We're really excited to announce the shortlist for The Wild Swimming Brothers 'Wild Swimmer of the Year 2017'. After a hectic year of swimming we've heard about so many wild and wonderful expeditions and wanted to compile our shortlist of the wildest swimmers of the year. Before we go into the list we wanted to look at the criteria for selection in order to make the list. What makes it a wild swim? Does it have to be really REALLY wild, like Bear Grylls wild to count ;)?
We like to class a wild swim as a swim outdoors in the natural world, so no outdoor pools or lidos as we'll put that into the subcategory of 'outdoor swimming' (don't you love all these niche little subcategories?). We're also leaving out the big channel, marathon, and open water swimmers as we wanted to create a list of people who are within grasp of mere mortals and these swimmers are very well represented by WOWSA. Just check out Sarah Thomas's 100 mile swim of Lake Champlain for evidence of the insane lengths marathon swimmers can go too.
Anyway, with no further ado, here's our shortlist for the top 10 Wild Swimmers of 2017:
We’ve followed Vivienne’s aquatic journeys for some time now and her watery exploration of the wild lynns and lakes of the rugged welsh mountains has truly captured our imagination. She uses expert photography and creativity to craft evocative shots of misty hilltop lakes and her calming and ethereal images convey an ancient and timeless wilderness that really epitomises why we love swimming outside in the natural world.
Nominated for smashing through ice covered mountain lakes, enduring midges and exploring the remote wild swimming spots of Tasmania. Apart from obviously having an incredible name, Calum is a bit of a wild swimming creative guru and we have loved following his journeys all year and can’t wait to see what he’s got planned for 2018.
We've absolutely loved following Ella Chloe, you can rest assured that no matter the weather, rain or shine, freezing or warm she will be out there swimming. What strikes us about her above all wild swimmers is that she just makes it look so fun, it's never macho or about distance or an ego, it's always just about the sheer bloody joy of jumping into wild water.
Swim Story Sam
We've been following Sam for some time and are always inspired by his relentless and continuous march to swim at every possible opportunity. Day in day out he's out there clocking up the miles. Often he swims in the Big Rivers of Tennessee and his images evoke a true sense of the grand scale of US wild rivers and waterways.
We’ve been following Birna on instagram for some time now and she’s easily got one of our favourite accounts. She truly showcases the breathtaking beauty of the land of ice and fire and is particularly adept at finding secret ethereal swim spots. The Icelandic Ice Maiden deserves her spot on the list!
The Chilean Snow Swimmer, Barbara Hernandez, has blown us away this year with a number of breathtaking and beautiful swims across the remote glaciers and mountains of the Andes. Every time we read one of her stories or see an image we're immediately transported to a faraway icy and mountainous realm. She is consistently pushing the limits of high altitude wild swimming - one to watch for 2018!
Norman Todd and Colin Macleod
We had the pleasure of meeting both Norman and Colin last summer during our "Wild Lady of Lochbroom Expedition". It was an absolute joy swimming with them and we had a feeling that they'd be going on to bigger and better things, which they proved by swimming from Achiltibuie to Ullapool - a whopping 14 miles. What we loved the most though, was that they did the swim to raise awareness for the Living Seas Project, which encourages youngsters to engage with marine life through snorkeling expeditions. Fantastic stuff!
We've loved following Tam's 'My Daily Raw Swim' project and love the experimental and creative angels she uses to evoke the wild and untamed beauty of swimming in the sea. She never wears a wetsuit and her unique journeys into the wild waves of the Hebrides inspires us everyday to get out there and go for a swim - she also has an awesome Dog which features heavily and that always gets a big thumbs up from us :)
Like the Stig of wild swimming, we don't know his name but god damn do we enjoy his wild swimming pictures. He can be found swimming all over the lakes of Switzerland and always manages to capture unique and evocative shots of wild swimming.
THE WHOLE LOT OF YOU
Now we thought this one might be seen to be a bit of a cutesy way to finish off the list, but then again, it's true... Every single one of you who decided to find time in their daily routine to get outside and go for a wild swim deserves to be on the list. We absolutely love wild swimming and it's been inspiring and humbling sharing the waterways with all of our aquatic brothers and sisters. Here's to plenty more wild swims to come!
That's all for now... We hope you enjoyed our top 10 Wild Swimmers of the Year. Hopefully we'll see you in the water soon!