Skip to main content Skip to navigation

The Sounds of Swimming

Sound is more important in swimming than you might imagine at first. Even though people often talk about the experience of swimming as one of sensory deprivation, including hearing, when I read through my field notes, I refer constantly to the sounds - the rhythms of swimming, sounds below the water (the hum of a nearby engine, or of pebbles being dragged along the sea floor by the waves), and the sounds above the water (shouts, bird cries, music from cafes, instructions from crew). Most of these are very hard to capture, but I made a start this weekend (7-8 July, 2012) while I was in Devon for the BLDSA Torbay 8 mile event which had to be curtailed and adapted due to appalling conditions. The night before, I recorded the sound of rain drumming on the roof of my camper van, and then on the day of race, I recorded the waves pounding in to the shore and sea wall, and then dragging noisily across the pebbles.

More to follow when I have the chance to record them - please send any good ones that you record and I'll add them in to the site. For example, it would be great to have recordings of the starts of races, or sounds from a Channel boat, or the barking of sea lions (one for the La Jolla swimmers there)....anything that says "swimming" to you. These were done just on my phone, and I'm trying to think about how to do in-water recordings....any suggestions gratefully received.

Quinn swimming

Quinn is the daughter of my friends, Scott and Debbie, who were enormously generous and supportive when I was over in California in 2011 for my Catalina Channel swim. Debbie send me this great recording of Quinn swimming in the UCSB pool. Such a soothing sound.

Quinn also made me this gorgeous swim crate to store my stuff on the Catalina swim... A must-have for any future swims.

swim box