Last month two of our favourite swimmers, Jenny Landreth and Vivienne Rickman-Poole, combined their writing and photography talents in this outdoor swimming article from The Guardian. We don’t think we’ve seen underwater images that capture so well the mystery and drama of swimming outdoors.
Jenny is as adept with her keyboard as Vivienne is with an underwater camera. If you follow her articles or have read her ‘Waterbiography’, Swell, you’ll know that her writing is as crystal-clear and focused as these images. She also applies a lightness of touch that lifts the spirits as well as making you laugh out loud.
The story behind a great outdoor swim
The article also brings to life the story behind a great outdoor swim. All adventures begin with a journey whether you’re trekking in Snowdonia or taking a fishing boat to a remote loch in Skye.
Then the swim itself, from shivering steps into the waters to a euphoric exit – often sustained by a strong cup of coffee.
Finally, the moments after, when you reflect on your experience:
“For me, part three came when Vivienne sent me some of the photos she took. One photo was half sky and mountains, half below the water – and a body in the distance swimming down. It could be anybody, but it’s me. It’s a wonderful shot and it’s wonderful to be the body. I can relive the experience from a different perspective, I can reflect and share. That clarity! When I look at it, everything is elevated. I won’t come down for a while.”
Not all of Vivienne’s photos made the final article, so we’ve hung more of her pictures in the gallery below. As you probably know by now, we’re obsessed by how our swimsuits look in the wild, especially the impact of a dash of colour against more neutral landscape tones.
We like to imagine that our swimming outfits have the same effect as a kingfisher darting between branches on a bright summer day, or a peacock butterfly at the water’s edge. These photos bring that idea to life, far better than we can say.