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Christmas Presents

My Late Love Affair with Open Water Swimming

Deborah Herridge took her time discovering open water swimming, but she soon made up for it

I’m not completely sure why it took me 45 years to discover the beauty of swimming in open water.

Maybe it was the cold.

Maybe I simply enjoyed my 30 lengths in the pool three times a week.

Maybe it was the unknown.

Or maybe it was a subconscious thing; I lost my father to a drowning accident when I was 13.

◾ Deborah has raised almost £10,000 for charity through her swimming. Two weeks after her two-way Solent she successfully swam the Solent for charity again, despite saying “never again.” In 2017 she is signed up to swim the English Channel. “Swimming long distances simply makes me feel wonderful,” she says. “I’m so fortunate I found open water swimming, English Channel here I come!” Donate at justgiving.com/teams/DeborahsEnglishChannelSwim

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About Outdoor Swimmer

As spring finally arrives, it is time to start planning your summer swims. We have features on wild swimming in Spain and Florida and full event listings for races in the UK and around the world. Plus, we report from Russia and the UK on the final flurry of the season’s cold water swimming competitions. In this issue’s performance zone, as well as all the usual training and nutrition advice, we teach you how to master easy butterfly. This issue we celebrate a true pioneer of the open water: Mercedes Gleitze, the first British woman to swim the English Channel, was an independent working class woman who promoted open water swimming to a new audience.
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