Off Season Swimming

OSS logoOff Season Swimming returns to Guildford Lido this winter, from Saturday 24th September until 16th April 2017.

Sessions will run at the following times:

Saturdays 9.30am - 11.00am and 1.30pm - 3.00pm
(excluding Saturday 24th & 31st December)

Sundays 9.30am - 11.00am and NEW FOR 2017: 1.30pm - 3.00pm
(excluding Sunday 25th December & 1st January)

Price: £6 per session, or 10 sessions for £50

For unlimited swimming at Guildford Lido and Guildford Spectrum ALL YEAR, you may wish to consider a Swim Direct membership for just £31 per month.

In the colder months, the water will be kept to a minimum temperature of 12 degrees C. Wet suits are advised but not enforced and hot beverages will be available on site. If you wish to swim without a wet suit, this is your choice but a disclaimer must be signed at Guildford Lido reception.

For all the information you need about Off Season Swimming, including temperature updates, please visit our Facebook page, 'Guildford Lido Off Season Swimming'

Advice for Cold Water Swimming

First a note of caution; if you have a heart condition or asthma, see your doctor before taking up swimming outdoors 

  1. TAKE THE PLUNGE! Much of the acclimatisation process is mental - knowing the moment of immersion will feel cold, and embracing it anyway. Don't jump into really cold water unless you're acclimatised. 
  1. EXHALE AS YOU GET IN. In cold water the ribcage contracts, which leads many swimmers to feeling they can't breathe. Exhale and the next breath will come naturally in. Shrieking and grunting for your first strokes are perfectly natural accompaniments to a cold water swim. 
  1. WAIT 90 SECONDS. The pleasure of cold water might not be immediate. Give your body a little time to react, and soon your circulation will start charging around and you'll feel alive.  
  1. Don't just jump in and think about how it feels, as the answer is likely to be 'cold', even unpleasant (particularly in wetsuits, where the expectation of warmth makes the cold dribble in around the zip particularly cruel). Set your intention (to swim to x), and then get in and do it. You'll feel good once you get moving. 

The main safety risk you face as a cold water swimmer is getting too cold. 

You get in, and after a few minutes of feeling uncomfortable the water feels pleasant. Your body continues to lose heat, blood shunts to the core to keep organs warm, muscles slow, arms and legs become weak, and swimming becomes increasingly difficult. I.e. you are "in difficulties" and are in imminent danger of drowning. Wearing a wetsuit, silicon hat, maybe even booties and gloves depending on the temperature of the pool will help you deal with the cold.

In a wetsuit you may find you can swim comfortably for a while. For hardened swimmers you may wish to swim without a wet suit, this is your choice but a disclaimer must be signed.

The secret to acclimatising is just to swim in it, often - at least once a week, and preferably two or three, gradually extending the time that you stay in the water. It is easier to start swimming in summer and above and then keep on swimming as the temperature drops if you want to extend into autumn and winter. 

Don’t go in if you are feeling very cold before you start.

  • Be ready for the shock when you go in.
  • Get used to the cold before swimming in deeper water.
  • Limit time in cold water.
  • Stop if you are shivering or after 20 minutes.
  • Be ready for cramp. Stay shallow to stand up or use a buoyancy aid.
  • Make sure you can get warm after swimming.
  • Swimming in a swim hat help decrease the heat loss.
  • Putting a wool hat on after the swim is the first thing to be done.
  • Pack your cloths in the order you’re going to put them back on, saving time when getting changed.
  • Make sure after every swim you have a hot drink, the cafe will be open.
  • Don’t take a hot shower though as it can be dangerous with the sudden temperature change.