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    First Published: August 2005
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.
Northern Ireland's first gay swimming group has just started and the first meeting was on Wednesday (19th February) in Belfast.
The group's going to meet every Wednesday evening at the Olympia Leisure Centre and every Saturday lunchtime at the Robinson Centre. All gay, bisexual and friendly lads are welcome to join regardless of ability and age. It is, however, strictly not intended to be a forum for gay cruising.
Both paddlers and pros are encouraged to join SplashOut.
The group has already started forging links with similar groups across Europe including as Manchester's Northern Wave Swimming Club, Gswim Dublin, Out to Swim London and the Nat Utrecht group in the Netherlands.

Andrew Muir started SplashOut and says "After initial fears the group would only attract one or two members, membership is now growing on a hourly basis. Support has also been flooding in from similar groups across Europe. It certainly seems that Belfast is willing to take the plunge!"

Trevor Burchick from Manchester's Northern Wave Swimming Club says "This is fantastic news! Northern Wave wishes Andrew and his new swimming team every success for the future, and we stand ready to share ideas and offer any support we can to support this exciting new club. Let's hope it's the first of many more gay sports groups across the UK and Ireland. Europride, Eurogames, Gay Games, let's do them all! I look forward to seeing you all in Manchester for Europride".

You can find out more about the city by checking out our OutGoing guide to Belfast.

Swimming is a great way to tone up and trim down, because to swim you need to move your body against the resistance of the water. Just to go a few lengths can involve most of the major muscles, giving your body a great tone up. If you crank up the pace you get a brilliant aerobic workout that's easy on the joints!

If you're a convert already, you will also know how alive you feel in the water and how relaxed you feel when you get out. As you glide along, the water seems to massage your muscles and clear your mind. Even after a vigorous workout, you feel refreshed and relaxed.

It's recommended that beginners swim 12-20 minutes, building endurance with time. As you progress, you'll be able to swim farther and faster at each workout, and the efficiency of your strokes will improve. Intermediate swimmers should swim 20-50 minutes and advanced swimmers 30-90 minutes.

The freestyle, or crawl, is the most efficient and strenuous stroke. A 150 pound person burns about 8.5 calories a minute swimming freestyle.

If you tire, switch to a less strenuous stroke, such as the sidestroke or breaststroke, or swim a few laps with a kickboard. Swimming in sets - 4 laps freestyle, 4 laps breaststroke, 4 laps backstroke, for example - will make your workout more interesting and will exercise more muscles.

Because swimming along with the chlorine used by most pools makes you skin dry, always remember to bring some moisturising soap for the shower afterwards plus a healthy snack to satisfy the inevitable post swim hunger.

 

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