What defines the 2020 ocean swimmer?

As diverse as we are as an ocean swimming community, there are some things that unite us all in a way that only an ocean swimmer would understand.

Back in 2012, I jumped on the viral ‘I am an Ironman’ video bandwagon and created a series of videos that, at the time, I thought encapsulated what being an ocean swimmer was all about.

The topics presented the ocean swimmer as a tough, no-nonsense character who couldn’t understand why others wouldn’t think what he does isn’t completely normal.

In the video segments, his mate asks him about wetsuits, swimming in the cold water, sharks, events, coffee, cozzies and the sand he brings back to the shower.

Watching them back, there are definitely still elements of all these in the 2020 ocean swimmer, however, if there was one thing my recent east coast road trip has taught me, it’s that ocean swimmers appreciate the meaning of their ocean swimming ritual in a much deeper context.

And, what’s more, it is great to know that we have no issues with talking about the ‘softer’ side of being an ocean swimmer.

Listening to swimmers and podcast guests talk about their love of ocean swimming, there were three universal statements that rang true with everyone we swam with:

“A great way to start the day”

When we live busy lives and pack our days with work and chores, being able to start the day with a swim, freshening up the body and mind for what lays ahead, gives us a positive head start we can carry into the day.

“You never regret a swim”

With all that life throws at us, a swim can sometimes feel like a chore itself, however, if we can just dive into the ocean and get wet, we know we’ll come out the other side with a smile and a renewed outlook on what lies ahead.

“It’s about more than the swim”

Whilst the physical act of swimming is what we do, there is no doubt that the community built around our swims is the most important reason why we do it. When we are connected to others through our swimming we become a part of something much bigger.

This year, perhaps more than ever, it’s great to know that this constant in all our lives is able to deliver so much for the body and mind.


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