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Interview with Colin Hill

Our resident open water swimming guide, Colin Hill, is quite the expert. He’s been 450m coldwater world title holder and technical operations manager for marathon swimming at the 2012 Olympic Games. He’s swum the channel, run mass swim events and been inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

And, if you try open water swimming at Another Place, he’s the man you’ll be going out with. Set off from the jetty right outside the hotel. Find out more.

We caught up with Colin on a rare moment out of the water…

swimming with Colin hill

Your feed is full of exciting travels; tell us about your trip to Bled.

Lake Bled in Slovenia was the International Winter Swimming World Championships. This was my 7th World Champs and I’ve raced in places that include Siberia and the Arctic. Although it sounds hardcore they're always great fun, with friendly swimmers from around the world taking part. No neoprene is allowed and the water is often 0 degrees C, although Lake Bled was ‘warm’ at 4 degrees C. I took part in the longest swim of 1000 meters and was really pleased to pick up a bronze medal (14 mins). Swimming in Ullswater through the winter helps me acclimatise.

You work for FINA and recently went to Doha, can you tell us about that?

Since I worked in the Olympic Marathon Swim race in 2012 (in the Serpentine), I’ve been FINA’s (the world swimming governing body) open water swim consultant. This includes travelling to all the elite Marathon Swim World Series events where I provide the social media coverage and interview the elite swimmers. There are around nine events in the series including some amazing places such as the Seychelles, Doha, Taipei and Canada.

swimming with Colin hill

What are your top three spots around the world to swim?

My golden rule is always have your swim togs with you, you never know. Top three places is a tough one as certain swims can mean a lot even if the location isn’t Instagram perfect, such as swimming across the Channel or the times I swam down the Tyne under all the bridges or a 25km race in Madeira, or across the Gibraltar Strait with dolphins. But it’s hard to beat walking down from my house for a sunrise swim in Ullswater!

We saw you with Jo Wiley and Richie Anderson, can you tell us a bit more about that?

You can add Radio 2’s Rev Kate Bottley to that list, too! The trio were taking part in a Sports Relief challenge which included a winter swim. I was asked to assist with the winter swim training. These are always great fun although can be tough for the celebs if it is something that they haven’t done before. I also trained up Radzi when he was at Blue Peter for a winter swim challenge for Sports Relief a few years ago. But Jo, Richie and Rev Kate did a three day challenge and I was with them for all the swim sections.

Full moon and stargazing swims have been exciting additions to our open water swimming calendar; what are the best things about a night swim and how can guests prepare?

The experience of swimming in a lake In itself can be incredible, but the nigh swims add an extra dimension to this. It’s a real life experience to wander down to the lake with a bunch of like-minded adventures and go into the lake in the dark. We will all have an illuminated ‘tow-float’ (this is a bag which doesn’t impede your swimming, but you can hold onto it for a rest - or float back and use it as a pillow to look up at the night sky).

This is more of a potter around than a swim and we’ll all be wearing wetsuits. If we're lucky we'll be swimming under the moon and stars and on a calm night it can hard to see the line between the lake and space. On a cloudy and windy night it’s an experience to be immersed in the elements and experience swimming when most other people wouldn’t dream of doing so.

jumping ay kalepot
swimming with Colin hill