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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > September 2018 > OPEN WATER BAYWATCH


Outdoor swimmer Jude Palmer took the recently launched RLSS UK Open Water Lifeguard (OWL) Qualification


Towards the end of last year, a group of us headed south for our usual swim at Hove. We always take care to assess conditions and take the time to make sure everyone knows what to expect and that we always stay together.

The sun shone, the sea was calm and cool but there was a strong current. Five minutes in and a swimmer new to the group said: “You can leave me alone now, I am a strong swimmer.” That simple sentence quite literally stopped me in my stroke and I shivered not from the cold but from her words. It was clear that she neither understood that her own swimming ability wasn’t that of a strong swimmer, nor did she appreciate the capacity of open water to outwit even the Keri-anne Paynes of this world. Terrible thoughts crossed my mind. What would I do if the worst happened and I had to rescue her? How would I rescue myself? I stuck with her for the rest of the swim regardless of her urging me to leave and I resolved to book onto a lifeguarding course as soon as I got home.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

A growing number of endurance athletes are swimming for good rather than glory. Perhaps the most prominent of these is Lewis Pugh, UN Patron of the Oceans. We were privileged to join him on a leg of his Long Swim of the length of the English Channel, which he is undertaking to raise awareness of the plastic in our oceans. Elsewhere in the magazine we bust some more technique myths, visit the Galapagos Islands and the Peak District, test the latest outdoor gear for swimming adventures and meet the writers of best-selling book The Salt Path.