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Swimmer Ollie Kettle says he now 'prefers open water to the pool'

Discovering open water swimming in lockdown has led swimmer Ollie Kettle to now almost ‘prefer’ the waves to the pool.

Based in Southsea and surrounded by beautiful beaches and coastline, Ollie – who is usually a sprinter in the pool – has said that at first he was unsure about sea swimming.

“To start with I didn’t like the waves, dark water, salt or the cold.”

After overcoming the elements, Ollie says that he finds the open water calming and a place to feel worry-free – and throughout lockdown swam in the sea almost every day.

“Now, I almost prefer it to the pool,” he said. “Once I’m in, all I think about is my stroke and I feel calm and worry about nothing. It’s an intense workout and I now swim with a friend between 1km and 1.5km each day”

Following the reopening of indoor pools on April 12, Ollie says that he has maintained the sea swimming sessions, though he says they are ‘sadly less often – but I do as much as I can do, especially on the weekends’.

‘Kept me sane’

Ollie says that sea swimming during lockdown has ‘kept him sane’ and he is now looking forward to spending the summer months swimming outdoors.

He said: “It has kept me sane during lockdown and I’ve noticed more and more people swimming in the sea. I am looking forward to the sea temperature getting a bit warmer!”

He advises anyone looking to get into sea swimming to do plenty of research beforehand and remember that swimming in the open water is a very different environment to that of a pool.

“Do some research and get the right equipment,” he said. “You might be a good swimmer but open water swimming is very different and can be disorientating.

“Go with a friend or have someone watching from the shore. Chose a safe location and enjoy the freedom!”

Swim England has recently launched an open water swimming pledge which is calling for cleaner waters, better access and increased safety for open water swimmers, which can be signed by clicking the button above.

There is also more health and safety advice, open water swimming tips and venues on the Swim England open water swimming hub.

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