“The environment is different every time you go in the water,” adds Hope. “It’s never the same.
“In Wales you can be swimming in a lake one day and the next you can choose to be swimming in coastal water. The element of surprise and difference is what makes it so exciting.”
Anna Markall from Caerphilly Triathlon Club was one of those brave enough to test the water at Llandegfedd.
“I do sea swimming as part of my triathlon training. I’ve never swam in a reservoir before, but it was nice to get in there,” she said. “It was freezing!
“I’ve swum in open water for three or four years. It’s been something different and a challenge because swimming hasn’t come easily to me. I’ve had to work at it and still struggle sometimes.
“But I’m 50 this year so it’s been nice to do something new which gives you a good sense of wellbeing. I’ve met lots of new people and there is a sense of community which is great.”
Fellow triathlete Alex Burridge, 33, from Cardiff, says: “I have been open water swimming for a year now on and off. It’s not been long. Covid-19 has had its impact on people getting out and going swimming.
“It’s a great way to enjoy the water. I prefer salt water personally, but there is nothing like open water to reinvigorate the soul. It’s been great for me to get out in the open water.
“The physical and mental health benefits are huge.”
Welsh Triathlon chief executive Beverley Lewis says: “Existing triathletes know how wonderful it is to swim in open water.
“We know some people don’t like the chlorine in a swimming pool and we know some people are scared about swimming off the coast or in salt water.
“Swimming in a lake is something very different and very wonderful.”
Safety, of course, is paramount, which is why Welsh Water have backed SAFE Cymru to meet the demand from people wanting to access lakes and reservoirs as well as coastal waters.
“We have seen a huge increase in the number of people in this sport over the last few years,” says Alun Shurmer of Welsh Water.
“The interest has been phenomenal. People have been staying at home and not going abroad for their holidays.
“They have been looking for other things to do, but if you’re going to do open water swimming then you should do it safely and the best way is through an accredited facility. Then you’ll have the safe knowledge you’ve got life guards around you and everything is in place.”