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Susanne Masters explores the island of São Miguel in Portugal’s volcanic archipelago


Holiday time is precious and finding a place for swimmers that also works for non-swimming family and friends can be tricky. Our recipe for a family holiday was sunshine for my mum, somewhere safe for my niece to swim, and somewhere a little unknown for me. With only a few days available, long flights and jet lag were to be avoided. São Miguel – part of the Azores, Portugal’s volcanic archipelago – ticked all our boxes. A mild climate with geothermally warmed water was a winter antidote, forest springs and sea pools would be sheltered swimming spots for my niece, and an island wrapped by the Atlantic Ocean sounded great to me.

Swimming history has alighted in the Azores. In 1998 Benoît Lecomte took a break from swimming 3700 miles across the Atlantic and spent seven days on the Azores, where he recovered his will to swim, and went on to complete his Atlantic crossing. Covered in lush vegetation, it is certainly a place for restoration of the mind as well as fuelling the body with tropical fruits, fresh farm produce and excellent seafood.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

FIT FOR LIFE One of the great things about outdoor swimming is that it can be done by people of all ages. Whether it is wild swimming with your kids or entering races in the super vet category, swimming can be part of your life whatever your age. Our July issue has a Fit for Life theme. As we swim through the ages we look at how we can encourage more young people to swim in the open water, how we should adapt our training as we get older, how one school transformed its swimming lessons and how we can use strength training to combat age-related muscle loss. Plus, we meet swimmers of all ages to discuss their relationship with swimming outdoors.