautiful rich darkness of Lake Windermere, up to the tips of the surrounding forests and on to the snow-covered mountains is reason enough.
But throughout the Big Chill Swim weekend, that breathtaking view was also punctuated with cheers, laughter, world winter swimming champions, mind blowing feats of endurance, inspiring personal achievements, outstanding fancy dress swimming joy, hot tubs, hot ribena, fluffy dogs, wood fires, trail running, wild swims, wine, dancing, and the shapely buttocks of the ‘East German Ladies Swim Team’ (those of a delicate disposition may not wish to scroll down beyond this first photo …)
On the Friday evening there was a showing of ‘Big River Man’, the powerful documentary following Martin Strel on his 3,375mile swim of the Amazon River, followed by a Q&A with his son, Borut Strel.
The intensity of the film was balanced with a delicate exhibition of art and poetry: Chiang Yee ‘A Chinese artist in the English Lake District’, that was tucked away in a corner of the Low Wood Bay Hotel. Chiang visited the Lake District in the 1930s and wrote an illustrated journal about his time in the area. As a sinologist and swimmer it felt particularly special to read his thoughts on the inspirational waterscape of the Lake District and the parallels he drew with places in his home country, like the West Lake in Hangzhou.
“This morning I paid my visit to the lake and mountain. They smiled at me like relatives and friends.”
And the next morning I completed a beautiful 120 metre swim in delicious water alongside an inspiring group of swimmers and cheered on by friends old and new. Very proud to have won my first swimming medal too – a bronze!
Thank you to Chillswim for such a wonderful event.
芙蓉出水。Out of the water a lotus rises.
芙蓉出水: (fúróng chūshuǐ) Out of the water a lotus rises
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At A Lotus Rises we’re celebrating women in open water, from your first splash, through to wild swims and even swimming marathons.