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Marie Curie Doctor Nikki's Open Water Swimming Journey

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Growing up, Nikki – a Consultant in Palliative Medicine at the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands – swam regularly at her local swimming club.

After falling out of the habit at university, she started swimming regularly again in her 30s.

In 2017, after a few years back in the pool, Nikki wanted to set herself a challenge and decided to sign up for her first open water swim - 1,500 metres, which she loved. 

Having discovered a new passion, she hasn’t looked back since.

This is her story.

“Two years ago I thought to myself ‘It’s the things in life that you don’t do that you regret the most’ and so I wanted to set myself a personal challenge - in open water, which is something I’d never tried before.

“Open water swimming is obviously very different to swimming in a pool – there’s that fear of the unknown, and however irrational, the feeling of ‘what else is swimming beneath me?’. It’s also significantly colder!

“My brother bought me a wetsuit for Christmas 2016 so I was running out of reasons not to try.

“I thought, “If I sign up and pay for an event then I’m committed, I’m much more likely to go ahead with it” so I did. My first open water event was at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham and I really, really enjoyed it.

“Since then, I’ve done lots more and I’m always on the look-out for new challenges. I like doing organised events where you know the water quality is good and it’s safe. 

“I always get a real buzz from open water swimming, it’s so invigorating and the adrenaline and endorphin release makes me feel really good afterwards. It’s hard to explain to anyone who doesn’t swim, a lot of people say ‘You chose to do this?!’ – I guess it’s a bit like marmite – you either love it or you hate it – and I love it!”

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