Rob Fryer - Author and Wild Swimming Legend

wild-swimmer-rob-fryerRob Fryer learned to swim in the River Cherwell while at school in Oxford. He moved to Warminster, Wilts in 1965, and soon started swimming at the Farleigh & District Swimming Club in the River Frome near Trowbridge.

A busy family life with five children followed and soon he was introducing them to the delights of river swiming. He became Chairman of Farleigh, in the dark days when wild swimmers were commonly regarded as lifestyle heretics. Then Roger Deakin visited and in 1999 he published Waterlog, which began to turn the tables on the Healthy & Safety zealots. Rob realised there was a need for a directory of swimming locations and soon began his twenty year mission to record and index The UK & Europe's wild swimming locations. 2,000 Wild Swims is the end result.

He ran a printing business in Warminster for 44 years and is a Town Councillor in  Warminster.

In 2003, together with Yacov Lev he founded RALSA, the River & Lake Swimming Association, in order to campaign for access rights on behalf of wild swimmers. With contacts from both Farleigh & RALSA, Rob found himself in an ideal position to pick up leads to swimming locations. When out of the water, Rob spends much of his time campaigning on behalf of wild swimmers. He enjoys meeting fellow swimmers on the river bank, hence his interest in popular venues.

At 84 years of age, Rob is now a summer swimmer, so you will not see him breaking the ice unless he is skating, which he considers the best UK winter sport, certainly in cold winters. (Yes, there still is wild skating in Wiltshire, but not every year.) He prefers traditional swimming sites and looks for ones that are used today or were used in the past. He shuns competitive swimming mainly because he is simply not good enough. He considers the beauty of a site, as well as the swim.


As Rob has spent the last 20 years researching wild swimming venues, he is considered a world expert on wild swimming and wild swims. He has appeared frequently on national radio and national & international TV. Recently he was a speaker at the Buxton Adventure Festival. He typically delivers a talk entitled "Wild Swimming, a very British phenomenon" for audiences of any size. He is Chairman of the Farleigh & District Swimming Club (the only public river swimming club in the World) and the River & Lake Swimming Association. However he is a rebel at heart and presents a lively interactive show. Do not expect a monopolistic book plug. Rob insists on mentioning competitor books, as he is more interested in the overall recognition of wild swimming. Ring +44 (0) 7753 821520. or email 2000wildswims [at]

A SAD NOTE: On 25 September 2023 Rob Fryer sadly passed away at Salisbury Hospital at the age of 84. His son William and daughter Katey will be continuing the publication of 2000 wild swims in his memory.

Why is it called wild swimming?

The term "Wild Swimming" was first coined by Roger Deakin to refer to swimming in rivers and lakes, because it was considered beyond the pale by health & safety zealots. Today the term also encompasses sea swimming. Abroad there are many who wonder what it means."Isn't it just swimming?" they say. Well yes it is. However the word "wild" has tended to focus people's minds on ever more remote and wilder locations.

Outdoor swimming or wild swimming refers to rivers, lakes and the sea.

Open water swimming is similar but generally refers to use by competitive endurance swimmers. It's more serious swimming.

Rob is now writing "Tragic Tales from Warminster". This is a local history of all the local tragedies, together with maps, to help you explore the countryside around Warminster. Expected to be published in autumn 2020

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