Wave of interest in new Hartlepool ice swimming group
A new group for people who share a love of cold dips has been set up in Hartlepool.
Hartlepool Ice Swims has been started by Erin Campbell and Shaun Smith to hold weekly ice water therapy sessions in the sea by Steetley Pier.
They held their first get together last weekend and have already seen great interest from people keen to join in.
Cold water immersion is said to activate the body’s natural healing powers, can relieve the symptoms of many medical conditions and promote a sense of health and well-being.
Erin, 32, of Foggy Furze, said: “I was going to groups in Sunderland and Seaham that are female only.
"I started telling my friends about the benefits of cold water therapy and they started coming with me.
“I realised there were so many people into it so we got a group together.
"I put a post on Facebook and the interest has been massive.”
Long term benefits of regular immersion in cold water are said to include boosting the body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems.
Erin, who works as a DJ, added: “There are lots of benefits. It helps with the immune system and you feel really alive and alert.”
The cold sea dips are inspired by Wim Hof, a Dutch extreme athlete, also known as The Iceman for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures.
Erin said the focus of the group's dips is more on breathing and immersion in the icy waves than on being a good swimmer.
She added: “I go for a walk every day and see people in the sea on their own or in little pods so I thought if we had a group then everyone can go together.
"It would be nice to see a good diversity of people and ages come along.
"I started a Facebook page for the group this week and am surprised at how much interest there has been but it's great.”
The group next meets on Sunday, August 23, at noon at Steetley, and there is no charge to join in.
They can also be found on Instagram.