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Daily sea swimmer Louise Dale on why she feels 'happiest when in the ocean'

‘Happy, calm, and peaceful’ are just some of the words that Louise Dale uses to describe how she feels during her daily sea swims.

The 27-year-old native of London now calls Plymouth home and began sea swimming last spring following the first lockdown period in England.

She describes herself as a ‘water baby’ and says that the ability to swim outdoors has assisted her mental and physical health ‘incredibly’ throughout the last year.

“The water provides me with a real sense of peace. I have always been a water baby from a young age and love the sea, the pool and the river – I’m at my happiest when I’m in the ocean”

Louise was diagnosed with costochondritis in May 2020 after ‘experiencing severe chest pain and difficulty breathing in’, a traumatic ordeal that was coupled with anxiety.

She said: “When the country went into its first lockdown last March, I started to struggle more then ever with my anxiety, due to the very strange situation we all found ourselves in.

“I also was dealing with a new and worsening health condition which was very scary in itself. Being a young 27-year-old woman, who had never experienced any health issues before, this was a scary time and then throwing lockdown into the mix was all a bit much.”

Lousie explains that this condition has resulted in her living with constant chest pain, but she was determined to find ‘natural ways’ to cope with her illness.

“One of the ways I have remained positive and dealt with this condition was sea swimming,” she said. “I began swimming every day and the benefits to my mental health have been incredible.

“I think without the ability to swim and be outdoors my mental health had the potential to spiral out of control due to the health condition”

“I absolutely love it there is no feeling like it. All of your worries and fears disappear in those moments and I feel totally calm and happy”

Charity swims

Louise and her friend, Anna, decided in December last year to swim every day of January 2021 in an effort to independently raise money for Samaritans, one of the UK’s leading mental health charities.

“We wanted to support a charity which supports people’s mental health and after going through multiple lockdowns over the last year, I think we have all realised more than ever how important it is to look after our mental health and the crucial role these support services play,” said Louise.

By the end of their challenge, they had surpassed their goal of raising £500 – almost doubling this with a total of just under £1,000 by the end of the month.

Louise says she would love to do more charity swims in the future as it allows her to do something she ‘absolutely loves’ while raising money for an honourable cause.

She said: “Myself and Anna absolutely love sea swimming, the way it makes us feel, the fitness aspect and the social side too.

“We both decided that as we were sea swimming most days anyway, why not raise money for a good cause whilst doing something we absolutely love.

“I really do love the sea and everything it has bought to my life and the changes it has made to my mental and physical health.”