Set against a leafy backdrop and with its iconic, brightly coloured, changing room doors, Tooting Bec Lido gives city dwellers a chance to escape and cool off. Did you know it’s the largest freshwater Lido in the UK at almost twice the size of an Olympic swimming pool?
(You can spot her on the very edge of the left-hand side of the picture, powering through the water.) After setting herself the challenge of swimming a mile in August she woke up on the last day of the month in a panic. After a quick calculation Julie set off and swam the 32 lengths she needed to achieve her goal. Months later she realised it was a 90 metre pool and she had swum a mile all along and nearly twice that on that day in August. Oh Julie!
This vibrant print celebrates the British summer to its fullest. Alongside Julie, you will find so many stories including: cold water swimming championships, swimming costume fails, begoggled triathletes, the ever growing dryrobe brigade and the most FABULOUS hat.
Roger & Diccon, Michael, Julie, Clare and Lizzy, Amanda & Chris, Zoe Gus & their Zimbabwean & Finnish friends, Sarah Matt Esme & Milo, Juliet & Skip, Jemma Harsh Harry & Nia, Sarah Tim Emily & Tommy, Dave Sara Stan & Ted, Aila and Best Friend, Jenni Rich Becka & Joe, Jule and her wonderful Ukrainian Headdress.
‘Remembering our last holiday abroad my daughter, Esmé was 3 and my son, Milo was 5. We had a pool and despite being younger my daughter was fearless in the water – jumping in, being thrown up high etc all without any buoyancy aids – totally loving it! Milo, on the other hand was so nervous, it took ages for us to persuade him to jump in and then only when he was wearing the absolute max number of aids – a flotation vest and armbands and jumping onto a woggle! The complete opposite of his more daring sister!’
‘I lived in a house with 8 Zimbabweans, one of which is my husband Gus. All the boys were keen swimmers having represented Zimbabwe all through their senior school years. We were all members of the lido and spent many an amazing time there.
My fondest memory is of the first UK cold water swimming competition which was held in Tooting Bec lido in 2006.. A contingent from the lido had been out to Finland where they hold a competition each year in a pool cut out of the ice. A friendship was formed and the Finns came out to Tooting to oversee the UK’s first every cold water championship to celebrate the lido’s centenary year.
Our group of course had to be involved, so on a freezing January morning, me and the Zimbabweans headed down to the cold pool and took part. The boys all wearing their speedos emblazoned with Zim flags, and us in just swimming costumes we leapt screaming into the pool which had foam ice bergs floating in it, and completed our two widths. Jumping out afterwards, invigorated and enjoying steaming cups of hot chocolate and coffee.’
‘It has strong memories for me as my friend Diccon and I used the pool for our first ever Triathlon training in 2007 – we used to bike there and go and do multiple lanes in our black wetsuits and orange caps. It was so daunting swimming such a big pool at the time. During this period Diccon was suffering from a degenerative Kidney disease and part of the reason we were doing the triathlons was for him to remain as fit as possible before the inevitable transplant.
15 years later, Diccon has had a kidney transplant (from his brother) and has completed various Ironman events, whilst I still swim in my new local Lido.’
At the time of writing this Jule Harries was at no. 92 of her one hundred hats challenge. Jule is completing 100 open water swims wearing a different hat each time for charity. These are not just ordinary hats, they are artworks themselves! Here she features in her Ukrainian headdress.
To find out more about her challenge and take a look at her incredible creations you can find her on Instagram @jule.harries
‘I have one of those swimming costumes that looks a bit like a mini dress. I think it is pretty cool but it keeps blowing up and inflating in the water so I look like a bloomin balloon! I get laughed at A LOT.’