Lisa says the feeling she gets from swimming is ‘untouchable’ and helps her cope

Nothing can replace the feeling of being in the water for Burton-upon-Trent swimmer, Lisa.

She admits swimming helped her cope with the chaotic months leading up to and beyond the loss of her husband.

Lisa began swimming while her husband was ill as a way to digest everything and ‘disconnect’. After his passing in 2018, the pool helped her deal with a different life.

As part of the latest #LoveSwimming campaign, she has explained just how the activity has helped build up her physical and mental strength.

Swimming has played a huge role within her family, with both her daughters competing at club and county level, and now Lisa normally swims three or four times a week.

She reflected on the time she began swimming regularly, saying: “There was so much happening all in one day; multiple hospital appointments and test results all whilst working full-time.

“I was lucky to have an amazing employer who allowed me to flex my working day to ensure I could balance the daily hospital visits. I needed some time for me to digest the events of the day.

“One of the Macmillan nurses once said to me ‘don’t think about the day, think about the next half hour and deal with that’ – it’s something that I’ve taken forward when dealing with stressful situations.

“Swimming allowed me to switch off and momentarily disconnect from work and the commitments of being a mum and a wife and that person talking to the doctors every day.

“It’s just the feeling it gives you when you’re in the pool – it’s untouchable.

“Swimming allowed me to just step outside of chaos and lose myself. I was conscious that I needed to build my strength to get through what was going to be thrown at me.

“It wasn’t just about the mental health, it was about my physical fitness. If I’m looking after myself then that can help me deal with what’s ahead.”

Lisa describes swimming as a ‘catalyst’ to her journey to mend by allowing her to ‘swim everything away’.

“Also it was my time, just me, to deal with and process my deepest thoughts, a place where you can really lose yourself,” she added.

Swim England has outlined the benefits of the activity in an open letter to the Government’s Department of Health and Social Care, upon the creation of a dedicated office for Health Improvements and Disparities to lead the national efforts to improve the health of the nation.

The hope is to build upon previous successes with Public Health England, such as including the unique benefits of swimming into the ‘Physical Activity Clinical Champions’ training curriculum.