Stroud's Cold Water Swimmers

When you think 'movies' and 'wild swimming' what comes to mind? Stand By Me? Think again.

Cold Water Swimming comes to the Marshall Rooms Wednesday 7 March. Curator Sara Tibbetts and filmmaker Jimmy Edmonds tell us of the personal stories presented in these unique films, and the appeal of plunging into a freezing lake. Sara explains how this niche genre came to Stroud Film Festival:

The films we have selected all tell deeply personal stories and each film is stylistically very different. The subject lends itself to some exquisite cinematography and the motivation of these swimmers is really absorbing. Whether you are a swimmer or not these films offer some fascinating insights into what makes us tick.

The films connect challenge, risk, therapy and a quest for purpose, as well as a practice which has a very long tradition, here and around the world.

Johanna Under The Ice

Johanna Under The Ice

Johanna Under The Ice is visually stunning, hard to believe how they made it in such challenging conditions. 

Afterglow is another beautiful short film in which the protagonist talks of the 'abyss of nothingness that gives her clarity of thought'.

Hannah Maia in  My Big White Thighs & Me

Hannah Maia in My Big White Thighs & Me


My Big White Thighs & Me is wonderfully quirky and tells a moving and unfolding story.

There will be short talks from a couple of experienced cold water swimmers and an update on the progress of plans for Stroud’s very own Lido, which was built for cold water swimming in the 1930s.


And award-winning local film maker Jimmy Edmonds presents a new film and shares his passion for wild swimming. Since the loss of his son Josh, swimming is where he feels most at peace.

"Swimming has become an essential part of the way I grieve for Josh. It connects me to him in ways that I have found to be both surprising and rewarding.

When I get into the rhythm of my swim I can achieve a kind of serenity – there’s a peace here, where alone in this watery world I feel I am as close to death as I dare go and as close to Josh as I’ll ever be while I still do breathe."


Cold Water Swimming - The Marshall Rooms - Wednesday 7 March 7.30pm

Andy Freedman