Body Image in Open Water Swimming

Deakin and Blue have just launched a new range of costumes which promise to make women feel amazing. We catch up with Deakin and Blue founder Rosie Cook, to find out a little more about them …

Ask any regular swimmer and they’ll tell you that the swim community and the places they swim (be it a lido, lake or ocean) are some of the most inclusive and friendly on the planet. They’ll assure you that no one ever asks “does my bum look big in this swimsuit” and that no one is looking at you in the water or as you make your way to the pool. 

However, the research suggests that being stripped down to our bathers really is enough to put many women off of taking part in water-based activities. A report by the Times in 2014 reported that 500,000 women had given up swimming in the last 10 years because of body image concerns, and a survey conducted by Everyone Active in 2017 found that 1 in 2 mums had also stopped taking their child to learn to swim for fear of putting on a swimsuit. 

These statistics are stark and frightening and they were motivating enough to convince me to launch my women’s swimwear brand, Deakin and Blue, back in 2017. I set out to establish a brand that created swimwear that women would feel amazing in, whatever their shape or size. 

So how do we do it? How do we make swimwear that women feel amazing in?


Intelligent design is at the heart of making a brilliant product. We think extensively about shape, cut and fit across every piece in our range and about how the cut and fit needs to change over the size range. (We currently design for UK sizes 8-20). We think about shape (everything from leg height to flattering panelling to neckline), choice of fabrics (ultra-stretch to give a Spanx-like effect) and colour palettes (and which colours work across multiple skin tones). The end result? Swimwear that has been thoughtfully designed for a woman’s body.


We know that no two size 10s are the same shape and this matters no where more than it does in swimwear. From the outset we wanted to ensure our designs offered the close fit you would expect from a swimsuit whilst always offering a level of bust support and coverage to suit your particular shape. So we decided to offer three curve sizes for every dress size, so that whether you’re a size 10 with a small bust or a size 10 with a larger bust, you have the level of support and shape required without impacting the design of the piece


We show every product on three different body shapes to help you visualise what that product might look like on your own shape – whether you’re super athletic or more curvy. We work with healthy models who are a range of shapes and sizes from size 10 to size 16 and we never retouch our imagery – where some brands may remove skin blemishes or cellulite or even change the entire shape of a body part we believe this is unhelpful for the end customer (and perpetuates an unhelpful myth about what women’s bodies can and should look like) so we never do it.


Who feels good buying an extra large? Not us. We know that how you feel in your swimwear starts long before you’re stood in the changing room at the pool. We know that our use of language is important because it can uphold insecurities we have about our bodies or it can help remove them. So instead of unhelping sizing language which doesn’t mean much anyway, we have named our three curve sizes after three women with very different body shapes – our (Audrey) Hepburn for AA-B cup busts, our (Marilyn) Monroe for C-E cup busts and (Christina) Hendricks for F-HH cup busts.


We believe we have a responsibility, even as a small brand, to celebrate and showcase body image and body confidence at every age, shape, size and race. So we are delighted to show images of our customers across our social media platforms and actually, we believe they are the best ambassadors for our products anyway – showing them in use in real life scenarios and worn by brilliant women who so clearly feel amazing in them (just look at their beaming faces!). Take a look at our amazing customers @deakinandblue on Instagram or Facebook. 

Rosie Cook Deakin and Blue

The end result? Over 500 women have told us that our swimsuits have changed the way they feel about their bodies and we’re just getting started. Find out more about our mission, our products and our story And if you have any questions about the brand, I’d love to answer them – you can reach me, Rosie, the Founder at

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