Edinburgh Rugby star Nic Groom reveals how unusual hobby keeps him fit
Wild swimmer loves the freezing cold
Intelligent and with an interesting hinterland beyond rugby, South African scrum-half Nic Groom has certainly been a breath of fresh air since joining Edinburgh in the summer.
His prediction that South Africa would win the recent World Cup, if they lost their opening match to the All Blacks, came good which marked him out as a thoughtful guy worth listening to and this week revealed his passion for wild water swimming.
“I come from Cape Town and I grew up swimming. It’s something I really like. It’s something I try and do wherever I am so I’ve been for a few swims out in Edinburgh and up to Loch Lomond, it’s something I enjoy doing. I’ve been swimming in Portobello and Cramond and up to the Trossachs. I’ve not been over the winter but I’m dying to go.”
Groom said he gets a lot of benefits from his favourite pastime, and values the opportunity to switch off from rugby occasionally.
“I was a swimmer more than a rugby player when I was growing up and being in the water, everything quietens down and the cold and other elements are there.
“There’s a lot of noise vying for our attention and I feel that when you go out and just get into it, it doesn’t have to be long – I can assure you that it’s not long. But just getting in is good for the body. They put horses in the salt water so they can race the next day so there must be something in it.”
Groom admitted that he hadn’t yet tempted any of his team-mates to join him in the icy depths.
“Nobody has joined me yet. There are a few boys I have talked into doing hydrotherapy where we go between hot and cold baths. There is a good crew now doing it. Damien Hoyland is a fan of the cold. Jamie Farndale, Matt Scott likes the hot and cold.
“The theory is the real cold is supposed to clear your mind of everything and that survival instinct will kick in.”
Groom said the swimming had helped him recover from injury in the past. “I can’t scientifically prove it but it is something I enjoy doing it and it a real cleansing thing to do.”
Before he dives back into the sea and lochs, Groom is currently focused on this weekend’s European Challenge Cup return clash with Wasps in Coventry, looking to build on a fine bonus-point 31-20 victory over the English side at home.
“Maybe we saw glimpses of what we can do when we played them which was really encouraging,” said the 29-year-old. “The great thing for us is that we played well and beat a top side. We are playing against a world-class set of players. There is not much you can change in a couple of days. We need to rally together and keep an eye on their superstars and grind it out.
“We are playing but we will take a lot of confidence from last week.
“We have two good training days and are looking at areas where we want to improve on. How do we improve with the ball? How can we be more effective? If we have that frame of mind, we will be in a good position.”