I once took part in the Great North Swim across Lake Windemere for charity, something I’ve not been brave enough to repeat, so when Jubilee Park in Wooodhall Spa started introducing their cold water swimming this week, I decided to give it a try.
Starting on Monday (October 4), the outdoor pool offers a gentler introduction to the experience.
The pool’s heaters were switched off on Sunday to give the water time to cool down over the past few days, allowing the temperature to drop from its normal 29 degrees to 15 degrees.
Then on Saturday and Sunday (October 9 and 10), the real cold water sessions will be available.
I went along on Monday, the day after the heaters had been turned off, and although it was a bright and chilly day, with an air temperature at the time of my visit at 11 degrees, the pool temperature had only dropped from 29 degrees to 26 on Monday and as it was early, there were few other brave souls ready to be thrown in the deep end - literally.
Once I finally plucked up the courage to dive in, the initial shock of the cold water saw me swim probably the fastest front crawl of my life to get slightly warmer.
But once the initial shock wore off, the adrenaline started flowing and I felt exhilarated - cold, but buzzing - and my body soon adjusted to the temperature and the experience was actually very enjoyable.
Had I been brave enough, I might have even gone down to see how cold the water is towards the end of this week, and as the temperatures are forecast to stay in the high teens for the rest of the week, it may not be as cold as you think.
Visitors are welcome to wear wetsuits and if you want some added warmth, you can also wear a swim hat.
Advice from the team is that rather than jumping in straight away, you lower yourself into the pool a little bit at a time.
There’s been a big growth in interest in cold water and wild swimming across the UK over the last two years.
The health benefits are well known, including helping one’s mental health, increased blood flow and energy boosts - and enthusiasts describe the exhilaration the body experiences afterwards as life enhancing.
“We’re offering everyone the chance to try cold water swimming in a safe and clean environment with a programme of sessions for a week after we switch off the heating,” explained Jubilee Park’s operations director Joe Stanhope.
One brave swimmer trying the experience for the first time was Paula Lee, from Tattershall, who came down on Monday to give it a try.
She said: “It was really good actually, once you got over the initial shock it was really invigorating and I thought it was brilliant.”
Joe said that over 200 people have already booked to try cold water swimming at Jubilee Park this week, and now you are welcome to do exactly that as there are plenty of spaces available for the rest of the week and beyond.
l You can find out more about cold water swimming at Jubilee Park by visiting their website at www.jpws.co.uk or call 01526 53478.