In October the 16 swimmers in the BN Swim Team and their supporters set off to Le Havre, France to represent British Naturism at the 47thINF-FNI Swimming Gala.
Swimmers range from age 10 upwards and the races are organised by age group as given in the INF-FNI Sports Rules. There are over 100 races during the event and it is kept on schedule by the INF-FNI Sports Officer and the German Swimming Association officials. The races are divided into four strokes and male/female plus relays. Medals are awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd as usual. It’s a hectic full on day but the atmosphere is friendly and supportive across all nationalities. The taking part is most important, winning is secondary, everyone is clapped and cheered from the youngest to the oldest, the fastest to the slowest. Naturists around the world are a friendly and respectful group of people.
This year BN, the 4th largest team present, came second in the medal table with 18 gold, 11 Silver and 6 Bronze, our best ever result! Well done to everyone on the team.
It’s a sociable occasion and the night before we gathered for dinner and drinks. We shared our hotel with the French and Italian teams. The atmosphere was very warm and friendly, we renewed our acquaintance with swimmers from previous galas as well as making new friends with first timers.
In the evening a Gala Dinner is held where everyone can relax and let their hair down. Speeches are given, thank-yous and gifts exchanged. Music and dancing overcome the language barrier and much fun is had, being in France the champagne and wine flowed freely with much “Entente Cordiale”.
Next year the Gala will be held in Paris on the weekend of 18th to 20th October 2019, in a city centre pool, more details will be released in the coming months. This provides an open invitation for all BN members to affordably visit the French capital. Many new countries are showing an interest in joining us next year at this event which is good for the future of the event and International Naturism in general. “Vive la Famille Naturiste”
If you want to enter this event as a swimmer you must take part in the BN National Gala. This will take place on 27 April 2019. The event is open to BN members and members of BN clubs - keep any eye out on the BN website as details become available. If you don’t want to (or can’t) swim you can come along and support the team, it is always encouraging to have friends and family cheering from the side-lines.
I can guarantee that whether you swim or come along as a supporter you will have an interesting and fun time with other naturists of many nationalities. “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite”
Photo: Jean-Luc Bouland from Naturisme Magazine