With fewer people travelling abroad this year, open water swimming has gained popularity in Essex, particularly among women. Photographs by Stefan Rousseau. Written by Sam Russell
An Essex town is experiencing an explosion in popularity of cold water swimming. One Facebook page for people wanting to swim in Leigh-on-Sea, which launched in mid-October, reached almost 650 members within two months as numbers rocketed through lockdown 2. Swimmers say working from home has given people more time to enjoy simple pleasures and the sea allows a moment to step away from normal life in uncertain times.