Peigh Asante is one of the co-founders of Swim Dem Crew – an inner-city swim club, which believes in the power of community. He describes how the club in London has grown ahead of his two-mile distance at Swim Serpentine.
Can you tell us the story of how/when/why Swim Dem Crew started?
“Swim Dem started 10 years ago in the autumn of 2013. It started as a group of three friends regularly swimming together, week in and week out. Our peers could see what we were doing and wanted to join us. Fast forward 10 years and we have an amazing global community.”
Where and when do you swim together?
“We currently swim once a week at London Fields Lido.”
How has the group grown?
“On our first ‘official’ session we were joined by six others, which made nine in total including myself, Emily and Nathaniel [Cole]. Now it’s a bit of a revolving door, and we have close to 70 members.”
As a swimming crew, how have you encouraged people to take up swimming in general and open water swimming? What have some of your biggest achievements been?
“We have taken a young adult on a journey from non-swimmer, to swimmer, to then eventually getting their swim teaching qualifications. Seeing their journey has honestly been one of the most rewarding feelings to date.”
Can you tell us about the social/community aspect to your club?
“Fostering a community is more than just instructing people on how to swim. You really have to get to know your tribe outside of the pool, and that’s something we pride ourselves on.”
What are some of the barriers to swimming that you have seen?
“I think barriers to entry are case-specific – it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. We have definitely encountered some barriers along the way, but thankfully they are all behind us now.”
What inspired you to take on 2023 Swim Serpentine?
“It’s an event we’ve done in previous years and enjoyed it each time we’ve taken part. This time around we’re taking on the two-mile distance in preparation for a 5K swim we’re doing the following weekend.”
What are you most looking forward to about Swim Serpentine?
“The support from the people of our city.”
What would you say to someone considering trying open-water swimming?
“Just give it a go. As someone who taught themselves to swim as an adult, I can honestly say that the best thing I did was to just start!”
What benefits do you feel when wild swimming? How would you describe it?
“If I were to describe wild swimming in one word, then that would be, Adventure. We can all benefit from a little bit of adventure.”
Has anything surprised you about wild swimming?
“No surprises here, it was everything I expected it to be.”
Anything else you’d like to add?
“We have lots of exciting things coming in the pipeline – so keep your eyes and ears peeled. Check us out on social media @swimdemcrew.”