One of the lovely things about swimming outside is that you are submerged in the natural world. It doesn’t even have to be in a lake or river. Once when I went to Parliament Hill Lido I found myself at eye level with a pair of ducks swimming along beside me. I think in our increasingly technological and connected age time spent alone, away from the phones and machines, is important.
When I learned to scuba dive the instructor said to us,
‘The thing most people are afraid of is the marine life, the fish, sharks and jelly fish but in fact these are the least dangerous aspect of diving’.
It is the same for swimming outdoors. When I tell people I swim in the wild lakes of Sweden they often say things like ‘What about the fish?.’
I believe this says more about our fears of hidden depths and monsters lurking waiting to get us than any real danger. At least I think this is true. Some of the pike you can catch in those Swedish lakes are quite enormous and they do have lots of very sharp teeth but I don’t think a pike has ever bitten a person. I have never heard of that anyway. Have you?