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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > November 19 > Swimming Lake Malawi

Swimming Lake Malawi

Five swimmers, three nationalities and 25km separating a common goal. By Jay Azran

On 23 April this year we flew into Lilongwe, Malawi with the goal of swimming across one of Africa’s great lakes – Lake Malawi. We were a multinational crew made up of Polly and Chris Stapley from Swaziland, Ruth and Jay Azran from South Africa and an Australian – Andy Stevens. Some of us had never met, some had. All of us were vibrating with nervous anticipation and all of us wanted to complete this solo crossing.

Given the remote location, logistics were handled Walter Muggleton from Cape Town who had successfully seconded a handful of Lake Malawi crossings, together with his wingman Aubrey De Klerk. The objective and strategy was simple: we had a four-day window to complete this attempt. The crossing was further than any of us had swum before – and we wanted and needed the best conditions possible to increase our chances. However, there was talk of a hurricane gathering momentum off the Northern Coast of Mozambique. We didn’t know if it would make landfall, but we decided to go for glory on the first swimming opportunity.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

Hello November – log fires, bobble hats and serene autumn swimming. Crisp water, falling leaves and a sense of calm before the icy thrill of winter, autumn is one of my favourite times of the year to swim. If you want to try extending your swimming season this year, a little bit of neoprene can go a long way – read our reviews of hats, gloves, socks and accessories in this month's Tried & Tested gear guide. In this issue we explore the benefits of cold water swimming on mental health. In 'Unsung Heroes' we celebrate wild swimmers, many of whom use their daily dip to help combat depression, grief and pain. And swim guide Pete Kelly takes a group of swimmers from mental health charity Growing Well for a cold water dip in Windermere. As always, this issue brings you training advice, destination and event reports, stunning swim photography and the most comprehensive UK and international event listings to help you plan your aquatic adventures.