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Take part in an open water race

The growing popularity of open water swimming means there are events popping up across the UK. Here are a few ways you can get involved.

Open water swimming events hit the headlines after the International Olympic Committee listed a 10km race as one of the events for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

It was a sign of the growing appetite for open water swimming and since then the sport has grown hugely with lots of events happening around the UK every year.

What is an open water event?

Open water races can take place in any large outdoor body of water, such as seas, lakes, rivers, canals and reservoirs.

It's not just about the swimming either. They often have a great social life around them making them a great day or weekend out.

The distance of each event varies from under 1km to 80km, but at major competitive level the typical distances are 5km, 10km and 25km.

Where can I take part?

There are a growing number of events to take part in each year. Here are some great beginner races:

Great Swim

  • There are a five Great Swims across the UK: Ipswich, Lake District, London, Manchester and Strathclyde in Scotland.
  • The Great Swims are great for beginners as distances start at half a mile (806m) and go up to 2miles (3,219m).
  • Get involved. Go to the Great Swims website for more.

Human Race Open Water Swims

  • There are six Human Race Open Water Swims: Poole, Marlow, Hampton Court, Windsor, and Eton
  • These are good for beginners and poeple seeking a challenge. Distances start at around half an mile (750m) and go up to 6.3miles (10km)
  • There is also a women's only race held at Eton.
  • Get Involved. Go to the Human Race Open Water website for more.

Other races

  • Click here to go to the calendar and view some upcoming Open Water events being held in the UK.
  • You can also contact your regional ASA office and ask them about Open Water races in your area. Find their contact details here.
  • Open water magazine H2O has an online events calendar where you may be able to find an open water race near to you - click here to view it.