Swimming without the restrictions of lane ropes, without having to turn every 25 or 50 metres or so and without chemicals or other peoples’ body secretions is what real swimming is all about. We can’t really feel such abandonment in a pool, but we can and do feel it swimming in the open water, the sea.
Swimming is freedom. There is a sense of freedom and peace about being immersed, indeed supported, even embraced, in water. The water washes away the detritus of a too-busy mind; you let your worries wash away from your mind and into the water. It is liberating; it is to be free. To feel the touch of the water along your body as you swim is indeed sensual.
To be tossed and caressed by the waves, to breathe the salty tang of the water, to feel the sand under one’s feet; this is to be alive. To swim in the sea is exhilaration close to its peak. But swimming sans/ohne/tanpa togs, ’skinny dipping’ if you prefer, takes the issue of freedom to its ultimate peak.
But isn’t it illegal in Queensland? Perhaps. But, at the risk of offending the Maroons, Queensland is not the world and there are a number of legal togs-optional places in the world. For example, on our recent swimming tour to Sydney, we heard about such places (just heard about them, honestly!). Sydney even has an annual nude swimming event – as does Hobart. Then there is the famous swimming pool in Helsinki, Finland, where togs have only been allowed in recent years and even now they are discouraged. And so it is in many other places in Europe. But my favourite such swimming place of all time is a lake in Hanover, Germany.
One day when I was living in that city, as I emerged from the lake after my usual (togged) swim, a group of five or six office workers arrived – male and female – having walked the ten or so minutes from a nearby office block. They all wore formal business suits which, on arrival at the lakeshore, they removed and hung on the branches of a tree before plunging into the water – totally naked. Afterwards, they dried off in the warm(ish) sun before dressing and heading back to work - so completely natural and totally without embarrassment. And there was no issue of what to do with wet togs or towels back at the office!
Perhaps we will try this on one of our twice weekly OWS outings? The person who gave me the article, who will remain nameless, may be asked to lead the rest of us. Ok by you John? But we will keep the location secret – it is Queensland after all.