Getting back into the Outdoor Swimming Pools

Woooo! As we have all cautiously stepped out of full lockdown, it’s probably no surprise that the first thing I was looking forward to doing was getting back in the water.

Having been in London through the latest lockdown, my swimming options have been limited to the far from crystal clear waters of “Hackney Beach”.

So when outdoor venues opened yesterday, I made sure I had a booking for my normal lap swimming venue: London Fields Lido. 

London Fields Lido

Although it wouldn’t be considered a Wild Swim Spot, it gets close. It is heated, but chilly upon entry.

In normal times I’ll swim there about 3 times a week, and then switch between The Serpentine, Hampstead Heath Ponds and West Resevoir for a couple of cold water swimming dips.

Although no Michael phelps, I’d consider myself a fairly strong swimmer, having grown up both club and open water swimming. 

Open Water Swimming in Rough Seas

Hitting the pool is something that quenches a similar, but slightly different thirst in my life than the non chlorinated kind.

For me personally, the attraction of the Wild in wild swimming is the conditions. 

I’m at my happiest when throwing myself into some churning seas, and swimming through some big rollers.  There’s a romance about it, your whole body consumed by the raw forces of nature, at its mercy.

By putting in time in the pool, it gives me the confidence to SAFELY tackle those types of conditions.

The second is setting myself a long term challenge.  It’s helped me mentally in so many ways, kept me on the straight and narrow. 

The current challenge I have ahead of me is to complete an Ironman.  I have a spot that has been delayed due to the pandemic from last year, but again whether I will be able to travel there in July this year is up in the air.

I have been looking for something closer to home, so if you have any suggestions  please do reach out.

Getting back in the pool after such a long time, I’m going to focus for the first two weeks on the basics. 

Swimming is such a technique based sport, rather than just pure power, that getting that muscle memory back is key.

A “feel for the water” is something that no matter your level,  should be dropped regularly into your sessions.

The best way to practice is a sculling drill, which I’m going to be doing every session for the next couple of weeks.

Be prepared to drop right down to the slowest lane and get overtaken by literally everyone!

Swimming at London Fields Lido

I will normally pop on a snorkel so that you can really focus on the feel, put a pull buoy between my legs then cycle through 3 different positions:

  • Sculling with your hands stretched out in front and your arm dipped at a slight angle to simulate the “catch” phase of your stroke.
  • Sculling with your forearms perpendicular to your body ensuring you are not dropping your elbow to practice a good pull position
  • sculling with your arms facing by your side by your hips, hands facing behind you to simulate the final part of the stroke.

My first session was slow, but felt so good.  What swimming drills are your favourite? Shoot us a message, as I’m always on the look out. 

I’m thinking I’m going to update this training style blog periodically to perhaps inspire some sessions and to document hopefully my progress, and would always love to hear about yours. 

My session was as follows:

2KM Total

400m warm up

200m sculling

400m pull buoy w/ snorkel and feet tied

4x 100m 20 secs rest

6x 50m 15 secs.

100m All in just for fun.

200m Cool down.



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