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What you need to know about Swimming

Swimming races and open water swimming events generally tend to be between 1—10km in length, however, more challenging swims can be up to 80km long. Swims over 10km are classed as Marathon Swims, These events take place in lakes or in the sea, often with a great atmosphere and a festival vibe. If you’re just starting out, get some practice in a pool first, temperature and choppiness are factors to consider before diving in.

From a quick dip in Dorney lake to mastering the Windermere One Way, we’ve collected some of the best open water swimming races below. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to throw in some other disciplines, you can check out our pages on Swimrun & Triathlon too.

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Whether you're looking to try an open water swim for the first time, or you're searching for the ultimate challenge, the Great East Swim offers you a selection of distances to suit your ability.

The event takes place in Alton Water and is a great day out for swimmers, families and spectators. With farmers' markets, plenty of musical entertainment and swim distances ranging from 250 metres* right up to a 10k, there really is something for everyone!

We hope to see you at one of our open water swims in Suffolk next summer!

Great East Swim

Ipswich, GB
6 races
£15£65
Great East Swim
Official Partner

The 2017 Cholmondeley event attracted over 1500 competitors to the beautiful countryside of Cheshire, offering the quintessential Castle Triathlon Series experience of competitive and fun racing, an epic castle backdrop and a stunning rural location.

All races at the 200-year-old Cholmondeley Castle start by launching into an open-water swim in Deer Park Mere Lake, transitioning on to a bike route that circumnavigates Bickerton Hill, which is the southernmost tip of the Peckforton Hills. There will be one cycle lap for the Super Sprint and two laps for both the Sprint Plus and Olympic distances.

The run passes through the estate grounds, and has one lap for the Super Sprint and two laps for the Sprint Plus and Olympic races. Triathletes will finish their Cholmondeley race experience by sprinting down the main lawn to the finish line with Cholmondeley Castle as a fitting backdrop.

The Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon takes place in the beautiful grounds of Cholmondeley Castle, where the Cholmondeley family have resided since the Norman era of the 12th Century. The estate features extensive parkland covering 500 acres including two lakes, the larger of which, Deer Park Mere, is the setting for the open-water swim section of the triathlon.

To the south of Cholmondeley Castle, Tower Hill is the highest point of the run section, where athletes will be rewarded with panoramic views of the Beeston and Peckforton Hills, which they will have just covered on the undulating bike section, with the Welsh Hills looming in the distance.

Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon

Malpas, GB
3 races
£35£55
Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon
Official Partner

Two great mid-season open water swimming events to see Dinton Pastures Country Park at its best. The race starts at dusk, and swimmers will be lit up with neon swim caps, glow bands and LED balloons as you swim into the wilderness of the night.

Dinton Starlight Swims – July

Hurst, Wokingham, GB
2 races
£20
Dinton Starlight Swims – July
Charity Tickets

We are pleased to announce that the Festival of Endurance will return in 2018, 8th July.

Due to popular demand, the Hever Gauntlet half-iron triathlon will be held bi-annually giving triathletes the option to race alongside the full iron-distance Bastion competitors on 8th July 2018. Whilst these hardy triathletes battle their way around this iconic course, we shall host a further three challenges for those looking for an opportunity to go long.

The Festival of Endurance at Hever Castle

Hever, Kent, GB
1 race
£38
The Festival of Endurance at Hever Castle
Official Partner

The Humdinger Swim is very simple - how many 1km laps can you swim in 6 hours? Take on the challenge as a solo swimmer, or as part of a relay team of 2, 3 or 4 people.

The swim will start at 3 pm and the number of completed laps at the chime of 9 pm will be recorded. Live updates of progress throughout the swim will be on a big screen at lakeside, and of course, there'll be more than just a swim going on!

For Humdinger Day you'll find a real party atmosphere with music playing, great hot & cold food available, party games for spectators and relay swimmers and some fun competitions.

The Humdinger Swim

Reading, GB
1 race
£25£50
The Humdinger Swim
Official Partner

Exciting weekend of racing. The Saturday will host races of separate disciplines: a 10k run, the Mersea Mile swim and a 25 mile cycle time trial. On Sunday athletes will have a choice of a super sprint or standard distance triathlon. You can enter these events individually or register for the whole weekend and become a Weekend Warrior!

Weekend Warriors – Show Your Strengths

Colchester, GB
1 race
£30
Weekend Warriors – Show Your Strengths
Official Partner

The rapturous reception afforded to previous Castle Howard Triathlons subsequently led to the expansion of a 2-day weekend extravaganza.

In its 9th year, the Castle Howard Triathlon will be the 4th weekend event of the 2018 Castle Tri Series and will once again feature the obligatory picture postcard backdrop and a course with something for every level of triathlete. The 13,000 acre grounds of Castle Howard form arguably the most physically demanding triathlon course of the Castle Tri Series.

Race entrants will start the race by swimming through Castle Howards Great Lake before transitioning into the technical bike route through the glorious rural idyll of Yorkshire and the Howardian Hills. The spectacular run leg passes through the undulating countryside of the estate before a sprint finish tops everything off in style right in front of the main doors of the house. Theres never been a better time to visit Gods Own County and Castle Howard.

The construction of Castle Howard took more than 100 years before being finally completed in the 18th Century, and spanned the lifetime of three earls and numerous architects, although Sir John Vanbrugh is credited with the original design. The Great Lake is the setting for the swim section of the triathlon.

Set in the Howardian Hills, the bike legs initially take in the 18th Century Avenue, a main road that runs in a straight line from south to north for five miles. The run will pass The Temple of the Four Winds and one of the finest, free-standing mausoleums in Europe. A hop over New River Bridge, a circumnavigation of South Lake and the Atlas Fountain will take racers to the finishing straight in front of Castle Howard itself.

Castle Howard has been a regular backdrop for films and television, with both ITVs lauded Brideshead Revisited in the early 1980s and the acclaimed 2008 feature film production shot on location here, hence the name of our adult races.

NB All timings are approximate.

Castle Howard Triathlon

Castle Howard, North Yorkshire, GB
3 races
£32£55
Castle Howard Triathlon
Official Partner

Three fantastic open water races on Sunday, 22nd July 2018 at West Reservoir, Hackney, N4 5HA. We're delighted to be teaming up with Fix, who will be at every race with their skilled team - physically fixing you!

The Fix Splash #2

London, GB
3 races
£15£25
The Fix Splash #2
Official Partner

New location, new course, probably the fastest middle distance triathlon in the South East.

Owler Tris offer middle distance plus standard triathlons, aquabikes and OWS.

The triathlons will start in Lydd Lake with a two lapped swim, before competitors ride a flat lapped bike route on scenic country roads through Lydd, Brooklands and Camber, before returning to transition at Lydd lake.

The 21K run section is flat two laps out and back route along paths around lake and surrounding paths. The standard run also follows the same route. You then head to cross the finish line in style.

Also on offer the Owler Aquabike both at half and standard distance.

Owler Tri

Romney Marsh, GB
2 races
£20£25
Owler Tri
Official Partner

Whether you are a novice, experienced open water swimmer or an Olympic athlete, this event is a fun challenge to take on.

We have three different distances for you to pick from 1500m, 2500m or the biggie 5000m.

All distances take place in the Regatta Lake at the National Water Sports Centre, Nottingham.

Any front stroke is permitted in this event, and wetsuits are completely optional We cant promise the water will be warm so we would recommend all beginners, and those who feel the cold, to wear a wetsuit - it will help keep you warm as well as more buoyant in the water. Experienced swimmers can wear any swimwear - even illegal swimskins!

Blueseventy Big Swim Nottingham

Nottingham, GB
3 races
£20£30
Blueseventy Big Swim Nottingham
Official Partner

This is a NEW Marlow Fugitive Open Water Swim! There are 2 distances to choose from this year that will cater for both beginners and experienced swimmers.

River Swim - Consisting of a single lap out and back swim in the River Thames for all the distances with clear markings on the buoys on when to turn. The River has a very calm and steady flow, which makes it the perfect event for anyone looking to take part in their first swim. So get your wetsuit on and get involved!

Fugitive Open Water Swim – Marlow

Marlow, Buckinghamshire, GB
2 races
£18£25
Fugitive Open Water Swim – Marlow
Official Partner

Welcome to the Aqua Sphere Snowman Swim - featuring the Mymbyr Miler and Mymbyr Half Miler!

For 2018, we're offering you the chance to experience an incredible open water swim in the stunning Llynnau Mymbyr, in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park!

A full mile or half mile distance is on offer, so come and experience this unique adventure at Plas y Brenin this Summer.

Aqua Sphere Snowman Swim

Betws-y-Coed, GB
2 races
£26£33
Aqua Sphere Snowman Swim

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