Families will be wishing ‘best fishes’ to a hundred youngsters this year who will be joining the annual South Devon Swimming ‘Swoosh’ for the first time.
The world class downstream outdoor six kilometre wild swim has been held at the magical coastal village of Bantham for the past four years and thousands of adults have taken part.
But this year, for the first time, organisers The Outdoor Swimming Society (OSS) is giving a shoal of ‘mini-Swooshers’ a chance to join their parents for a one-to-one fully lifeguarded Swoosh at the end.
800 swimmers will be getting in the water at Aveton Gifford on the Avon early on Saturday morning and swimming on the outgoing tide to the beach at Bantham, experiencing the famous ‘Swoosh’ by the iconic Jenkins’ Quay towards the finishing line.
"The current explosion of interest in swimming outdoors and throughout the year in Britain is both staggering and welcome,' says OSS Founder Kate Rew.
“Our events are not just sport,' says Rew, “they are a celebration of swimming and the community that's grow up around it. We now have 70,000 followers and for them the OSS - like the water itself - is their "happy place". Attending OSS events has grown so popular the Swoosh and sister event the Dart10k are the first open water swims in the country to move to ballot entry.
With full sunshine forecast and a recent spike in water temperature, conditions are looking good.
“We have a huge variety of people in the water, from 6 year olds to 70 year olds, with people swimming skins and butterfly.”
“One swimmer, Lindsey Cole, has been cycling and dipping her way around the country since she left Totnes in February, on what was initially a 2-3 week trip. Five months later she's still going,' says Rew.
“The Bantham Swoosh raises money for many great causes including The Outdoor Swimming Society (a worldwide community of wild and open water swimmers), Level Water (a charity providing swimming lessons to children with disabilities) and Aveton Gifford Community Pool," says Rew. "Our thanks go to the local community for their welcome, and ALPKIT, our longstanding sponsor".
This year supporting sponsors Clif Bar and CLIPPER are joined by local Devon business Red Paddle Co and Tideford Organics, as well as swim holiday company SwimTrek.
Thanks also go to The Bantham Estate for their continued support in giving access to this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Bantham Estate Estate Manager Ryan Hooper said:
“Bantham Estate is very much looking forward to welcoming The Swoosh event again this year. It is a day full of fun and smiling faces and fits in perfectly with the Estate’s ethos. It is great for us to be able to showcase this beautiful part of the world and the feedback we get after the event is always really positive and encouraging.”