Grace Wright-Arora (2021) - “Where the Normal Rules Don’t Apply”: Cold-Water Swimming as a Postmodern Subculture of Resistance
This undergraduate dissertation from the University of Bristol examines cold water swimming as a political act. Resistance – to body shaming, to the physical constraints of a swimming pool – while an individual act, can also be political. Grace Wright-Arora wrote her undergraduate thesis on cold water swimming as a form of Foucauldian resistance. French philosopher Michel Foucault wrote that where there is power, there is also resistance to it. In London, she interviewed people who swim at the Serpentine Swimming Club and the Hampstead Ponds, while near Bristol she interviewed people who swim at the Clevedon Marine Pool.
Stanley Ulijaszek (2022) - Kicking a stink in river waters
Open water swimmers in the UK are outraged by the continued dumping of raw sewage into rivers and the ocean. In this work, Stanley Ulijaszek is trying to make sense of it all, writing about the disconnects between legislation, regulation, provision, and use, that have gotten the UK into this watery mess. He calls it 'The Second Great Stink' (the first being in the nineteenth century), a time to rethink again these relationships so that swimming in clean waters is again assured.
House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (2022) - Water quality in rivers
Probably the first UK Parliamentary Report that gives wild swimming a place in much needed improvement of UK inland waters. The report states unambiguously that 'rivers in England are in a mess'. Section 2, entitled 'Rivers fit to swim in', concludes that 'Every community in the country should have access to waters—whether coastal or inland—that are safe for people to swim in without running the risk of falling ill'. And recommends that 'the Government actively encourage the designation of at least one widely used stretch of river for bathing in each water company area by 2025 at the latest'. The strongest statement of intent to find the metaphorical 'Bower by the silver Thames' that river swimmers seek.
Stanley Ulijaszek(2021) - Swimming, leptospirosis, and me. An autopathography
In August 2021, Stanley Ulijaszek contracted leptospirosis, a truly vile disease. This is an account of his experience, real and hallucinatory. It examines the epidemiology of the disease and offers some thoughts about risk and infection associated with open water swimming.
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Alex Foster (2020) -Facilitating cold-water immersion for metabolic health: Situating habitus, enskilment, and communities of practice in the context of a London Swimming Club. MPhil Thesis in Medical Anthropology, University of Oxford.
This MPhil thesis is an analysis of winter swimming and cold-water immersion at the Serpentine Swimming Club, where these practices have a deep history and strong tradition.