Early Morning Sea Swim
I’ve said it before, but there really is no better way to start the day than an early morning sea swim. It’s physical, mental, spiritual, communal, natural medicine all wrapped up in a simple dip in the sea.
Physically, the water is never warm here so it is always invigorating. Saying that, the water has been ‘warming up’ nicely over the past few weeks and it’s not at all cold now either. It’s just chilly enough to invigorate but not cold enough to incapacitate. The physical aspect of the swim itself releases feel-good endorphins which set you up for the day ahead too. It raises the heart rate, mobilises the muscles and starts the day off with some gentle exercise. Just what the doctor orders.
Then there’s the mental health aspects. This can go two ways. The fairly monotonous, inane process of swimming can give you time to think. There’s little to concentrate on and you can be at one with your thoughts for a while. Conversely, if you prefer, you can simply forget about everything else and just concentrate on the swimming. You can take your mind off everything else use the hypnotic effect of simply swimming to clear your mind.
I’m not into spirituality and such like, but whatever the weather there’s always something uplifting about an open water swim. It just seems to be good for the soul. Whether it’s the scenery, the weather, the atmospheric lighting or the sea itself, there’s always something different and always something to make you feel alive. Then there’s the gratitude for being able to do such things. The wildlife in the form of dolphins, seals, jellyfish, manx shearwaters, gannets and other seabirds have an uplifting effect too.
Or sometimes it’s the joy of life itself. We’re out of our comfort zone in the sea. There can be a certain amount of fear or trepidation for many. Mother Nature is always more powerful than us and this is never felt more than when we are in the sea. Maybe it’s this that makes us feel so alive after and early morning sea swim.
It’s also a chance for a chat, a bit of a laugh and a few minutes with friends. Community is good for us, even if like me you’re not the most sociable of people. The nice thing about swimming is that you can have a little chat here and there, or if you prefer you can just put your head down, plod on through the water and be completely alone.
Best of all for me though is the feeling of getting one-up on the rest of the world. Whilst everyone else is wasting their time in bed we’re out there in the sea having a good time, getting stuff done and making use of those hours before work. We’re seeing things that no one else sees, experiencing things that no one else experiences. We get to see the world from a different perspective and all before most people have even got out of bed.
Where we swim
Our usual early morning swim sees a group of us swimming in Aberystwyth at around 6:30am. Depending on the tides, the temperature and the time of year we’ll swim one way or the other. We usually swim with the tide from South Beach around Castle Rock to North Beach (or the other way around). When the water is cold and we can’t stay in too long this might be just to or from the bandstand but as things warm up we tend to go further. During the summer we often swim there and back and spend up to about an hour in the water. Some days it can be completely calm, most days there is a little bit of swell or chop and some days it can be quite rough. Obviously there is a limit to what we can go out in and if there’s a big storm we’ll miss the swim but Aberystwyth is usually quite sheltered so we can swim most of the time.
Now and then we’ll swim somewhere else just for a change, but the every changing seascape off Aberystwyth keeps us happy most of the tim.
It’s quite an eclectic group that join us. People from all walks of life just going for an early morning sea swim together.