The Seaford Mermaids are a group intrepid all-year round swimmers who regularly take a dip off Tide Mills or Buckle Beach in Seaford.

We spoke to leader of the group, 87 year old Ruth Rose, whose passion for swimming keeps her fit and healthy.

What is the Seaford Mermaids?

We are a group of sea swimmers who swim early every morning at the Seaford Buckle Beach or Tide Mills. Most of us are ladies in our late fifties, sixties and seventies up to the oldest, myself at age 87.

How did the Seaford Mermaids come about?

I have always been an open water swimmer and have never felt the need to stop in winter. I was having my usual swim one morning when a lady came down to the beach and asked if she could join me. It wasn’t long before two dog walkers asked to come along and they quickly got hooked on the thrill of swimming every morning. Soon friends, neighbours, passers-by who noticed us, all came along and joined the group. We started a WhatsApp group, which gave an added social side of celebrating birthdays with cake and eventually Christmas parties and so on! There are now over 110 members.

What do you enjoy most about the group?

Socially it’s wonderful for someone of my age to be involved in leadership of such loyal friends doing something they all love. The health sustaining value of the swimming is also something I delight in. I consider myself to be very fit. I also know that no matter what my older age will be like, these friends will remain firm and supportive friends for the remainder of my life.

Where can the Mermaids be found?

The Mermaids can be found from 7.00am every morning on Seaford Buckle Beach opposite the carpark. When wave conditions make Buckle unsafe, I direct those who are swimming to the safest parts of Tide Mills.

I have extensive knowledge of local tidal movements in varying conditions. I have studied meteorology formally and I have a lot of experience in predicting the type of waves and analysing their effect. Each evening I write and send a detailed weather, wind and sea state forecast for the following day. Being prepared for sea conditions that everyone feels able to cope with is important for safety.

Is Seaford Mermaids open to members?

The group welcomes all who wish to swim regularly in the sea. Some of our members bring their children, some accompanied by their dogs who also swim with us. We welcome members with disabilities and there is always a willing member to help those who need assistance getting in and out if the sea.

We have a core of daily swimmers, most of whom have been swimming for years together. They tend to be the hardiest, always turning up on cold wet mornings, challenging tough wave conditions in storms. These are the ones that generate the essence of comradeship that embraces all those who are less frequent swimmers.

Photo credit: Ruth Rose by Carlotta Luke / 

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