[OSS Oxon] OSS Silent Swim and symposium this weekend

Sefryn Penrose sefryn at googlemail.com
Thu Jul 15 13:42:25 BST 2010

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

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

   - 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.
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