Swim Dem Crew's Bodies of Water for Every Level
Swim Dem Crew's Bodies of Water for Every LevelSwim Dem Crew
Swim Dem was co-founded by Nathaniel Cole, Peigh Asante and Emily Deyn, who all have different introductions to the water and met at Run Dem Crew on a Tuesday night in Shoreditch nine years ago.
Inspired by Charlie Dark’s runners marauding through the streets of London at night, they created a community with a similar ethos, swapping out London's streets for its pools, lidos and ponds to see what effect the water would have on how people lived.
"What we found was that water is a great communicator and leveller. It requires an open mind and ego to truly be manipulated by your hands, feet and breath, which can be daunting at first, but is much easier when doing it amongst friendly faces."
Whether you're more comfortable in a pool or pond, beginner or advanced Swim Dem believes there is a body of water for everyone. Brought to you by Nike Swim and Trippin as part of Open Waters: the crowd-sourced destination taking a deep dive into water-based experiences.
In this Guide
Saltdean Beach and Lido
“We love taking trips to Brighton’s lesser-talked about beach in Saltdean as it’s got plenty of space and less crowding, it’s more local. It’s just a 10 minute bus journey or drive from Brighton centre. A huge bonus of this beach is that Saltdean Lido is less than 100 metres away, providing you with a beautiful art-deco backdrop to your swim and all the facilities that come with a swimming pool (changing rooms, toilets, café). Saltdean Beach is pebbled, like it’s cousin in Brighton, but don’t let that dampen your experience of the crashing waves and tame (by the UKs standards) sounds of seagulls. It’s a place where you can set up shop with your friends for the day in the summer and enter the water at your own pace. While the stones may make your walk to the water less graceful than you’d like, you’re still in control when compared to some other locations. The water will be refreshing and the seaview on a clear day is incredible. On your way back to Brighton, consider having a meal at Curry Leaf Cafe for a quick bite or Little Fish Market for fancy seafood. Swim Level: Beginner Public Transport: Yes Facilities: Lifeguard ”More Info
Walpole Bay and Tidal Pool
“We visit Margate regularly as a crew when the sun decides to show its face for long enough. The town has been through a regeneration-turned-gentrification sparked by the Turner Contemporary being built and new money hipsters trying to replicate what they saw happening across under-funded boroughs in London on the seaside. That’s brought many challenges for Margate's locals who either can’t get on the property ladder or simply don’t want to, rent is increasing and new homes aren’t being built. It means that for visitors like us, we get to see different communities working and living side by side…for now. Margate has two popular tidal pools. The first is just a few minutes walk from the train station and very much a part of the seaside fun that takes place on hot days, the pool is enclosed so as the tide retreats in the afternoon, there is still plenty of water nearby to get a few laps in. We prefer Walpole Bay pool, which is either a half hour walk from Margate station or a five minute drive. This pool has an all important beach entry and small beach area so tends to be much less busy than Margate’s pool. Expect refreshing water, kids crabbing and seasoned swimming vets all sharing the same space. We challenge you to spend a day there to see the pool appear and disappear as the tide comes in and out, there’s something beautiful about that natural process. Margate has a great food scene with plenty of variety, head to Sargasso for refreshing small plates, Angela’s for the best seafood you’ll ever eat, or their sister restaurant Dory’s for a more casual vibe but similar quality. Swim Level: Beginner Public Transport: Yes Facilities: No ”More Info
Frensham Great Pond
“We first visited Frensham Ponds in Farnham in 2021 as a part of us trying to find exciting places outside of London to Swim in and the ponds delivered on that many times over. Of all the places to swim for us, this one is filled with a sense of adventure as it's located in a green with huge trees and rich wildlife. Bring a packed lunch for the day and find a spot along the sand to make your home for the day. Frensham has very calm waters as it’s a lake and two designated swimming areas with a gradual increase in depth as you go further out. We think this is the perfect place to practise floating as it’s such a low pressure place to swim, you’ll most likely be surrounded by families enjoying the weather and water and definitely will not see any elite athletes swimming through the lake. When floating, the key is to remain calm, regulate your breathing and stretch your body out. As you head back to Farnham station, be sure to check out the Plough, it’s a lovely pub with live music most days and is run by a Black musician who also keeps chickens in the garden for delicious eggs. Swim Level: Beginner Public Transport: No Facilities: No ”More Info
“Hampstead Heath is home to three swimming ponds, the Ladies, Mens and Mixed ponds are oases in hot summer days and fortresses of solitude in colder weather, with backdrops of comforting willow trees to sooth your inner self. We love to swim there knowing that you’re able to experience floating around on your back or swimming through slightly murky waters without having to leave the City, which is truly special. If Hampstead is too far north for you, consider coming with us down south to Beckenham Place Park for a dip. It’s one of the few ponds that has air filtration which helps to keep the water extra fresh too. You can even give paddle-boarding a try while there and head up to the grounds to see a movie at their outdoor cinema during the summer. Swim Level: Beginner Public Transport: Yes Facilities: Yes”More Info
London Cold Water Lidos
“Heated lidos are actually quite a luxury, while London holds a few of them, we won’t be focusing on them because we think there are so many benefits to having a relationship with cold water. The cold water brings a presence of thought and strengthens the connection between body and mind through the odd sensations you feel, it’s so hard to describe, that’s why you must try it for yourself! So don’t be afraid to go to south London's Brockwell Lido for a dip that will make you feel truly awake, followed by a munch at their amazing cafe. Or head to Tooting Bec Lido that will recreate swimming in the sea as the pool is nearly 100 metres long! Lastly, consider one of the most beautiful lidos in the UK, Parliament Hill Lido with it’s metallic basin (we thought this was done to heat the water up, but it was actually installed to reduce maintenance time as there are no tiles) which also boasts a cafe that has great falafel wraps and traditional breakfast scran. Swim Level: Beginner Public Transport: Yes Facilities: Yes ”More Info