The Sceptic

“I’m off swimming with the girls tomorrow in a lake.” Nothing particularly unusual about that statement. Afterall, my wife’s a keen swimmer and she occasionally swam outside. But this was different. It was April in the UK and the water temperature was seriously cold. I honestly thought she’d lost the plot. Not two miles away from home was a perfectly good indoor swimming pool so why would any sane person think that swimming in a cold lake in Spring was a good idea? And I told her so, several times.

The following morning, much to my continued bewilderment, off she set laden with wetsuit, tow buoy, beanie and flask. A couple of hours or so later she returned grinning like a Cheshire cat. Yes, it was cold. And yes, getting in had been hard but once in the sensation was even better than her friends had told her it would be. 10 minutes they lasted on that April morning followed by coffee and cake for reward.

The look on my wife’s face and her energy levels said everything about how good she’d found it but to say I remained sceptical was putting it mildly. Getting changed on a bank on a chilly Spring morning, grappling with your wetsuit and then doing it all in reverse again in merely 10 minutes time seemed like a lot of effort for little return.

As Spring became Summer, trips to the lake became more regular and lasted longer. 10 minutes became 12, 15….30 and each time the effects were obvious. My wife was invigorated, all smiles and energy and it was clear she was a permanent convert.

I remained the sceptic for some time to come until I simply had to see what it was all about. Yes, it’s cold. And yes, getting in was hard. But it’s not supposed to be easy, is it? So many things that are truly worth achieving in life are hard. They require real effort and are often initially uncomfortable but the sense of achievement is palpable.

You can remain as I was and be an eternal sceptic or you can get involved and push your boundaries. I’m not going to kid you that I’m going to be a regular open water swimmer because I’m not but do I enjoy it when I go? You bet I do. And that’s the point for me, whether you’re a daily dipper who can’t do without it or an occasional weekend wallower it doesn’t matter. Don’t be the sceptic, get involved as just never know unless you try.


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