Sunderland sea swimming groups give people a chance to discover 'power of the cold' to help body and mind
Two new groups have launched to bring people together to enjoy the buzz of sea swimming off Sunderland.
Wild Sea Women and Iceguys meet on Sundays at 8pm, with the women’s group making a splash at Seaburn and the men off Roker Beach.
The women’s group is led by Hayley Dorian, who left her IT network engineering career last year to run Xhayle, teaching yoga, breathwork and the Wim Hof Method, where people learn to cope with freezing temperatures.
Iceguys is organised by Chris Nicholas, a union rep and delivery driver for Royal Mail and Parcelforce, who runs NXY Multisports Events.
The pair, who are members of Fausto Bathing Club and Seaburn Swimmers Sunderland, have been overwhelmed with interest, with people travelling across the country to join in.
Hayley said: “Wild Sea Women was created to bring like-minded women together to support one another and encourage more women to experience the power of the cold.
"There are so many benefits, but to mention a few; stress reduction, it boosts the immune system and blood circulation, accelerates metabolism, helps to improve mood, boosts creativity, improves sleep, faster recovery from physical exertion, and it makes you feel happy.
"These swims are free and not for profit but purely to help with mental and physical health as well as bringing people together to have some fun.”
Chris, who is training for his third Ironman, added: "My aim is to promote the mental health side of sea swimming as well as tricking people into becoming triathletes.
"We’ve been inundated with such positive feedback, it’s been heart-warming to see people coming together like this, buzzing, laughing and just leaving the beach on a high.
"The camaraderie amongst the swimmers is awesome and if there’s repeat of what we have with the Seaburn Swimmers and Fausto Bathing Club, people will make some fantastic friends out of this.”
The sessions are unsuitable for anyone with heart conditions, epilepsy, schizophrenia and pregnant women and children must be supervised.
People should be able to swim at least 50 metres and as well as swimwear and warm clothing, should take a towel or robe, hot drink and swim shoes for Roker.
Times of the swims are likely to change with the seasons, with updates to be posted on the groups’ social media pages.