Win a copy of Swell: A Waterbiography
COMPETITION NOW CLOSED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN CONTACTED VIA PROVIDED EMAIL ADDRESS.
It's safe to say that the British don't handle hot weather very well. Despite complaining for months about the rain and how cold it is, it's now become too hot to even drink tea. Iced is just not the same.
To help us cool down, we've been diving into our Shorts Pyjama Sets and reading Jenny Landreth's latest book release, 'Swell: A Waterbiography'.
Whereas the idea of diving into a pool seems like a great way to escape the heat, in the 19th century swimming was exclusively the domain of men and it wasn't until the 1930s that women were granted equal access to pools. Swell is the story of the women who made that possible, capturing the achievements and world of women's secret swimming.
Yawn take a trip to the beautiful Parliament Hill Fields Lido.
Catching up with the author herself, read below to discover how Jenny came to love the water and she may just convince you to hit your local lido this summer too.
"Sometimes, going swimming can feel a bit like a regime - but more in a military sense than a fitness one. You hook a heavy bag over unfriendly terrain, set campy in a clammy box, then head out in unfamiliar clothes to plough up and down a lane whilst trying not to accidentally touch a stranger's toes.
It also seems that you need a great deal of kit. Sometimes it's as low-tech as a laminated print-out, detailing exactly what to do for how many lengths and how fast to do it. And sometimes it's higher-tech, like the sport satnav watches that record every meter, or devices that click in your ear so you keep the same pace. Maybe there will also be a pricy isotonic drink in a fancy flask and a costume in some advanced fabric that'll help you be the amazing swimmer you're meant to be...
Wrapping up in our Cool Waters Robe after a quick dip.
But none of this sounds very relaxing and it doesn't even sound very pleasant to me. But it doesn't have to be like that. There's a whole other swimming world out there. Which is where I'm going to try and tempt you - outside.
The only time people swim outdoors is on holiday. On holiday, you can potter up and down in some water, not worry too much about far you're swimming but instead, enjoy the sensation, the feelings of wellbeing and freedom it brings. But you don't have to restrict those glorious holiday swimming feelings to one fortnight a year. You could have them every day. Feelings of wellbeing and freedom are available in every outdoor pool in this country, at no extra charge!
I'm not completely deluded. I am aware of our climate. Here, we have to take into consideration the fact that it might rain. On you. While you're in the pool. But here's a thing: swimming outdoors in the rain is one of life's unexpected pleasures. It doesn't matter if you get wet, because you're already wet. It can make you laugh like you were six again. It's really liberating, just for a bit, to experience it and not care.
I'm also here to temp you to slow right down. One of the great things about swimming is that if you relax, you definitely swim better. If you take things slowly, you can swim further and you can focus on technique, if that's your bag. Or you can lose yourself in the moment, get completely meditative. That's harder to do when you're busting a gut to get a Personal Best 100m. Racing and competition had its place, sure. Just, sometimes, it's possible to leave it at home.
So this summer, why not dig out an old Speedo (it doesn't matter how decrepit, nobody is judging) and head down to your local lido, or bit of river, beach or lake? Grab a pal, get into the water, drop your shoulders and breathe. Splash about, play. Enjoy just being in that moment, in that day, feeling absolutely alive. And welcome to the club!"
Now doesn't that sound like bliss? Jenny certainly convinced us to hit our local lido.
To read more...
Jenny Landreth's book Swell: A Waterbiography is out now (Bloomsbury, £16.99/£14.99 eBook)
Or we have FIVE copies up for grabs for you to read by the pool this summer. Just enter your details below and five winners will be chosen at random to receive a free copy. Competition ends: 20th July 2017.