Tours for the Swimming-Obsessed – The New York Times

Miriam Leitko, a lifelong swimmer, built a lap pool at her home in Willis, Texas, after the pool was closed and she couldn’t swim during the pandemic. As soon as her travel restrictions are lifted in 2021, she signed up for a week-long trip to Hawaii. swimming vacationis a Maine-based tour operator that specializes in open water swimming.

“Open water swimming is energizing,” said Reitko, 64, who has taken 12 trips with the company. She said her tour allows her to leave her stress “literally at sea.”

Summer vacations often consist of fun shelling lakes and splashing in the ocean. In contrast, these tours revolve around planned swimming trips, such as diving among sea lions in the Galapagos Islands, swimming from island to island in the Adriatic Sea, and gliding over coral reefs in the Caribbean. are assembling.

“There’s nothing that makes you feel smaller than when you’re in the ocean, and it has a transformative effect,” said Hopper McDonough, founder and partner of SwimVacations. SwimVacation does most of its travel on yachts in Turkey and elsewhere. Departure is September 2024 ($6,995 for one week).

“We sold out two years ago after the pandemic,” he said.

Whether participants seek change, pursue passions that have been hampered by the impact of COVID-19, or revenge tripthe swim tour operator says it is experiencing a wave of growth.

UK based company swim trekwas founded in 2003 to connect the explosion to the pandemic-driven outdoor movement.

Nearly a third of SwimTrek’s customers are from the US (and growing), and the company added vacations in Hawaii and Oregon (5 days in Oregon) Cascade Lakes $2,600), as well as travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

“When you swim in open water, the sea conditions, the tides, the wildlife, everything is a different experience,” says Simon Muhley, founder of Swimtrek. “That’s the beauty and the unpredictability.”

Strel Swimming AdventuresFounded by marathon swimmer Martin Strell and his son Bolt, who hold the Guinness World Record for the longest swim of 5,268 kilometers, the organization will explore new waterways in Mexico, including the Sea of ​​Cortez (a seven-day trip in October and November). It is a popular destination. from $1,990). The company also offers tours to Greece, Slovenia and Turkey.

active englandThe British adventure operator has seen “exponential” growth in swim tours since travel resumed, according to company founder Will Cairns. That trip includes four days in Devon from June to September, costs £759 (about $984), swims in the ocean, swims in estuaries and two miles in Dartmoor National Park. After walking, enter the natural pools of the Dart River.

“What we call ‘advanced swimmers’ are people who measure their swim in kilometers,” Cairns said. “But most people love water.”

Most travel companies divide swimmers into subgroups based on speed, claiming to take everyone from former Olympians to dippers interested in swimming 2-5 kilometers a day. (Open water swimming is usually expressed in the metric system).

Not all new swim tours are hardcore. Bluetits Chill Swimmersa group dedicated to wild swimming (a common British term for swimming in natural waters) recently partnered with a travel agency to offer swimming trips to places such as: IcelandThe five-day package includes bathing in hot springs, oceans, and cracks in the rift of the plate (the £2,265 fall trip sold out quickly after it was announced this spring).

“Swimming with a group of like-minded people who don’t want to marathon swim is a great and fun opportunity,” said Sian Richardson, who founded the group, which celebrates participation rather than competition. Currently, there are over 120,000 members.of community group From Copenhagen to the Great Lakes.

better adventure Multisport tours offer wild swimming. Tours also include hiking and biking. canadian rockies (from $2,103 for 10 days), canary islands (from $1,166 for 6 days) and Dominica (From $2,375 for 9 days).

“We don’t think all wild swimming should be about speed, tow floats and plush neoprene,” Much Better Adventures co-founder Sam Bruce said in an email. I am writing. “Rather, just being in the water in the wild is enough.”

Whatever the difficulty of the tour, safety is the selling point. Most operators dispatch boats to escort people swimming in the open sea, choosing locations to avoid dangerous currents, high winds and boat traffic. I also travel to places where it is difficult to swim alone.

“Someone else has planned for you,” said founder Kate Liu. outdoor swimming association, traveled with SwimTrek, a British volunteer group that promotes outdoor swimming. “It takes a lot of knowledge and local connections,” she said, when running a few kilometers in her first place.

And it has at least one side benefit. “People sleep very well,” said Active England’s Cairns. “It’s exhausting to swim two or three times a day.”

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