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8 Top Tips For A Successful Christmas Day Swim 2022

Posted by Luke Green

There’s nothing quite like a festive dip to get you into the spirit of things! Whether you’re doing it for charity, just for the crack (or to escape from the in-laws for an hour or two…), it’s bound to give you one of the best natural highs you’ve experienced all year round. A Christmas day swim is definitely a lot of fun, however it doesn’t come without its own risks if you haven’t done your research. So in order to ensure you enjoy a safe and successful Christmas day swim this year, make sure to consider the following crucial tips:

Stay Warm Before You Enter The Water

Keep yourself as warm as possible before your swim, and only take off your warm clothing at the very last minute. Layers and cold weather accessories are your friend here - we’re talking hats, scarves, gloves, and a waterproof changing robe to keep you toasty and warm before you swim, and to help you warm up once you’re out of the water. The last thing you want to do is start your Christmas swim already feeling chilly.

Check Local Advice & Choose Your Location Carefully

The safest way to swim during the festive season is to join other Christmas day swimmers as part of an organised event. There are plenty of Christmas and boxing day swims that take place across the country, where the locations and conditions are chosen safely. If you are heading out independently of an event, make sure to choose a location with a safe entry and exit point, where you are visible to others and where you have swam safely before. Check the weather forecast and tide times in detail to ensure conditions are safe before heading out. 

Always Swim With Buddies & Tell Someone Where You’re Going

Again, if you’re not joining other Christmas day swimmers in an organised event then make sure you’re swimming with other people. That way you can keep an eye on each other and call for help if you run into trouble. It’s also important to tell someone on land where you’re going and when you plan to be back so that they can raise the alarm if you get delayed. Bring a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch so that you can update them if you get delayed, and so that you can call for help in the event of an emergency. 

Is A Christmas Day Swim Right For Me?

The impact of the cold water means that it’s sensible for some people to avoid cold water swimming. For example, this includes people who are pregnant, have respiratory or heart conditions, high blood pressure or are recovering from a chest infection or fever.  If you have any of these conditions then you should avoid a festive dip, or seek medical advice before considering it. If you’ve got alcohol in your system or are hungover then you should also give it a miss, as this can be dangerous for a number of reasons. 

Wear A Wetsuit

You’re likely to see a lot of people braving their Christmas day swim in just a swimsuit or trunks, however if you want to keep yourself warm then it’s really best to wear a wetsuit and neoprene boots - this will also help to give you more buoyancy in the water. If you can, it’s also a good idea to wear a brightly coloured swim cap. This will help to keep you even warmer, whilst also making you more visible in the water. 

Enter The Water Slowly

As tempting as it might be, don’t dive or jump. This puts you at risk of cold water shock which can cause you to hyperventilate and panic. Instead, take your time, and enter the water gradually, taking some time to get your breathing under control before you immerse your shoulders. It helps to stand waist deep and splash a little water on your cheeks in order to help your body acclimatize to the cold before you immerse the rest of your body. 

Don’t Stay In For Long

A Christmas day swim certainly shouldn’t be an endurance test - it’s the holidays after all! Don’t have high expectations about being in the water for ages, as the cold makes this pretty difficult. Many Christmas day swimmers only go in for a minute, or swim for less than 20 metres. When it comes to a Christmas day swim, it is simply the taking part that counts, soaking in the atmosphere, and enjoying doing something a little different on your Christmas day. If you do start to feel unwell in the water then make sure to get out immediately. 

Warm Up Gradually

Once you’ve finished your Christmas day swim, make sure you’ve bought plenty of warm, dry clothes with you to help you get warm gradually (avoid jumping in a hot shower immediately). As we mentioned a little earlier on, a waterproof changing robe is a must have for a Christmas day swim. Red’s Pro Change Robe Evo is perfect for a Christmas swim. This cosy robe features a super soft moisture wicking fur lining to ensure you dry off and get warm quickly, with a generous fit for changing out of wet kit easily and discreetly. Don’t forget to bring a warm hat, scarf and gloves, and of course an insulated bottle containing your favourite hot beverage. 

Now for the best part, basking in that post swim glow as you look forward to the rest of the day’s festivities!