Photographer Paul Meyler is producing a two-part series on cold water swimmers at Tooting Bec Lido.
Paul, a keen cold water and open water swimmer, wanted to explore the activity by photographing the swimmers of the South London Swimming Club who are based at the lido.
Paul said, “The members of this unique swimming club mainly swim throughout the winter season when the temperature of the water is usually averaging between 3-6° and below. Each swimmer has a story to tell and explains why they enjoy and feel the need to swim in such harsh conditions. The images are amongst the first of this project and I will be continuing on the series through to the winter of 2016-17.”
Ian Clark (cold water swimmer of 7 years), said “Outdoor swimming is a great way to challenge the body and still the mind. Swimming first thing in the morning at Tooting Bec Lido is always a dynamic start to the day, especially in winter. The lido is also a fabulous & eclectic community, which makes it even more special.”
Elizabeth Furth (cold water swimmer of 9 years) said, "Swimming at the Tooting Bec Lido during the winter months is truly the icing on the cake of an already year-round pleasurable activity. Paradoxically, swimming in cold water makes one feel warm inside as it accentuates the blood flow. The tingly & burning sensation on the skin helps combat the winter blues and makes me feel very alive!”
Paul added, “Being a Winter swimmer myself, I often stand at the side of the pool for a few minutes psyching myself up. I take a big deep breath as my body hits the water, the adrenaline then kicks in and a feeling of well-being overtakes, I then just start swimming. Although it consumes a lot of energy to swim in water so cold, it is supposed to have some therapeutic benefits such as boosting your immune system, getting your blood pumping, burning calories and obtaining an all-natural high. A visit to the sauna at the side of the pool area is always welcome…..just before you jump back in the pool again!”