November: the dreariest month on the British calendar. While most people don on their woollies and crank up the central heating, the Bournemouth Spartans spark into action and brave the elements en mass; it’s the beginning of their sea swimming season.
Equipped with only a bathing suit, a towel, and sometimes a bbq for a cooked breakfast, every Sunday morning until April the Bournemouth Spartan Winter Sea Swimming Club meet for a body-numbing swim. There’s a 90 year difference between the youngest and oldest member of the club, which comprises of a whole array of different people. The sea unites them.
To step into the winter’s sea is to step into another world, say the Spartans. Some spend almost an hour in the water, some a quick dip in, dip out. In November, the water temperature is about 10 degrees celcius, and it drops to about 5 in February. They indulge in this pursuit for the sense of invigoration and well-being they feel during and after a swim. It’s free, simple, and it keeps their blood flowing.
A big thank you goes out to all the fantastic Bournemouth Spartans who very kindly allowed me to photograph them – you rock! :)