Neoprene and afterdrop: how to keep swimming outside this winter

With a reported 323% rise in people swimming outdoors, here is the expert guide to ensuring you take the plunge safely – even when temperatures plummet

When lockdown rules eased in May, a friend and I went for a surreptitious dip in a nearby lake. It was exactly what we needed. The shock of cold water provided the thrills, while merging into the landscape brought the bliss. Afterwards, we floated through the woods on a post-swim high. “Shall we do it again next week?” we said.

With public pools closed, we weren’t the only ones rekindling a love of bracing outdoor swims this summer. And staring down the barrel of a second-wave winter, we are also not alone in our desire to continue. The National Open Water Coaching Association (Nowca) has reported a 323% rise in swimmers this October, and more official swimming lakes staying open all year. While, across the country, venues such as Lake 32 at the Cotswold Water Park, near Cirencester, are offering inclusive mental health swimming sessions.

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