It never ceases to delight me to hear other cold-water swimmers describe their experience of cold-water swimming. It’s almost as if the longer you experience these delights, the epiphanies in the waves coalesce into your own unique, yet similar descriptive language about why you do it.
Open water river swimmers, Donal Buckley and Conor Power swim in the River Suir at Carrick-on-Suir, in Watford, Ireland. The water is 12 Celsius. Donal explains, “But you do feel that nervous anticipation that, ‘this is going to hurt a little bit when you get in’, but you do it anyway. It’s like anything, it’s a challenge to yourself and you push through it.”
Conor is a local who has swam in the River Suir since he was a boy. “I just love it”. He says about swimming in his local river, “There is just something special about it”.
Donal Buckley is an also English channel swimmer. He elaborates for us, “There’s a narcotic effect about open-water swimming, and I would say any other narcotic you take, the effect lessens with time and you have to take more. That’s not the case with swimming.”
“You can swim for five minutes for your entire life and when you get out and the warm blood flows back into your body, you will feel as good after 50 years of doing it as after the five minutes as you did on the first day. “
“But the optimum time is probably up to about 20 minutes that you get that real immune-boosting effect. … You just do what your body has evolved to do.”
Credit: You can watch the interview with Donal and Conor on Season 2, Episode 5 of The World’s Most Scenic River Journeys (24:30 on SBS here).