Taking the plunge

A swimmer at Tooting Bec Lido Image copyright Nina Sologubenko

On a bright yet cold winter's day I can think of many things to do, and throwing myself into cold water is not one of them. Yet, around the globe there seems to be no end of volunteers to attempt this, and at the weekend about 650 swimmers of all ages and abilities took part in the sixth UK Cold Water Swimming Championships, at Tooting Bec Lido, in south London.

The challenge to competitors was to swim nearly 30m across the width of the Lido in water at about 3C. Photographer Nina Sologubenko went along to record the event and was drawn to the moment just before the swimmers took to the water.

"I watched the races dressed, like most of the spectators, in a thick padded coat, hat and scarf and wondered how I could capture what's going through the mind of someone who is about to jump into freezing cold water," Sologubenko said.

Image copyright Nina Sologubenko

"I was lucky to be on the starting line when the competitors arrived for their heats.

"I found the swimmers' body language fascinating as they braced themselves.

"When it's this cold, a person's back can be even more expressive than their faces, and everyone had their own way of getting themselves in the zone or just through the few moments of waiting.

"Many of the swimmers, vying for the award for the best hat of the championships, paid as much, if not more, attention to their headwear as to their sporting results."

Here's a selection of Nina Sologubenko's pictures.

Image copyright Nina Sologubenko
Image copyright Nina Sologubenko
Image copyright Nina Sologubenko
Image copyright Nina Sologubenko
Image copyright Nina Sologubenko
Image copyright Nina Sologubenko
Image copyright Nina Sologubenko

You can see more of Nina Sologubenko's work on her website.

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