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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > January 19 > MINORITY REPORT


Why is there a dearth of men in outdoor swimming groups? Rowan Clarke gathered together a crew of male swimmers to ask them why they think their sex is in the minority
Images: Jemima Rose, Fur and Gold Photography

It’s an unusual sight: a group of around 20 men at Clevedon Marine Lake for a swim with only a couple of women among them. It’s like an inverted picture of the usual groups, but why?

To begin with, these male outdoor swimmers are a bit coy with their answers. “I don’t want to sound sexist”, says one, trying to avoid making sweeping generalisations based on sex (the definition of sexist). But the fact remains that there are fewer men than women in outdoor swimming groups, and even fewer among winter swimmers. In fact, this group represents less that 20 per cent of the marine lake’s winter swimming community, a figure that seems typical across the UK.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

In our January issue we tell the strange outdoor swimming history of Mao Zedong, we test a chilly willy combobulator and ponder the female gender bias in cold water swimming, leap off a waterfall in Yorkshire while discussing ways to combat the winter blues, and take up stand-up paddleboarding. Plus, our pick of our favourite events in 2019 to help you plan your new year adventures, and our resident Olympian Cassie Patten gives her top tips for motivation to help you achieve your swim goals. And just in case it all gets too much, we look at how to avoid burnout and show you how to strengthen your shoulders and avoid rotator cuff injuries.