FERAL FRIEND #9 - DEE NEWELL
My name is Dee Newell I’m from Galway on the west coast of Ireland and grew up swimming around the diving board at blackrock salthill part of the wild atlantic way.
Now I am club safety officer for atlantic masters swim club the biggest sea swimming club on the west coast of Ireland, I live and work on the east coast as a member of the Irish defence forces and spend my spare time swimming in the Irish Sea and encouraging others to join me.
I help people learn about the sea and progress their swimming while promoting safety for the Buoysclub group which evolved from some people wanting to move from daily dipping to being able to swim to the buoy at out swim spot. Buoysclub has lead into a greater challenge with a group now completing the virtual Galway bay swim which is a challenge to complete 13 km over the month of August either solo or with a team, since the Galway bay swim in its usual form had to be cancelled. All of this has replaced my own big swim plan for this year which is also a COVID cancellation but I couldn’t be happier for this outcome and the chance to give back to a group who were so helpful in helping me prepare for swimming the English Channel last year. I had a constant supply of volunteers willing to shore feed or SUP support my training swims before my swim on 04 Aug 2019.
This support group remained in place for the winter as I prepared to swim my first ice Km in Antarctica in February of this year, I was very lucky to get this in before lockdown and safely return home after. This ice km was also a joint first for an Irish female with my swim buddy Kathryn completing it at the same time and is logged on the Antarctica roll of honour with IISA.
Photo - Ian Conroy
I love the sea and environment as a whole I am a climate ambassador here in Ireland so am lucky to learn more about a whole range of topics through this programme and I have recently registered as a clean coasts group, this is a beach clean group in Ireland and we can arrange beach cleans as suits the group or as is needed in the locations where we swim. It is all supported by the local county councils. I have always loved swimming but now I love the platform that swimming has given me to be able to encourage respect for the environment.
As much as I love sharing swimming it is also the only time where I fully disconnect and am at one with myself and the world around me. I love to submerge and swim underwater I always surface feeling like a new woman and this is only greater in the winter months when I’m chasing cold for ice swimming conditions, the best part about that is a few minutes is all you need in winter to get that full reset and it’s an experience that really bonds a group of swimmers as we try to chat through shivery mouths and laugh at how hard it is to hold a cup of tea after. That trust to give yourself up to the people who are there to mind you after longer winter swims is unmatched in any other sport and is the main reason sea swimmers form such deep bonds, 9 times out of 10 we won’t even know each other’s profession or address we only know how we swim and how we can help each other. It’s the simple essentials of friendship, many problems are shared and solved on swims or in the post swim chats, these are the true friends in my life who know the real me.
I mostly use instagram @dee_from_the_sea and have a website www.deefromthesea.com and some of my igtv’s and a little about me video a friend made are also on YouTube my name is Dee Newell there.
*main photo credit - Niall Meehan (@niall_verso and @seastudio.ie on instagram)
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