Zeno’s swim club: Photo of the week

Celebrating winter swimming

Zeno’s winter swim club is about celebrating all aspects of swimming through winter. Based on the Stoic school of philosophy, our online community is where you can share your love of swimming in wind, ice, and stinging rain, but also those sunny, crisp mornings and light only found when shadows are long and winter is in the air. You can read all about the swim club and it’s philosophy here.

Each week the photo that optimises the club best (and includes #thestoics) will win a Zeno’s swim hat, and will be shared on our social media channels, and here, to document our swim club through winter.

Does it count as Stoic if I thoroughly enjoyed it? ‘  – Swimsta Man (the club’s inventor)

Zeno’s Swim Club was launched on 1st November, and people rom across the world are getting involved. From ‘magical misty swims‘ (@letwitteur) to ‘Squelching and sliding up the hill, past ancient beech and oak trees, wide skies above me and the City towers distant behind me‘ (@tessa_stuart), people have been embracing the ‘just get in and enjoy it’ philosophy of the club.


Week 1: @_robrichardson

Rob’s photo, taken in Llyn Padarn, Wales, reminded The OSS team that whilst winter swimming is cold and often stormy, part of the beauty in this transitional period between autumn and winter is the fantastic low light shining on crisp autumnal leaves, and the stillness of the water.

Rob is a seasoned winter swimmer, making the most of the llyns and sea around his home in North Wales. Rob has been swimming outdoors since he joined some friends for an autumnal dip two years ago, and swam through winter for the first time last year. Rob says he can’t quite pin down why he likes icy water; ‘ I don’t enjoy getting in that’s for sure. I’m always last in if I’m in a group. But once I’m in, from then on it’s a magical experience. I love the vastness and unknowableness of the Llyns I swim in. The wildness of the mountainscapes around. The oneness with my surroundings. The all-encompassing present moment body awareness. The vulnerability. The peace or playfulness depending on the day. The hot chocolate and the cake. The laughter. The bond. The solitude. The high that lasts for days. The awareness that nothing else that day will be as great a challenge. The resilience. You can follow Rob’s swims on Instagram @_robrichardson.

Other favourites this week were the Silky Serpentine Swim by @team_mermaids_uk, Antonia (aged 83) showing us how to do it (@tonicofthesea) and the low light, building clouds and shining pebbles encapsulated by @runningthroughthecloud‘s photo.


To join Zeno’s swim club use the hashtags #thestoics and #outdoorswimmingsociety in your social media posts. A winner will be picked every week, and each winner will receive a Zeno’s swim hat. 





Swimming in the cold holds risk. These cold risks include, but are not limited to, cold shock and cold incapacitationafterdrop, hypothermia and death. Conditions such as asthma and high blood pressure can cause problems with sudden immersion in cold.

Please use the resources available (such as the Cold section of this website and the other swimmers within The Outdoor Swimming Society community on FB) to educate yourself before getting in, and swim safe. If you decide that you are fit and ready for winter swimming, seek the advice of the more experienced, consider swimming in a group (either a wild swim group or a winter lido) and go gently – think 10 strokes not 10 minutes.

Responsibility for safety lies with individual swimmers and is not assumed by The Outdoor Swimming Society or any of it’s volunteers or staff in providing this free community group (please see the terms of our OSS Swim Responsibility Statement).