Swimmers make last dash into Sunderland's sea as new Covid measures put a halt to group sessions
Swimming sessions which have brought hundreds of people together to experience the buzz of a sea dip have been put on hold as new rules come in to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The last Wild Sea Women gathering was held at Seaburn – alongside the Iceguys group, which meets at Roker on Sundays – ahead of the Government’s new ‘rule of six’ restriction on how many people can socialise together both inside and outside coming into law.
Both have attracted people from around the North East and beyond to join in, with the woman’s group led by Hayley Dorian and the men’s by Chris Nicholas, as they helped oversee that everyone kept to social distancing rules during the evening events.
They have said they will postpone the dips until further notice, with their Facebook groups helping to keep the communities they have formed in contact, as well as a way to organise smaller meetings.
A statement shared on their social media sites said: “Following the latest government restrictions which commence on Monday, September 14, in England, we will no longer be able to have organised sea dips of more than six people until the restrictions are lifted.
"This does not mean we cannot go to the beach or into the sea from Monday.
"If people do decide to go to the beach at the regular Iceguys/Wild Sea Women times, we won’t be able to lead the session, as this would put the organisers in a very vulnerable position and possibly open to prosecution.
"If you do wish to go into the sea, but have nobody to go with, then you are more than welcome to post in the Facebook group to ask if anyone fancies a dip, obviously sticking to the legal group size.
"We’d just like to say a massive thank you for your ongoing support and participation in the swims, it’s been an overwhelming success so far. We’ll be back in the sea in large organised groups as soon as the regulations change.”
Swimming groups for Seaburn, Roker, Seaham and South Shields each run their own Facebook pages.