Kate founded The Outdoor Swimming Society in 2006, and has been delighted to see it grow into the movement that it is today, with nationwide awareness, a new term for an old activity ('wild swimming'), and tens of thousands of new recruits.
'When we began the OSS it was just a few of us who loved swimming so much we wanted to inspire people to see rivers and lakes in a different way, and communicated that through a lot of media, online activity and just general enthusiasm. The results could not have been more phenomenal. At the start of 2011 we had 11,000 members, plus 6500 on Facebook, and there are now over 60 open water mass swims over summer - compared to the handful when we ran our first swims, Breastrokes.'
She grew up swimming in a river in Devon, and continues to swim all over the country. Her book Wild Swim contains 300 great outdoor swims around Britain.
Kate's ambitions for 2011? Grow regional reps all over the country, encourage more people to pioneer their way down a few rivers... and have some brilliant OSS swims and parties.
To talk to Kate's agent please call Patrick Walsh.
Rob is the author of Mountains of the Mind and The Wild Places, and a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge -- where outdoor swimming has allegedly been going on since 1692. He is a mountain-climber whose ideal mountain day ends with a plunge in a river or loch or the sea.
He's been winter swimming in Beijing's imperial lakes, in the Himalayas, and once went green after diving into a Devon lake on New Year's Day. He was a good friend and swimming companion of the late Roger Deakin, author of the swimming classic 'Waterlog'.
OLYMPIC MEDALIST & PATRON
Cassie Patten is an OSS patron and one of our open water heroes, winning an Olympic bronze medal in the Open Water 10km swim in Bejing . A keen wild swimmer, growing up in Cornwall and taking to the seas and rivers with her two dogs wherever possible. In fact the first thing she did after the Olympics was take a wild-swim road trip with her dad - 'If it's mucky, I'm in it.' she says.
Jamie took on the role of Volunteer Manager in 2012 to help the society expand and continue its fantastic work, since which time our volunteer team has gone from strength to strength. Jamie currently recruits and looks after the volunteer team, and is always on the look out for more willing people. You can contact Jamie by email.
OSS INLAND ACCESS OFFICER
Greater Inland Access is a key objective of the OSS: through both changes in the law, to establish greater rights to wild swimming, and the establishment of inland beaches, as seen across Europe.
Robert became interested in trying to increase outdoor swimming facilities in Britain after experiencing the plentiful swimming lakes in countries such as Germany, France and Switzerland.
Rob works as a Chartered Architectural Technologist for Derby City Council, and lives with his wife on a steel cabin cruiser they are slowly renovating, which is moored at a marina on the River Trent.
He is now working with several councils in the East Midlands to try to set up inland bathing beaches in local lakes, and is interested in sharing his increasing knowledge in these matters with any other OSS members wanting to pursue this goal in their area who can contact him via Facebook or email him.
OSS Merchandise Manager
I joined in November 2012 and took over running all the OSS merchandise. I'm responsible for all the ordering, looking after the shop and picking and packing etc. If there are any items you would like to see in the shop or you have any ideas please let me know I would love to hear from you! Contact Anna here.
Events Calendar Co-ordinator
Newcomer to Open water swimming, just started last year after having been coaxed by a friend to do the Monster swim, then did the Great Manchester swim as a warm up. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the big events though like the little ones too. End up mostly pool swimming due to lack of people to swim with, Always looking for new people to join a small but growing Aberdeenshire group. I enjoy swimming in the sea and have recently discovered the joy if wetsuit free swimming. Aside from swimming I have 3 small children and am a trained breastfeeding counsellor.
See the events calendar here.
Contact Claire here
Nathan is a lawyer and his firm Berwin Leighton Paisner and has been providing legal advice to the Outdoor Swimming Society on a pro bono basis since 2008. Their advice to the OSS covers many issues including access rights for swimmers, intellectual property and legal liability issues.
Swimming outdoors is potentially a risky business and so we are profoundly thankful to BLP for providing the OSS with a framework that allows us to continue to do so with passion, common sense.
As a result of Nathan's loyal support we have been able to operate free 'social swims' under the terms of the Swim Responsibility Statement, make a deposition to the Welsh Assembly on Inland Access, and countless other smaller victories along the way.
Whenever he can escape his desk, Nathan heads for the water. His favourite swimming holes are London Fields Lido and St. Ives bay in Cornwall. He is always on the lookout for new and fun swimming challenges and has particularly enjoyed swimming the Solent and Hellespont.