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Christmas Presents

The joy of springs

With more than 700 clear springs, Florida is a wild swimmer’s fantasy, says Susanne Masters. Just watch out for those gators…

DESTINATION FOCUS: FLORIDA

Forget the Florida of theme parks and Miami bling. With more than 700 springs, the Sunshine State offers a thrilling alternative to the Magic Kingdom for wild swimmers. And I do mean wild – Florida is home to a host of exotic wildlife, including alligators and poisonous snakes.

A camping holiday is a great way to explore the springs, many of which are in state parks. I went in January, when frost formed on our tent’s flysheet at night. But even in winter the spring water remains a relatively balmy 20 degrees Celsius. And it is clear: water from the Floridian aquifer is limestone-filtered to blue-tinged clarity. In summer the water remains the same temperature, a cooling counterpoint to Florida’s sweltering heat.

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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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