Wild Swimmers of the Year, 2018

WE'RE REALLY EXCITED to announce the shortlist for The Wild Swimming Brothers 'Wild Swimmer of the Year 2018’. After a busy year of swimming we've followed some incredible aquatic journeys 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.

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 the year Cameron Bellamy and Jaimie Monahan have had for evidence of the insane lengths marathon swimmers can go too. We also wanted to bring to you a fresh list of wild swimmers and as such will not be featuring any of our amazing swimmers nominated in the 2017 list which you can see - here. Every single swimmer from 2017 has been blazing a watery trail all year and we continue to follow their journeys as should you :)

Anyway, with no further ado, here's our shortlist for the top 10 Wild Swimmers of 2018….

Ross Edgley

Let’s cut to the chase shall we, following Ross Edgley’s swim around Britain was absolutely insane and stands as one of the most ambitious feats of exploration and adventure ever. Whilst we normally leave marathon swimmers to WOWSA we couldn’t ignore the brilliance, determination and inspiration that Ross’s swim showed. For bringing a smile, unbridled passion and stretching the boundaries of outdoor swimming he undoubtedly deserves his spot on the list.

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Katia Vastiau

Since joining Team Selkie this year we were lucky enough the meet the absolute swimming machine that is Katia Vastiau. What we love most about her is that she is swimming ALL THE TIME, every single second of hers seems to be spent diving into lakes, rivers, ponds, pools and everything in between, she is constantly swimming and this serves as a real inspiration for us in our lulls, ebbs and flows. It’s really inspiring to see someone day in day out just embracing the watery world and diving beneath its waves. She’s also an absolute whizz with underwater camera shots!

Follow Katia on Instagram

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Fay Preene

We’re from the Lake District so might be slightly biased on this one but we’ve loved following Fay’s aquatic adventures all across the Lakes. Her evocative and atmospheric shots showcase the world's greatest wild swimming destination (ok ok we admit it we’re super biased) and her love of the water is evident in all her stories, as part of the infamous Buoy 13 Swimming Club she is a deserved wild swimmer of the year.

P.s Did we mention we love the Lake District

Follow Fay on Instagram

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Dartmoor Swimmer

We’ve been fascinated by the mysterious Dartmoor Swimmer since her ethereal images popped up on Instagram. Her artistic and atmospheric photos convey a sense of being called to the water and unlike the rest of us she removes herself as the focal point of the image, always having her back turned to the camera, as if the aquatic world is summoning her and she must heed its call. Trust us you will not be disappointed!

Follow the Dartmoor Swimmer

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Diego Lopez

The “Spanish Bull” Diego has been on one heck of a journey over the past year, 12 months ago he’d never swum regularly in water below 15 degrees, a couple of weeks ago he completed and Ice KM in Antartica!!! In a year! Mental, we’ve also loved following his journey as the Global Swimmer and all of his photos and posts really bring a sense of humour and enjoyment to his outdoor swimming, that truly he is enjoying every moment and relishing being immersed in the natural world.

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Ellen Taylor

One of the newest swimmers on our radar this year has been Ellen Taylor, she’s been on a inspirational swimming journey so far and swam in more places than we can remember! What we’ve really enjoyed though has been her descent into the ice, it’s easy as a wild swimmer to lose your wits as the winter months approach, to reminisce about bygone summer days swimming, but Ellen has just kept on swimming! We recently followed her journey to the IISA Championships in Doncaster earlier this month where she completed 1km in 5.5 degrees, we can’t wait to see what she does next!

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Hamza Bakircioglu

Having swum the Hellespont this year alongside over 500 turks we can attest to their sheer love and passion for open water swimming, in particular this passion and ferocity is personified no better than in Hamza Bakircioglu. This year he shattered previous conceptions about what is possible in cold water swimming and completed a DOUBLE Ice Mile, yes that’s right a DOUBLE Ice Mile. For most of us the concept an Ice Mile alone is insane, let alone a double, just incredible.

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Lindsey Cole

We absolutely loved following Lindsey’s creative and imaginative swim down the River Thames as the Urban Mermaid. It was clear from all her posts and photos that she combined a love for being in the water with a passionate message of conservation and protection of our wild waters. We’re big fans of weird and wonderful swims and swimming the length of the River Thames as a mermaid whilst extolling the need for a hard line against plastic pollution is brilliant in our eyes.

Follow Lindsey on Instagram

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Megan Susannah

We’ve really enjoyed the down to earth adventures of the “Mermaid In The City” and Megan has brought a real no nonsense sense of joy and adventure to all things wild swimming. It’s really important to remember that the reason you’re swimming outdoors is because pure and simply, you enjoy it and no one has personified this more in our eyes than her. If just for the below photo alone she deserves her spot on the list…

Follow Megan on Instagram

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Wild Welsh Swimmer

We’ve been huge fans of the Outdoor Swimming Society ever since we started learning about the wider world of wild swimmers after our hibernation growing up in the Lake District. The Wild Welsh Swimmer has just joined their ranks and her images and stories of swimming in the wilds of Wales have captured the majesty and otherworldly feel of the Lynns and quarries of the Welsh mountains. Hues of granite grey clash with azure blue and amongst everything she is clearly having the time of her life, we love this combination and think she truly deserves a place on the list.

Follow the Wild Welsh Swimmer on Instagram

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All of You!

Again we thought this one might be seen to be a bit of a cute/cop out way to finish off the list, but then again, it really is true... Every single one of you who decided to shake up your normal routine and get outside 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 as we dive on into 2019!