Episode 12 – the top of the mountain feeling in the middle of a lake – SC013

This week’s guest said so many things that either resonated with me or surprised me I don’t know where to begin.
The one that grabbed the podcast episode title, was when Suzanna realised she “could get the top of the mountain feeling in the middle of a lake”.
I’ve been at the top of mountains, Kilimanjaro being the highest, and I knew exactly what she meant. For me it is a mix of achievement, peace, isolation, daring, adventure, (often) cold, challenge, environment and conditions which create that feeling.
She talked about what can happen when plans change. Suzanna Swims appears to have risen like a phoenix out of not completing her Mountain Leader qualification, losing her dad, and to an extent her identity. What was a devastating and life changing period became the foundation for a job and way of life that now brings her joy.
She mentions a friend called Jude, who provided a bridge into wild swimming – something she says she needed in her life but never realised it, until she was regularly leaving the house before 6am to swim in the lakes. How many of us have a Jude in our wild swimming story? Someone who helped us to get in, to move on and to grow?
She also talks about the water in the different lakes in Cumbria feeling different on the skin. I’ve never even thought of this before, but will certainly be even more mindful the next time I get the opportunity to compare.
And finally, while I will persist in my efforts to learn front crawl, Suzanna validated breaststroke as a credible stroke for long distance open water swimming in skins and made me question my own strategies for going faster and further.
It was an absolute gift being able to interview her.
And because of her I’m signing up for the Winter Swimming World Championships at Lake Bled, Slovenia next year! Go me.

Things we talked about
Crummock Water, Coniston, Jelly Babies, Suzanna Swims, Walking Women, Buttermere, Windermere, Bassenthwaite, Poland, Borrowdale, Barefoot shoes, Derwentwater, Wastwater, Scottish Winter Swimming Championships, Estonia

Look closely and you’ll see the island we swam to.

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