fitness

Urban swimming, anyone?

There’s a certain kind of fun that comes from doing physical activities in urban settings. I posted last week about my Charles River swim, a once-a-year event. Anyone who knows how to swim can do this.

However, most urban swimming events are only for open water swimmers. Not just anyone can do these swims. You need both open water swim experience and speed. The Statue of Liberty swim is one such event.

Statue of Liberty swim

This website offers links to other New York area open water swims.

There are also Sharkfest swims in a bunch of cities, including Boston, where I have once provided kayak support for swimmers. They are not for people who just to dog-paddle happily in a harbor; they’re point-to-point or circuit swim events for people who can swim 1 mile in 40 minutes or less (which I’m certain isn’t me at the moment).

What I want to do is just enjoy taking the plunge in a city, hanging out in the water, swimming in a leisurely fashion, taking in the scene. Here’s what Paris is doing this summer:

Temporary floating structure and enclosure for swimming and hanging out on the Seine in Paris.
Temporary floating structure and enclosure for swimming and hanging out on the Canal D’Ourcq in Paris.

There’s an article about Paris and its relationship with urban swimming here.

Oslo has its own urban open swimming and hang-out area for summer fun. Check out this youtube video:

Check this out to see all the ways Norwegians enjoy this urban sea space.

Denmark and Australia have also mastered the art of urban sea pools.

I wish we had these modes of access for swimming in North America. Yes, there are some swimming pools and swimming holes. But swimming pools are not all open because lifeguards are scarce, and swimming holes require private transportation, which lots of people don’t have.

Yes, the world has so many problems. Most of them are much bigger than access to swimming. But I do believe that life would be sweeter if we had more places for common splashing and sunning. Are you with me, people?

What do we want? Swimming access! When do we want it? Every summer!

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