Hello Oxford,

Just a reminder of the weekend of swimming treats happening in and around Oxford this weekend. Scroll down for details and Kate Rew's earlier e-mail. The swim is full so hopefully everyone's registered who wanted to!

There's also some talks and films as part of the 'Oxford Symposium on the Culture of Rowing and Swimming', which starts tonight with some films at 7pm at Modern Art Oxford, and continues all weekend.



Dear Oxford swimmers


Thanks to the kindness of one of our members, Angus, and the creativity of Tracey at Oxford Brookes, I am holding a silent swim on Saturday 17th July near Abingdon. The idea, as ever, is to introduce more people into the joys of swimming… and with a meditation first, and in a very special place, should be lovely occasion. We’re holding it as part of the Oxford Symposium on the Culture of Rowing & Swimming – there may be a few of you who are interested in their Friday talks. http://rowingandswimming.eventbrite.com/


I am looking for a few volunteers to help make it special for newcomers. Can you? Can you bring a non swimmer with you to help?

Event details:



If you’re used to swimming free on your own/with a friend, that is what we hope to achieve for a bigger group, some of whom will be first timers. The idea is to power down on the social chat, and by suggesting people not speak, allow them to enjoy all the sights, sounds and sensations of the riverbank. (I know I sound like a tree hugger… hang on, perhaps I am).


Can you? A few non-swimming roles too if you have someone who might sacrifice their swim for


Roles include:

  • Designing, laminating and cobbling together some signposts of words we can put down the riverbank for people to swim past
  • Turning up 7am Saturday morning to put up the event shelter, bring picnic blankets for people to sit on and lay then out, walk up and down riverbank hammering the aforementioned signpost into the bank, putting up easel with what happens when
  • Wearing OSS tshirt so people can ask you things about their fears of swimming/ the timetable (in a whisper), helping them with all the normal worries about shoes, bags, pike. Volunteers can buy t’s at cost price
  • Staying to guard the bags while all else pop off and swim
  • Smiling
  • Swimming in your OSS hat so people feel reassured by your presence
  • Topping and tailing each swim group. While we’re not responsible for everyone (it’s a social swim) but only courteous to go at the front and back so we don’t leave anyone behind
  • Rowing a boat (we can borrow some down there)
  • Selling OSS kit to anyone who wants it  (hats, I heart the thames book, wild swim, hoodies, hats)
  • If you feel so inclined, bringing more tea, coffee and breakfast things that you need yourself
  • Taking down event shelter and tidying up when we leave (event end by 10.30am, we should all be off by 11am).
  • Photograph event or record it in some way for OSS posterity



Let me know if you can help, and in what capacity.


Many thanks





Timetable (approx)

7am: volunteers arrive, set up


Details swimmers will receive (event location is kept secret so we have some way of controlling and knowing numbers)

8am – swimmers arrive, get ready to swim, put bags in bag shelter, sit on blankets, settle

8.15am - meditation on the banks, led by a local teacher. After this QUIET TIME!

8.25am - walk up or down the banks, led by an OSS swimmer... one route will be a swim of about a mile, the other route will be a swim of about half a mile. You will be walking barefoot in your swimming cossies, unless wearing shoes you plan to swim in, across some gravel and along the Thames path

8.35ish - get in and swim! Enjoy the sights and sounds of the riverbank. Recently we saw an oyster catcher in the Thames here, in search of freshwater mussels. The entry points are typical of rivers: a bit of clambering and reeds may be required, although we have found two sandyish beaches (but there's bound to be some mud)

9ish - emerge back at the start point! Time to reflect and share experiences. Probably keep volume down for a while, so people still swimming hear only whispers. Enjoy & share whatever food you have brought with you - thermos, croissants, camping stoves and sausages, it's up to you

9.55ish - when everyone is back and dry and has shared and eaten, we'll have a little visualisation and meditation to finish. Some things we may not have noticed in the water often come back to you at these times.


10.30am/11am; volunteers leave




Kate Rew

07931 546241

Author, journalist and director of Outdoor Swimming Society


  • Number 2 on Monocle's global hot list of people who deserve a bigger stage in 2010. “Stroke of genius” (Monocle, Issue 29)


  • “The force behind the wild swimming movement” (Triathlon 220)


  • “The Outdoor Swimming Society has become a cult movement.” (Rowan Pelling, Daily Telegraph).


  • Reviews of Wild Swim by Kate Rew: "Her prose is perfect. Page after page she nails things. Will have you hunched on the sofa as though with a stash of love letters." (The New Statesman) "A wonderful - in the old sense of that term - and joyful romp of a book. So go on. Dive in" (Robert Macfarlane, author of The Wild Places)



June OSS news: the OSS Midsummer Party, Big Jump, swimming Everest, social swims a-go-go, member discounts and the PM is one of us. For swimming related news, art and inspiration, sign up for the free OSS newsletter and see the stories on site now.







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Please note that OSS Oxon exists to put swimmers in touch with other swimmers, not to organise swim events or in any way suggest that outdoor swimming is a safe activity or that you should go swimming. If you choose to swim you do so entirely at your own risk and on your own initiative, and any plans you make are your own responsibility.