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Boxing Day Swimming at West Midlands Water-ski Centre
The swimming lake is located near to Kingsbury in the West Midlands. It can be easily reached from the M42 and by following signposts for Kingsbury. Once in Kingsbury, take a right and continue out of the village. The West Midlands Water-ski Centre turn is just a quarter of a mile past the motorway bridge and on the left.
The centre is known for waterskiing and open water swimming, mainly throughout the season May to October. Several open water and Tri sessions are held there and people from many different clubs take part.
Boxing day 2014 swimming event organiser, Susi Quill, greeted us and explained that it was the first year that she had run the event. A bunch of people showed up all excited about taking a dip despite the current lake temperature of 5.5oC. Most people came for a fun moment of excitement but some were also hardy, cold water swimmers, who train throughout the winter for the health benefits. It is known that if you maintain winter swimming regularly it will boost your immune system and you will be less prone to becoming ill.
Most people were jumping into the water straight off the dock, while some entered via a ladder. It is usually advised to enter cold water slowly to prevent shock and gasping for breath. Considering we were a bigger group, most people felt safe to jump in. Some swimmers swam for a little, while others took the plunge then got out sharply. The experience itself can be described as being a little shocking, challenging and exhilarating. Experienced winter swimmers cope with these changes easily while less experienced swimmers might find it fearful or a little overwhelming. The result of it is that people who do it often can stay in the water longer than five minutes while others can stand much less. We stayed in for about 3-4 minutes and swam a short lap from the dock and back. On exit from the water the body stays in a recovery mode for several minutes. The sensation is pleasant as the body warms up, the mind feels sharper and focused and you would like to do it again.
The cost of the event was £2 and all proceeds went to charity. We were also given a hot mulled wine after we took the plunge. There was a nice restaurant at the park which served food and had a bar which provided hot and cold beverages. There are men´s and lady´s changing rooms with hot showers, parking was plentiful, free for us and near to the water. During the summer months there is also camping facilities available. There were moorings for boats and a zip line for water-ski training. We will be back for next Boxing Day and hope that you join us.
Many other boxing day swimming events are held across the UK on that day.
26th December, 2014, Photo Credit: Pip Wheatcroft