Every body is a swimming body: Sylvia Mac of Love Disfigure shares her swimming journey

Love Disfigure is an initiative born out of a need to raise awareness and support for those living with disfigurement. Founded by swimmer and swim teacher Sylvia Mac, who at the age of 48 dared to bare her scars for the first time. Sylvia’s advocacy is having a positive impact in a variety of areas, including setting up fortnightly swimming sessions for anyone with disfigurement.  Thank you Sylvia for sharing your story (and for your entry to the Women’s Adventure Expo #swimselfie competition!)

When I was 7 years old, my father subscribed myself and my sisters into the local swimming club. I was happy at first until I realised that the other children were staring at me and whispering. Before long, I was being called names such as ‘snakeskin’, ‘witch’ and ‘disgusting’.

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My elder sister managed to put a stop to it before it got worse. Because of this incident, I began to plan my route into and out of the swimming pool. When swimming began, I was the last person to leave the changing room and enter the pool. When our Coach called us out of the water, I would hide and pretend I had a stitch or cramp. I became quite popular with my Coach as the child who complained about everything. Little did he know, I was being bullied by the other swimmers, my team mates.

As my swimming improved my father entered me and my sister into League competitions and galas. I remember picking new swim costumes and they were all so revealing. I wouldn’t dare wear a costume with the big cut out hole in the back as this would only make my problems worse. I asked my mum for a big beach towel so my sister could wait at the end of a race with it ready to cover me up from everyone. My sister was my saviour as I never complained to anyone else about my problems. I remember one occasion swimming in a big competition at Crystal Palace leisure centre. At the end of my race, I couldn’t see my sister and became anxious in the water. I remember hearing the officials shouting and whistling at me to climb out of the water. I decided to ignore them and stay in the pool believing my sister would appear very soon. My sister never came until someone shouted over the speaker for me to get out of the pool. I swam under all the lanes to the other side of the pool and quickly ran to the changing room where I locked myself into a locker room. I stayed there until I heard my sister calling me. I was crying and screaming at her but she apologised as she had won her race prior to mine and was celebrating with her friends outside. 

I never won any of my races because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself so ‘pulled back’ during races. I wouldn’t dare ‘place’ in a swim competition because the thought of me being on a rostrum gave me anxiety attacks thinking about everyone staring at me.

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As I got older, I realised I wasn’t able to complete exams in school, college or university which meant I wouldn’t be able to achieve anything great in my life. I remember always attending interviews but when I arrived outside I would turn around and go back home. I always lied to my family telling them I did really well but lacking confidence and low self- esteem was always going to stop me in my tracks. I eventually went on to do office work which was never my thing and I was always shy around people worrying how long it would be before they sacked me.

I went on to work in schools with children as I always felt comfortable with them until one day I took them swimming with the teacher. When I arrived, I noticed 2 ladies working there that I use to swim with many years ago. They asked me if I wanted to come and teach swimming with them so I immediately took swim teacher courses and taught non-swimmer schoolchildren. I enjoyed my work so much that I then took on more work in the evenings teaching Adults to swim. I enjoyed teaching people to swim so much that I did extra evenings with special need children. Some years later I took another course in swim coaching and went on to work with a local swimming club teaching/coaching competitive swimmers. I worked in the club for a year until I began having problems with my back so had to give up work.

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When I was aged 3 years old, I was severely disfigured in boiling water from an accident at home. My sister was running with me through the house and we were told not to go into the bathroom as my mum had boiled saucepans of water and poured into bowls on the floor for our bath. We lived in a council flat in the East End of London and often ran out of gas and electric so my mum filled the bath for all 5 of my sisters to bathe. I almost died twice from my injuries but was lucky to pull through life support to tell my story today.

Last year July 2016 I went on holiday with my mother and son. Whilst laying around the pool sunbathing a man was videoing me and followed me back and forth. This made me extremely sad and upset that my mum decided we should go to the beach instead. We went up to our room and I put on a beautiful bikini which I would never think of wearing but was bought for me. We made our way to the beach and I could see my mum was very sad as she often stared at my burns and questioned if they hurt me. As I stared at her staring at me, I could feel her sadness so began walking down to the water’s edge. As I was walking I could feel everyone’s eyes on me and turned around to face my mum. I called out to her ‘mum, look at me’ and I began to smile and pose as if I was being photographed. I noticed her face change and she began smiling back at me. I went over to her and said, ‘mum from now on, when people photograph or video me, I will smile and pose then at least I will look great on youtube’.

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In October 2016, I released my own video on youtube and bared my scars. Aged now 49 years old, I decided I want to change my life and stop spending my days crying and hiding away so began a FB group called Love Disfigure. I raise awareness and show support for people living with a disfigurement by blogging on my website lovedisfigure.com and sharing beautiful photos of myself and my scars.

I recently released a story to BBC News called ‘my scar and me’ which was surprisingly released online BBC World News. I then went onto release an audio interview on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour which can be found on BBC IPlayer. I will continue campaigning for those affected by their appearance whether scars, burns, marks, skin condition or health conditions. There are thousands of people around the world who continue to suffer with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and PTSD and send me heartfelt messages. When I released my story, many of my friends didn’t know I was burned but only myself and my family knew. It was my choice to keep this to myself as many people continue to do every day in fear of being cast out. We need to let these people know that we are all unique and different in many ways. Do not let life pass you by as I did. I have wasted my life because I had no confidence in myself and my skin.

Today I can finally say ‘I am Beautiful, we are all Beautiful’.

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Connect with Love Disfigure on twitter, Facebook, Instagram and via their website.

A Lotus Rises is on a mission to increase visibility, access and participation of women in swimming. Our first collaborative workshop is at the Women’s Adventure Expo on 7th October.  Whether you’re returning to the pool, learning to swim or embarking on the English Channel we will be exploring all that open water has to offer with insights from across our women’s swimming collective and scientific contributions from the international institute of swim cake studies.

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LOTUS Exclusive: A Circumnavigation of the Rock With No Name…

Wild Swimming World first or Two friends, one dog, one island, one ocean and a picnic?… Out of the water…A Lotus Rises

At around 20.00 hrs yesterday evening,  Jess and her dog Otley made their way down to Westcombe beach for a dip, with me, Alice, official observer from the swim blog for women who love open water – A Lotus Rises.

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Jess on the rocks! Photo copyright: Alice Gartland

Some people may think this was just two friends and a dog going for an evening swim and picnic amongst the Monet like cliffs of the Devon coast, but no…

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Looking out to the Rock With No Name (it’s the little one that’s difficult to see that’s just in front to the big one)… Photo Copyright: Alice Gartland

Otley and the picnic were secured beach side, and we ventured out into the cool sea. Jess pirouetting on the sea covered rocks that she knows so well  (this is her local swimming pool).

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Ahead lay the Rock with no name, of which there are no official records of a circumnavigation… we estimated the swim to be about 10m in distance and best approached with a mixture of head up breast stroke and doggie paddle…

This breath taking footage captures this world first in wild swimming…

And this – doggie paddle to the finish…and diving off the island in celebration – Well done Jess – Epic swimming times!

Then we headed back to the beach for a crudette avec dip supper, and a petit vino, whilst wrapped up in warm jackets and woolly hats, before walking barefoot and muddy back home.

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Jess looking back to the beach in her OSS Dart 10k hat (rumour has it that Jess will be returning to the Dart in 2017… )

Continue reading “LOTUS Exclusive: A Circumnavigation of the Rock With No Name…”

Outdoor Swimming: A Gateway to Positive Change

It’s 1.15am and pitch black, apart from the flashing lights attached to my swimming cossy and hat. The gate to the back of the fishing boat is opened and I sit down, dangling my feet above the ‘tropical’ 16 degree Celsius English Channel, about to jump in for my third hour of swimming. I am so excited… our four women relay team is less than two hours from landing in France!

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Girls Night Out in the English Channel: Photo Credit Alice Gartland

Swimming is a life skill that is fundamental to being able to take to the water safely, whatever activity we choose; but it’s also a gateway to adventure, well-being and exploration in its own right.
From artist Vivienne Rickman Poole, who is documenting her journey to swim in all 250 lakes of Snowdonia (whatever the weather) and Sam Mould ’s exploration of the tarns in the Lake District, to swimmer- writers inspired by the water like Caitlin Davies, Jenny Landreth, Tanya Shadrick, Outdoor swimming is an activity in which women excel, empowering people’s lives both in and out of the water.

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Photo Credit Sam Mould

Not just a catalyst for creativity, outdoor swimming is a channel for international diplomacy, social justice and and positive change.

Becky Sindall, is a water scientist and swimming instructor volunteering with the charity Nile Swimmers in the Lebanon and Sudan to help tackle drowning in Africa, and since Lynne Cox’s 1987 swim of the Bering Straits, helping to melt the cold war, swim diplomats have been building bridges across the globe. For example on 5th May 2017 Kim Chambers brought together a team of international swimmers in the first ever swim from USA to Mexico, that’s following on from her August 2015 swim where she became the first woman to swim from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge – a distance of about 30 miles in waters famed for its Great White Shark inhabitants…If only Kim, Putin, Tump, Xi, May et al went and chilled out for a swim together…

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Photo Credit Beth French

It’s fair to say, women are dominating the world of endurance swimming at the moment. Chloe McCardel’s three way Channel Crossing and four way channel attempt is part of wave of women, like WAexpo speaker Beth French, redefining the parameters of what’s possible. The diversity of their swim adventures is also breath taking. For example, Jaimie Monahan’s recent swims include an Ice Zero Swim in Tyumen Russia, through to swimming 42.8 miles across Lake Geneva in 32 hours and 52 minutes. And it’s a sport for life, with Sal Minty Gravett and Pat Gallante amongst the leading lights.

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Jaimie Monahan swimming at the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, Iceland. Photo credit Arik Thomahlen

Of course, every swim journey starts with a single splash and the beauty of outdoor swimming is that it is accessible, requires very little kit (wetsuits are optional), and is as challenging as you want it to be: 8-10th August, the wonderful swim spirit Sarah Thomas swam a 104.6 mile route in Lake Champlain and this morning I did 4 lengths of my local lido – it’s all good!

Social media means it’s easy to find local swim groups (never swim outdoors alone) and you soon discover the joy of the outdoor swimming community, it’s love of cake and strong tradition of ‘giving back ‘ and helping others to realise their dreams. Check out the Outdoor Swimming Society, founded by Kate Rew for starters.

And it is very much a team sport, particularly when it comes to long distance challenges, where support crew are critical for route planning and ensuring the safety of the swimmer. Kayaker Shu Pu became the first person to paddle solo across the Pearl River Delta when she supported Simon Holliday on his 35km swim from Hong Kong to Macau and is now organising Simon’s swim around Hong Kong island this November.

Outdoor swimming is a liberator, known to alleviate anxiety and depression and was a sanctuary for me to rebuild my mind and body following a road traffic accident. It is also a ‘leveller’ – I still have no idea what most of the people I swim with ‘do’ for a living; and for a sport where everyone pretty much gets naked all of the time, body image seems irrelevant – I have never asked anyone if my bum looks big in a swimming costume.

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The Thames Marathon Swim: Photo Credit Dan Bullock

Whether splashing around in a loch in Skye, surrounded by seals and crying with laughter with a seaweed wig on my head, competing in international winter swimming festivals in China, or jumping in the English Channel at 1.15 am, the rewards of rewards of outdoor swimming are immense.

Back in the Channel, I finish my final hour of swimming and Kathrine takes over, landing us in France at around 2.40am. Exhausted, elated and wrapped up in our sleeping bags on deck, our sense of accomplishment and capability envelopes us as we sail home and a spectacular orange and pink sunrise emerges; it’s incredible what can happen when you take to the water…

Happy Swimming

Alice

A Lotus Rises, the swim blog for women who love Open Water. She’ll be presenting the Guide to open water swimming at WAExpo 2017, the Women’s Adventure Expo’s flagship event on the 7th of October, sponsored by Outdoor Swimmer Magazine and with assistance from the International Institute for Swim Cake Studies.

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Outdoor Swimming: Things I Wish I’d Known…

Many adventures start out as just a flicker of intent, mixed with a dash of terror of the unknown. Rather like standing at the water’s edge, you deliberate, hesitate, but eventually you leap, love it, and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

So, to avoid any further delay to your outdoor swimming adventures, we asked a range of swimmers turned open water addicts, what they wish they’d known before they started open water swimming…

“That no one cares what you look like or how you swim because everyone’s too busy enjoying themselves and eating cake; That the fear may never subside but the enjoyment, satisfaction and sense of achievement will only get greater; Always have a woollen hat in your bag; and always pack a cap, goggles and costume, as you never know when the opportunity for a swim might appear!” Manda Read.

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Manda Read, Team Mermaids

“That swimming takes you to another place: both geographical (far flung places where you meet similar minded people and have a hoot, even if you don’t speak a common language) and also takes you to yourself (without sounding too hippy-ish!): giving you the time to think over stuff, grieve at times, get some space and find the strength to face up to challenges in life.” Clare McRobbie

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Clare, (Right) and the Dive In Belles. Photo Credit Gail McClean

 

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Clare and Charlotte leading the Dive in Belles at Tooting. Photo Credit Gail McClean

“I wish I’d known how much more alive and exciting I’d find swimming in just toggs. That you don’t have to choose between being a wetsuit or toggs swimmer – you can do both!” Vicky Raybould, who completed her first open water event in 2016.

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“A fingertip’s worth of Johnson’s baby shampoo on each lens of your goggles. It’s ok to let it dry while you wait for your next swim. Then dunk your goggles in the water and shake off the drips before you put them back on. Never fails to stop them misting up!”, says Jackie Risman.

“I wish I had known that nobody cares what you look like in a swimsuit…and how much I would come to appreciate my health and what my body is capable of,” Barbara Brown

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Photo Credit Barbara Brown

“That Jellyfish can’t get down high necked swimsuits” Anna Wardley

“The least glamorous sport in the world…but life changing and prestigious” Sal Minty Gravett

“ That you don’t have to be an elite swimmer to do it – in fact you don’t even have to be a good swimmer. That I had been doing it my whole life already, it’s just that I used to call it playing at the seaside…” Polly Downes

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Photo Credit Polly Downes

“Almost anything can (and will) happen. And (almost) anything will be okay!”, Jaimie Monahan.

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Photo credit Arik Thomalen

“To be honest I wish I’d sorted my technique out sooner.” Geraldine Treacher.

“How huge a part of my life it would become.”  Jody Jones

“What wonderful, inspiring and downright gorgeous people embrace and participate in this sport…I couldn’t imagine my life now without my swimmie friends and I’ve achieved things I wouldn’t have even dreamed were possible five years ago.” Annabel Lavers.

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Annabel finishes her Channel Solo Photo Credit Annabel Lavers

“I use the strong ‘in the moment’ memories that outdoor swimming gives me, to give me confidence and courage to channel into other areas of my life,” Teresa Klesner

“That it’s OK to be a bit uncomfortable – it won’t kill you, it won’t even hurt you. And the joy of actually BEING in one’s own body – of experiencing it as a wonderful piece of equipment which could do so much I’d never imagined and which was so much more strong and capable and adaptable than I’d ever thought it could be.” Barbara Jennings

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Barbara Jennings. Photo Credit Gail McClean

“You have no idea how capable you are, or how far you can go until you try. Just a little bit more each time. Plus making really solid friendships so quickly,” Debbie Taylor

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Have you entered our SwimSelfie Competition? 

Win a years subscription to Outdoor Swimmer Magazine and a kit bag full of swim gear from Zoggs, and two tickets to the Women’s Adventure Expo.

A Lotus Rises is the swim blog for women who love open water and we’re very excited to be delivering our Guide to Open Water Swimming at WAExpo 2017, the annual flagship event of the Women’s Adventure Expo CIC. Never afraid to tackle the important issues, we’ve got together with Outdoor Swimmer Magazine and Zoggs to try and answer one of the toughest questions in open water swimming – What makes the best #SwimSelfie? and support you on your swim adventures, whatever they may be!

Submit your pics to @WAEXPO and @ALotus_Rises with the hashtag #swimselfie, for the chance to win a year’s subscription to Outdoor Swimmer Magazine, a Kit Bag full of swim gear from Zoggs (1 x swim cozzie from a choice of three (size 8-20), the excellent predator goggles, swim hat, ear plugs, and towel), and 2 tickets to WAExpo 2017 held in Bristol on 7th October to inspire you on your swim adventures. We’ve extended the deadline so that last entries are Monday 2nd October, with winner announced 3rd October.

 

 

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Tough Girl Podcast #alotusrises

Really honoured to be on Sarah William’s Tough Girl Podcast, talking about the background to A Lotus Rises, how being hit by a lorry on the way to work the day before my 31st birthday helped change my path, how I got into outdoor swimming, tips for starting out in open water, adventures and challenges in and out of the water, China, career change, community, cake and the power and plans of our growing swimming collective.

Link to the interview here and you can also download it on iTunes and Soundcloud

 

Continue reading “Tough Girl Podcast #alotusrises”

Cake vs Pie – A Lake District Swim Adventure with Suzanna Swims

A Lotus Rises is working in partnership with the International Institute for Swim Cake Studies to answer one of the toughest questions in outdoor swimming: “What is the best cake for optimum swim performance?” Links to our swim cake archives, and how to contribute your swim cake data are at the bottom of this post. But suffice to say, we are determined in our scientific pursuit and prepared to travel the world swimming and eating cake for the rest of our lives if we have to…And so it came to pass, that on Tuesday at 09.00 hrs, this serious swim science endeavour lead us to a car park in Ambleside for a secret swim cake mission with Lake District swim guide and pie expert Suzanna Swims

The International Institute for Swim Cake Studies is a multi disciplinary, multi-stakeholder organisation, with a collaborative ethos at its heart – only through cooperation, discourse and truly listening and allowing different voices to be heard, can we ever resolve the critical challenges facing our world; and most of the time that’s best achieved with a swim followed by cake and a cup of tea (or perhaps coffee…).

We are immensely grateful to Suzanna for taking us on a swoosh-tastic, swim adventure along the River Rothay, past a Roman fort and across the “The Puddle of Unknown Depth”.

What follows is what will become (no doubt) award winning adventure film footage. Please note, that in the summer, this swim usually ends at the pub – literally you get out and walk into the pub garden. However as it was October and the water was pretty tropical, the autumn version of the swim enjoys an earlier exit, taking in the glamorous “Puddle of Unknown Depth”.

 

Car Park

Shark dog was carefully secured in her dog box and Suzanna talked me through the swim and what kit to carry in her new Swim Secure Wild Swim bags that we got to test out for the first time. Kit list below.

Getting in

Suzanna talked me through the safest entry point and lead the way into the Rothay. The water temperature was tropical “Just like Hawaii”…

 

Swoosh!

We flew along the first section – no need to swim and could rest on our wild swim bags and chat – very happy swim times!

 

Laughter and Kayaks

Turning the corner we met a group of kayakers “you’ve forgotten your wetsuits”.  Happily both of us knew we are acclimatised and happy skins swimming all year around. Skins swimming in October is not a badge of honour. But having acclimatised for a few years now, it’s something I enjoy. We all find our own path.

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The Puddle of unknown depth

We exited the river and walked back across the fields past the Roman fort and across “the Puddle of unknown depth”. Glamorous wild swimming times!

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Not quite such in the mud… Photo Credit  Suzanna Swims

 

Cream tea – Is it a scone or a cake?

There were pancakes on the menu too, but we kept things traditional with fruit scones and tea, over which we talked about swimming as a gateway to positive change in our lives and the environmental challenges faced in the local area and the responsibilities we have as swimmers (more to follow on that…).

For Suzanna though it is pies, rather than cake that fuel her swim adventures.

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Train home. Is a pasty a pie?

Too much tea and chat lead to a dash for the train back to the metropolis, leaving no time for a direct comparison of cake vs pie. However, Suzanna is super organised and gave me a cheese pasty to evaluate on the journey home….

 

Key information

Kit

This is not an exhaustive list, but Suzanna was testing out the Swim Secure Wild Swim Bag  It’s an inflatable dry bag with shoulder straps and waist band – you can remove the shoulder straps to swim, and put them back on when crossing the puddle of unknown depth and/or other terrain… Really good – space for a lot of clothing (down jacket, trainers, thermals etc), highly visible (good when encountering other water users), and versatile for swim-walk or run adventures.

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Suzanna Swims – expert Lakes guide #SwimSecure

Swimming costumes: Alice – Natatio Racer Back one piece Navy Pop; Suzanna – Zoggs – blue planet high back – (we think discontinued, we’re not sure). It’s her pick for buttermere swims – matches the water there (and that’s not just a fashion choice – more on that another time).

Swim gloves (Osprey): Again I never want to get cold, so when Suzanne offered gloves I gladly accepted them. They were much less cumbersome than I anticipated – could use my camera for Oscar winning film making etc…

And of course, the limited edition A Lotus Rises swim hat, perfect for river swims to the pub, or crossing the puddle of unknown depth. Incredible versatility 😉 (Note Alice wore two swim hats, just in case it was too tropical)

Post swim: Foot changing mat (insulates you from the cold), thermals (top and bottom), Swim Robe, Woolly hat, down jacket, waterproof jacket, mud and rain.

Where?

River Rothay, Ambleside.

Nutrition:

Tea.

Fruit scone, cream, jam and tea.

Cheese pasty or is that a pie?

The discussion continues (swim cake fellows there is a secret mission that we will announce that we need your help on…):

Kina Mara on the Swim Cake Science pulse:

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Outdoor swimmer magazine has also said the cake/pie debate is “just heresy”…

Controversial swim cake times – thank goodness the International Institute for Swim Cake studies is there to oversee developments.

A Call for Submissions. Deadline 6th November 2017

Outdoor Swimmer Magazine have launched a call for swim cake recipes to be published in the December issue of the magazine with prizes up for grabs. IISCS will be overseeing the adjudication panel in line with IISCS swim cake panel guidelines.

Where can I find out more?

Want a swim adventure in the Lakes? Connect with Suzanna Swims on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

The International Institute for Swim Cake Studies – Become a research fellow @SwimCakeStudies or submit your swim cake data here and here (AKA swim cake pics and insights). Research write ups here and here. During the winter months we’ll be conducting a serious swim cake survey. Watch this space for more details…

The swim cake adventures continue…Thank you Suzanna Swims! #alotusrises #wsc

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Women Only Swimming Cancelled Following Discrimination Complaint

A swimming pool has cancelled its weekly one hour women only swimming session after they were asked to justify why they run the sessions, under the Equalities Act 2010.

Female only swimming sessions will no longer be held at  Dursley pool after a complaint by one man was made under the Equalities Act 2010 –  the Council was contacted and asked to justify why women only sessions were offered as they were likely to be in breach of the Act.

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Whilst one’s immediate reaction may be WTF, this is vexatious bullS*&%, the decision to stop the sessions is apparently driven by concerns of adhering with the law.

We’re not an expert on the Equalities Act, but one can’t help but wonder that this use of the legislation is perhaps not the purpose for which it was intended.

Core guidance from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission sets out that there are exceptions to the general rules of equality law, and subject to meeting particular criteria, female only as well as mixed swimming sessions are actually given as an example of one such exception.

There also seems to be an issue of proportionality here – this appears to be a one hour weekly session – was there, could there have been a discussion about how best to resolve this? What prompted the complaint – is this an opportunity to understand the needs and concerns of the different stakeholders involved? Could it be that a men only session as well as a female only session is needed, and is possible?

Perhaps there is a particular circumstance unique to this pool that means unlike many other pools across the UK, they cannot hold women only sessions?

That conversation is particularly important as there is, quite simply, a crisis in swimming in the UK:

In the past decade over 1/2 million women gave up swimming in the UK  because of fears about how they look. And more than three times as many women as men stopped swimming between 2005 and 2014 – indicating the value in women only swim sessions

In 2015, 181,700 women quit swimming compared with 63,300 men.

Back in 2015 Claire Cohens article in the Telegraph described how the This Girl Can campaign that encourages women to get active and helps break down barriers to sports participation, was driven by research from Sport England that identified that a fear of judgment was the biggest barrier to participation in sport; and that fear, “far outweighs women’s confidence to exercise.” Concerns ranged from embarrassment over sporting ability to worries about appearance – women only sessions help to reduce such barriers.

Female only swim sessions are important and they are needed.

Of course the barriers to participation in sport and swimming and the health crisis in the UK is not limited to women:

1/5 adults in the UK can’t swim; and 

45% of 11 year olds are unable to swim 

It’s time no just to talk, but to take positive action on swimming as a life skill, a gateway to well being for everyone –  learning to swim is a human right.

It was really exciting to see that Catherine West MP is setting up an all party group on swimming to address access and participation and other issues.

The article in the local newspaper the  Gazette, says that the council are looking at whether the sessions can be reinstated under Sport England’s guidelines. We shall see, but in the meantime, the action to cancel the sessions, no doubt raises concerns that there is a lack understanding and care towards women in sport in the local administration. In the meantime you can sign the petition to reinstate the sessions here.

Post script:

I wrote this quickly having seen the petition on twitter. I just finished writing and saw this post. Yep.

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A Lotus Rises is the swimming blog for women who love open water from your first splash, through to wild swims and marathon swimming. We’re building a swimming collective on a mission to increase visibility, access and participation of women in swimming and we’d love you to be a part of it. Many more inspirational stories, advice and adventures can be found on our Blog, and Facebook page and Instagram, – please don’t hesitate to get in touch via Twitter or  alotusrises@gmail.com. We want to share your stories, so we can support you and inspire others!