Hi, I’m Suzie, a very average Mum to two boys, James and Ben, and wife to the ever patient and encouraging Paul. We live on the North West edge of the Peak District. I have a very normal life, doing all the day to day boring stuff everyone else has to do. I have ups and downs, frustrations and problems just like everyone else.
But now I swim…………quite a bit.
I’ve always been comfortable around water. I regularly swam as a child with my dad. Nothing competitive just mucking about in the pool. It led onto a very happy time of kayaking in my teens and early 20’s which is how I met my husband. As I got older though swimming just became a bit too much of a faff. Damp hair and no make up didn’t really fit with my then rather corporate job. The convenience of a local gym won out and I lost touch with the water.
Then in 2015 I came back to it. A house move, two kids, the loss of a career I’d loved but had become despondent with left me with a good old fashioned case of post natal depression. I needed something to get me fit and mentally stronger. Encouraged by friends and a couple of lovely coaches I fell in love with the water again. In 2016 I discovered open water and haven’t looked back since.
It’s my place of solace, escape from daily life, it gives me the freedom to just be me. It’s given me community, friends I never thought I’d have (The Short One) and a re-connection with nature that I didn’t realise could be so intense.
I still struggle with my mental health and now have a condition called Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). I use swimming as a means to help manage my mental as well as physical health now, it’s become a key tool in my box to keep me functioning. It’s not just the tranquility of the water or the “zing” of the cold that helps but also the community, support and conversation that seems to be intrinsic to open water that really hits the spot.
I love sharing my love of open water with anyone who’ll listen and this has led me to re-train as a swimming teacher and open water coach. I also run organised open water swimming sessions at a local reservoir and have advised Swim England and other NGO’s on open water swimming safety and coaching.
I also hold the Royal Lifesaving Society Open Water Lifeguard qualification and National Water Safety Management Programme level 3 plus specialist cold water swimming CPDs.
A very different life to the one I used to lead…………….