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Winter Swimming Making Waves

By Georgie Jeffreys on May 24, 2012 in News

Photo: Grant Brooks

Outdoor swimming in winter is a pretty extreme form of exercise. We don’t setup our treadmills in saunas during the summer, so why swap the trackies for Speedos in winter?

To many it seems like the hobby of a madman, but adrenaline junkies often do crazy things when on the hunt for their next endorphin hit.

Like a rush of elixir to the blood, endorphins tickle our insides and dizzy our minds with a burst of euphoria; why else would anyone get addicted to exercise or feel the urge to plunge themselves into an ocean of body-numbing, bitterly cold water?

Peter Sulman, president of the Clovelly Eskimos winter swimming club, has been an avid winter swimmer for many years and reckons there’s nothing quite like a dip in the chilly ocean. He also notes that you don’t have to be a super athlete to join in.

“We’re more of a social club that swims than a swimming club that socialises,” he said. “We meet every Sunday at Clovelly from May to September and have a bit of fun and a few races.”

Known best for their post-swim offering of hot soup and mushy peas, the Clovelly Eskimos are iconic for a reason. Imagine all the fun (and none of the fuss) of swimming carnivals, combined with granny-style comfort food, afternoon beers, good company and a temperature-inducing adrenaline hit.

So if you want to crank up your fitness and daredevil barometer an extra notch, go and chuck your togs on. Now. Sure, you may begin to experience discomfort at levels we humans have been attempting to out-evolve since the invention of heating and shelter, but it is, supposedly, a total hoot. And for all those with ‘wellbeing’ and ‘winter flab’ on the brain, it does has some other major pros: it burns tons of calories, boosts your immune system, increases blood flow and improves your sex life (allegedly).

There is no need to confront the wrath of winter on your own when you can join one of the many winter swimming clubs around the area, including the Clovelly Eskimos, Coogee Penguins and the Bondi Icebergs Winter Swimming Club.