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The beginner’s guide to cold water swimming

Swimming in winter is not for the faint-hearted—but don't let that put you off

By Cal Flyn   December 2018

Cold water swimming is good for your mental health. Illustration: Kate Hazell

At the close of the year, it is nice to look back on its greatest hits. This year I find it comes to me in waterborne flashes. Here’s one: a sweltering day in the sea-green swell off the Jurassic Coast. A natural arch of limestone looming overhead, a pebble floor falling vertiginously away below as I strike out from shore. Water clear as glass, as air: a sensation of taking flight. And another: shin-deep in a saline…

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