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Christmas Presents

Where are they now?

For our fifth anniversary we asked the contributors to our first issue to reflect on five years in open water swimming

NAME: Dan Bullock (founder of Swim for Tri)

FIRST ISSUE CONTRIBUTION: Article about training tools

In 2008 the sport of open water for me took a new direction due to the launch of the Great North Swim in Windermere and the medal winning exploits of our Olympians in Beijing. Before this open water had been seen to be a litt le bit eccentric with a few Channel crossings or ice dips on Christmas Day. Having focused on open water coaching for the triathlon community since 2002 we now had a new group of people wanting to go outdoors and swim. I personally found the sport I had been looking to compete in rather than pool swimming or triathlon. I wonder what might have been back in 1992 if open water had been available as a competitive swimming option. I had a good turn of speed for a long distance swimmer and enjoyed 300,000m months of training, shoulda, coulda woulda….! From 2010 onwards it felt like you could race every weekend, anywhere in the UK in a pure open water event (from May onwards but now the season has lengthened thanks to Colin Hill!). It was a fantastic shift and literally a new sport was born.

In 2011 to be asked to contribute towards the launch of a new magazine celebrating this sport was great recognition for our litt le coaching group and it felt like the perfect accompaniment to the booming new sport. We had seen the ASA introduce open water events for young age groups and masters; the forthcoming Olympics at Hyde Park; the Great North swim series grow through all the compass points; and even the possibility to safely swim in the Thames with the Henley Swim events. We even have an Outdoor Swimming Society that added a marathon event allowing us mortals to experience the distance covered at the Olympics and for which I helped create a training plan. Personally I have been proud of the many thousands we have helped get comfortable in open water through our teachings. I wrote the first open water continuing professional development module for British Swimming to help swim teachers improve their knowledge of open water. Some of the swimmers I work with through my volunteering at the London Disability SC have come across and tried open water swimming and racing with us, which was wonderful to see. If venues and facilities can continually be accessed safely and well run then the sport has a great future and we hope to continue to be part of it.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

In our fifth anniversary issue we take a look back at the first five years of H2Open magazine as well as looking to the future and asking ,where will swimming take you in 2016? Whatever your level of swimming, there is a challenge out there for you! If that challenge is a winter swimming competition, we have plenty of top tips and expert advice on swimming in icy water. But if the cold doesn’t really do it for you, we have destination reports from sunny Bermuda and the German lakes. In this issue we also profile four young BLDSA swimmers as well as catching up with open water swimming champions Keri-anne Payne and Cassie Patten. Plus all the usual training, technique and nutrition advice and gear reviews. Happy swimming!
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