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Interview with Colin Hill

We caught up with our swim expert Colin Hill about what he has been up to this winter and asked him about his new swim sessions at Another Place, The Lake.

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

Lake Bled in Slovenia was the International Winter Swimming World a championships. This was my 7th World Champs and I’ve raced in places that include Siberia and the Arctic and although it sounds hard core they are 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 & Canada.

Swimming with Colin Hill
Swimming with Colin Hill

The pool at Doha airport looked amazing, what are your top 3 spots around the world to swim?

My golden rule is always have your swim togs in you, you never know. The airport pool in Doha is a nice one. Top 3 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 swum down the Tyne under all the bridges or a 25km race in Madeira, 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. I was took Rev Kate for a swim in the Serpentine this morning. The trio are taking part in a Sports Relief challenge which includes 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 will be doing a three day challenge and I will be with them for all the swim sections.

We are just finishing up the cold season swims, any advice for anyone hoping to visit the hotel before the end of April?

I think some of Another Place hotel staff have been pleasantly surprised as to not only how popular the Winter Swim sessions I‘be been taking all through the winter have been, but how much complete first timers have loved the experience. For me winter swimming is all about enjoying the experience and I love passing on top tips as we go along. There is lots of talk around the well-being aspect of winter swimming and it’s also great fun. So if you are here before April why not sign up for a winter swim before it’s too warm.

Full moon swims have been an exciting new addition to our 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 full moon swims adds 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 for a rest). This is more of a potter around than a swim and we’ll all be wearing wetsuits. If we are lucky we will be swimming under the moon and stars and in 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 at Kalepot
Swimming with Colin Hill
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