International Women’s Day Swimrise

13th February, 2020

Anna Deacon encourages others to get a band of sisters (or brothers, pets, kids..) to celebrate International Women’s Day with a swim

In 2020 International Women’s Day is on Sunday 8th March. Swimmer and photographer Anna Deacon is encouraging others to do as she did last year – get a group of friends together, and celebrate it with a swim.

“It was Friday 8th March 2019 and International Women’s Day,’ says Anna Deacon. “The sun was beginning to lighten across the horizon as we huddled around our  little bonfire, stamping our feet and rubbing our hands together in the frosty sand. One by one dry robes and bobble hats began to arrive on the beach until we had a 70 strong band of sisters at Portobello Beach, Edinburgh. 

“The sun started to break through as we walked towards the low tide as a group, talking, laughing, recognising one another from work, or the dentists and wondering how we ended up here in March in our swimsuits in the frost. The cold was forgotten with shrieks of fun, splashes of water, and jumping the waves as we chatted and bobbed, gossiped and shivered. 

“Afterwards someone suggested a conga along the beach to warm up,  and everyone ate cakes, drank coffee and began to peel off for work, school runs and real life. But we all went away with an incredible sense of community, friendship and a real shared experience. Our youngest swimmer had to dash off to high school and our eldest at almost 80 was one of our hardiest swimmers. 

“What a day of celebration it was. We came from all backgrounds, abilities and ages and shared a wonderful celebration of sisterhood and bonding. 

“We would love to encourage others to find their own band of sisters (brothers, kids, pets too – no rules here) who can swim together to celebrate this day, to celebrate all we have achieved and strive towards all we still need to achieve. “

Anna and her group of Edinburgh swimmers are suggesting swimmers around the world get together with their friends and create their IWD Swimrise for Women’s Aid – or another charity supporting women. “We are also donating £10 each to a local women’s charity or Women’s Aid.”

  • To share your swim: use the hashtags #IWDSWIMRISE , #sharetheswimlove, #IWD2020 #eachforequal on twitter and instagram to share your swim, and on insta tag Anna at @wildswimmingstories and The OSS via @theoutdoorswimmingsociety #outdoorswimmingsociety #thestoics. 
  • Email Anna and friends at . ‘We want to gather information about how many are swimming and how much they have raised in order to put that in a press release and collate information following the event to get some grand totals!’ says Anna.
  • Look out for Anna’s insta takeover of @theoutdoorswimmingsociety on the 8th March, when she’ll share #IWDswimrise’s around the country (or world).

Note of caution (Ed)! It is COLD, properly cold, and unacclimatised swimmers could run into trouble on a group dash into the water in March, including but not limited to heart attacks, asthma attacks and panic attacks. Social swims are based on everyone taking responsibility for themselves, and on them understanding the risks and making their own personal decision on whether it is right for them to swim – don’t let group mentality overtake individual common sense. Where a swim is advertised or money is collected (even if it is for charity) the coordinators start to look more like ‘organisers’ in both moral and legal terms – the swim starts to creep beyond a few swimmers who haven’t met yet going for a social swim, into an advertised event (which should properly have risk assessments, event plans and water safety).