Gumbies Ambassador Series: 365 Sea Swim Challenge, Chris, Greg & Leanne

We catch up with Chris, Greg & Leanne from 365 Sea Swim Challenge to find out if they made it through winter and what their plans are for summer 2022.

Hey Chris, how and where are you today?

Pretty awesome! Sun is shining, Spring is on its way, and I’ve had a great beach day with a couple of the 365 crew. Greg, Leanne, and I are down to St Mary’s Bay in Brixham doing our first ever photoshoot. Never thought I would be a model! We obviously took our daily swim after the shoot, still a bit fresh, definitely exhilarating!

How was the winter compared to previous years?

This was my third winter of consecutive day sea swimming; I’ve now reached over 1,000 days. I have to say it has been a very mild winter with temperatures 2 degree’s higher than average. Sign of the times maybe?

How long have you been back in Gumbies Flip Flops?

Got my Gumbies back on in mid-March when we had that unseasonably mild weather, was great to get my toes in the breeze again.

Bet it feels good now Spring is in the air - what are your plans for the next few months?

We have loads planned this year. It will be the second season for our crab line recycling scheme in Brixham. We currently have all the recycle stations in the workshop being spruced up for another busy season. We have some exciting partnerships including ‘The Cove Discovery Project’ launching in May. The Project aim is to merge art, creativity and conservation, to raise awareness of the habitats and biodiversity at Churston cove and recognise the lives connected with it.

Just checked out the video from the shoot - you guys didn't hesitate getting into the water, do you get used to the cold?

365 Sea Swim Challenge, Brixham March 2022

Yes, you acclimatise over prolonged exposure to cold water. That said you still need to know your individual limit and be mindful of the signs. Knowing when to get out is critical.

I guess now is as good time as any for new recruits - can anyone start a 365 Swim Challenge?

Spring is the perfect time to set yourself a goal or challenge. We have our 365 and 52 week challenges and the sign up information is on our website. We are also looking for volunteers to help with the Recycling scheme in Brixham, a great way to contribute to the local community, marine wildlife, conservation and environment. We would also love to see the 365 family grow throughout the UK. We already have members in Scotland, Wales and England, even a couple in the USA!

Hey Greg & Leanne, thank you both for taking part in our shoot looks like we picked a good day for it! How did you guys get involved and how far are you into your 365 day challenge? 

Greg: I swam with Chris in the first winter of his 365challenge so I've known about it since the start really. I started the challenge 325 days ago, my friend Seth died after battling a brain tumour, he was 7, I met Sam and James, his mum and dad through a Brainstrust event, we became friends and I met their family, 4 boys, Seth was the youngest, when I got the news I didn't know what to say so I started swimming to raise money for Brainstrust, he was a very special young man, so much energy and zest for life, funny, wise, he's my hero to be honest. 

Leanne: I'm a real beach bum as it is, back in Jan 2021 I signed up for the Winter Warrior Challenge, 30 days of consecutive wild sea swimming - no suit, a skins only challenge! By day 10 I was addicted and already knew I'd be signing up for the 365 Challenge. I got Covid in August and had to restart the challenge after my isolation so I'm actually way over 365 Swims but not consecutively. 

I bet some days when you look out the window, you must think to yourself, 'I might give it a miss today' - what inspires you to take the dip no matter what?

Greg: There have certainly been days where you wouldn't want to go for a swim, when the weather and conditions haven't been ideal, personally winter has been hard for many reasons but the daily swims have given me a purpose to leave the house, to get it done, to connect to nature, and everyday I don't want to swim I remind myself why I'm doing it, this challenge isn't for me, it's for Seth, it's for Brainstrust and for Seas Swim 365 to fund community projects, I'm just the bloke that gets cold everyday. 

Leanne: I'm raising money for the Special Care Baby Unit which saved both my children's life's at birth with their amazing care. So it's a super personal challenge as well as a physical and mental one 🤙🏼🌊 even through the wild weather and freezing air temps there is something about the freedom it brings and it certainly makes you feel alive!