Outdoor Swimming on the Horizon for Bristol Harbour?

The Bristol Evening Post reports:

Outdoor Swimming on the Horizon for Bristol Harbour?

HOW does an early morning swim in hot bubbling heated water at Bristol’s floating harbour sound to you? For years the harbour has been viewed as dangerous, dirty water for swimmers. And after many warnings from police and fire services, it is now illegal to swim there.

But a campaign has been launched, aiming to transform people’s perspective and the law. Swim Bristol, set up by a group of academics, wants to encourage the city’s residents to swim outdoors. And they say there is no better place than the Floating Harbour.

The group claims the water is cleaner than lots of popular beaches. including Weston-super-Mare and Eastborne.

As part of their plans, segregated lanes could be introduced around the top of the Harbour near to the foundations.

Hot water springs under the city could also be used to heat the water.

But the scheme could prove to be controversial as hundreds of people have had to be rescued down the years after falling in.

Swim Bristol consists of a team of six masters students, studying architecture at the University of West of England.

One of its members Sophie Jarzebowski said: “It is a healthy thing to do in the city, and it is making use of something that is already there. Bristol is a harbour city and this would let people engage with the harbour more directly. People already spend a lot of time around the steps and fountains so this would just be expanding the space people can use.”

The 27-year-old said since the campaign was first discussed as part of a university project, it has really taken off. She said: “George Ferguson said he was very impressed with the idea and we have had a lot of support on Twitter. We believe everyone should have access to open water, and everyone should be able to swim in it if they want to.”

Sophie said ultimately the group would like to see Bristol becoming the national capital for swimming, with schemes encouraging thousands of residents to take to the water.

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