OSS Swimmers Profiles

As we continue our partnership with The OSS we are now going to bring you updates and profiles of real swimmers participating in SWIM COUCH TO 5K. These are people with a real passion for outdoor swimming. Be inspired by these swimmers and start your own swim journey! And remember there is still time to join SWIMCOUCHTO5K.





Name; Simon Kerslake

Swim Locations; Parliament Hill Lido, Hampstead Ponds, The Serpentine and lakes in and around London - Shepperton, Denham Waterski Club, West Reservoir, Merchant Taylors, Leybourne. The sea when I can!


Simon Open Water SwimSimon Open Water Swim


Follow Simon on social; Instagram - @mrosssecretary and @phvi_channelswim2021

About the swimmer; I volunteer for The OSS (Club Secretary),  live in central London (NW2) but don't have the luxury of having rivers or the coast nearby, so mainly rely on the beautiful Parliament Hill Lido and lakes near to me.  I want to do the training plan as I've got a Channel Relay coming up in July '21 with friends - The Parliament Hill VI (@phvi_channelswim2021). I've used The OSS Dart 10K training plan in the past in preparation for  The Dart 10k swim event and it's great to have a structure mapped out with increasing targets to aim for. 

Committment; I HAVE to commit to 12 weeks - the channel isn't going away and the boat and crew are booked!



Name; Sue Brown

Swim Locations; Bignall End (Newcastle-under-Lyme)


Sue Brown - Outdoor Swimming SocietySue Brown - Outdoor Swimming Society


Follow Sue on social; Staffordshire Swooshers facebook group last year and the Potteries Divers facebook page in the years prior to that (I'm an admin for both). However, here are my personal profiles:
o https://www.facebook.com/ShuebyDoo
o https://twitter.com/Sueby_Doo
o https://www.instagram.com/sueby_doo/

About the swimmer; I've been swimming (dipping all the way through the winter 2-4 times a week) but what I really love is river trekking. (Towing all my kit with me). This year I've been talking about improving my swimming technique and efficiency so rather than just drifting down the river I can actually swim it and also hopefully cover some longer distances (we have plans for some camp swims along the Severn & Wye. I'd also like to set myself a couple of challenges such as some of the lake district swims and ultimately the Humber swim (but there is no way I am fit enough or efficient enough for that this year - maybe next year for that one). At present I can heads down for about 30 - 40 minutes before I get too tired (and that's with 2 or 3 couple of minute breaks of breast stroke inbetween). I haven't had any swimming lessons since I was about 12 so I'm pretty sure my stroke needs some improvement.
Commitment - I'm already swimming 3 times a week in early mornings (15-20 mins skins) and happy to change some of that to training rather than just admiring the view. (And I'm pretty sure my swim buddy would probably follow the same journey with me even if he wasn't officially on the programme). Even though I have been swimming over the last year much of that has been swooshing, chatting and eating cake! I'd like to shift the gear a bit into something a bit more endurance related (but not interested in competition).
What does it mean to me? - As I already mentioned my favourite swimming is river trekking. Swimming down a river, partly heads down, partly hubs, enjoying the scenery and wildlife from an entirely different perspective feels like a real mini adventure. I've also really loved swimming all through the winter and everyday seeing changes in the seasons and the temperature. Although I've always hung out around water I only really started regular swimming last year after we went into lockdown. Prior to that my 3.5 hour daily commute precluded much exercise at all during the week. But since it looks like I will be working from home even after the return to offices I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can continue to enjoy this new routine and challenge myself a little more each year that goes by. I should also mention I love the community of Open Water Swimming and I've never really come across anything quite so inclusive except perhaps for parkrun and this programme feels like it could open doors to a parkswim in a very similar way.



Name; Sian Ryan

Swim Locations; I live in Ely, Cambridgeshire and regularly swim in the Cam, the Lark and the Ouse locally.


Sian RyanSian Ryan


Follow Sue on social; I have various FB pages for my businesses and privately. Business is @developingdogs on FB, Insta, and Twitter. Privately I have @pupstory on Insta, and @sianryan on twitter. All my social media mentions my love of open water swimming at various times. I was involved in a BBC2 TV show a few years ago which is currently being repeated on Saturday mornings (Me and My Dog) and that showcases dogs and owners swimming together as part of the challenges we set them.

About the swimmer; I am a relatively inexperienced swimmer - until 2 years ago I was a heads up breastroker who only swam on beach holidays (and those were very rare) but I have always loved water and done water-based sports (rowing, SUP). I had a fear of getting my face wet and decided to get swimming lessons to learn front crawl and get over my fears. I had weekly swimming lessons and decided I wanted a new challenge - open water. I entered the Henley Classic swim for 2020 - so I could finally race the Henley Regatta course (something I hadn't achieved as a rower) - and got in to open water for the first time in my wetsuit in August 2019. I continued to swim open water that winter - although I did lose the wetsuit from December onwards. Covid hit and I resorted to getting in to the large ponds we have in our fields at one point last spring. Once we were allowed to swim again I spent the summer swimming locally in the rivers and trying to increase my distance / stamina - getting to 2k maximum. I still have the Henley Classic challenge to do - although it looks like it won't be this year as the Regatta has been moved / cancelled.
Commitment -Over this winter my lack of speed / confidence over distances has restricted my swimming. I have completed the Arctic Polar Bear challenge - swimming 2-3 times a week without neoprene since November and have completed around 22 000m in that time. I have no doubts I can commit to the programme for 12 weeks as it is exactly what I have been looking for as we come out of lockdown. Swimming is built in to my weekly routine and I am happy to go back to using a wetsuit in open water if that is needed.
What does it mean to me? -Swimming keeps me sane, it provides me with time and stillness, where I am only focusing on myself, my breathing, my stroke. It gives me a physical challenge that I can meet, and allows me to overcome mental and physical limitations. It has introduced me to so many lovely fellow swimmers, people I would never have met, and given me glorious memories and wonderful experiences. I cannot imagine not swimming now.



Name; Naomhán O’Connor

Swim Locations; Bangor and Donaghadee, Northern Ireland




Follow Naomhán on social; Instagram at @naomhanoc

About the swimmer; I’m a relatively experienced indoor swimmer, having swum competitively since I was 7 until I left school. However, I only got into open water swimming last summer, during the first lockdown. I swam my first long distance swim (4k) from Bangor to Helen’s Bay in September and travelled around Northern Ireland with the Brompton Belles and Beaus Dippers (my OWS group) when lockdown restrictions allowed it, swimming in locations where Victorian baths once existed. I became addicted to swimming in the sea and took on the Arctic Polar Bear Challenge this winter, swimming 15k over 5 months, which definitely pushed my cold tolerance to the limits!
Commitment -I’m excited for the couch swim to 5k training as I’d like to push myself to swim faster and over longer distances. I already train 3 times a week using a similar programme to the land training, and swim 1-2 times a week, so I’m going to aim for more swims, and hopefully the water will warm up enough to start properly into the water training really soon! 
What does it mean to me? -Open water swimming, in particular swimming in the sea, gives me an incredible sense of freedom. I feel so happy when I swim in the sea, and nothing else seems to matter. The craic we have after we get out of the water is half the fun too, drinking from our shaking coffee cups and eating cake and biscuits. I love it all!