Anyone in London who watched the local BBC News last night will have seen swimmers interviewed at London Fields Lido in Hackney enjoying the steaming water as the lifeguard shivered with a hot water bottle on the poolside.
In my opinion there can no better way to enjoy swimming than when the water is heated to between 24 and 28 degrees and it’s really cold outside – as long as you keep moving and make the dash to the changing room a pretty quick one.
However those people who brave the unheated waters of Tooting Bec Lido and London’s Serpentine must be a little bit, well, bonkers. I’m sure your body does acclimatise to the cold water a bit but I doubt whether you could do more than a couple of lengths without your body’s vital organs starting to shut down which doesn’t seem too smart to me.
On the BBC’s website you can see some people cracking the ice to swim the Serpentine! One swimmer, Richard (pictured right) tells the BBC reporter: “It’s a fantastic way to start the day. It gives you a great tingle…You feel terrific for the whole day.” He claims that there are health benefits from swimming outdoors (‘we never get colds’) and that people of all ages from 16 to 86 swim in the Serpentine daily.