Updated: a day ago
Of course it is. Swimming lessons, swimming galas and leisure swimming all take place at the swimming pool. We might like to take a dip at the seaside, but to be honest, for most people, the indoor swimming pool is as good as swimming is ever likely to get.
The fearful thought of swimming beyond the confines of the indoor pool is a legacy bestowed on a nation indoctrinated by teachings that pool swimming is safe and that open water swimming is foolhardy and dangerous.
The rough and tumble spirit so evident when swimming baths were first constructed, along with diving boards and play equipment, added enrichment to the confined environment, fun and excitement for the bathers. But fears of litigation should the unthinkable happen has left us with a sterile, stifling atmosphere which fails to attract swimmers once they have mastered basic skills. Our changing culture has drawn a line under the lido era through affordable holidays aboard. Sunlit hotel pools outshine their cold and dilapidated predecessors left scattered across the country. Is this the beginning of the end for swimming in the UK?
Growing numbers would answer no to our initial question; is this swimming? If you could read the thoughts of a dolphin or whale, captive in its so called sea world, I think I know where it would prefer to swim. True, some captive creatures live longer than those in the wild but from a human perspective outdoor swimming does not have to be life threatening.
If swimming in an indoor pool is not really swimming after all, then we need more safe places to swim outdoors! Local authorities used to provide swimming opportunities in rivers and lakes in the past and they are beginning to do the same again. True we can set off for remote and scenic locations as highlighted by various wild swimming guides, but if like me you live a long way from any such water holes, what can you do? There is only one thing for it. Contact your local authority’s parks and leisure department and ask them to provide a suitable outdoor swimming venue or at least to allow outdoor swimming at a safe and convenient location.
No harm ever came from asking nicely!