World Winter Swimming Championships 2008

The Audacity - The Nerve

How on earth did the South London Swimming Club agree to this audacious project? Usually (I have learnt) the World Winter Swimming Championships are held in Finland where the community build a temporary village around a large Swimming Pool sized hole cut out of the ice; a village of saunas and hot tubs in igloos, food stalls and beer tents and tents with story tellers. Who had the vision that this could be recreated in Tooting?!! SLSC did.

And whilst some of us just dream our dreams they persuaded the World Winter Championship Committee that it was possible. How did they ever imagine that they were going to pull it off? And yet somehow they did, magnificently and with great big multi coloured knobs on!! I saw many Furzedowners, but for those of you who weren’t there I just want to share and say - sorry you couldn’t make it.

For two days Tooting Bec Lido rocked with energy, fun and party spirit, competitive swimming mingled with story telling, song and dance. Hordes from Finland, Russia, Latvia, Slovakia, Norway and many other countries, teenagers and the elderly. Joined for this year’s World Winter Swimming Championships by more swimmers from all over England. Cheering each other on with a warm, warm generosity as they swam, some in Speedos and some in wild costumes and hats. The wackiest near-the-knuckle commentary by SLSC accompanied scores of heats and finals and water performances including Swanlake performed underwater by three 20 stone Russian men in tutus…

…and all in Tooting.

North London eat your heart out! Thank You SLSC.

Denise Broad

View the website of the 2008 World Winter Swimming Championships