22–23 Mar 2025 278 days to go! #GetOutside

Francesca ‘Chess’ Ridgard

Francesca ‘Chess’ Ridgard is Head of Development and Coaching at NOWCA. After swimming competitively as a teenager, she found open water swimming in her late twenties. Chess’ greatest passions are cold water swimming and distance training and has helped many young and adult swimmers achieve their personal best. Her dream is to make open water swimming safer and more accessible for the community. At NOWCA, she works to promote best practice to ensure those who swim outdoors are equipped with the right tools and education to enjoy their experience safely. Over the past decade, Chess has seen the evolution of this sport and will be sharing her insights to the unprecedented growth in recent years, changing trends and behaviours, as well as the important role that NOWCA plays in delivering safety for venues and swimmers.