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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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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

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

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

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

We are delighted to be part of the Little Haven Regatta and facilitating their Open Water Swim. The event will be part of the Weekends activities being held in this delightful little fishing village.

The swim will be 1500m starting at the slipway, with an out, around the buoys and back effort. All in this picturesque location right in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

The swim will have limited entries of 50 persons and will be ideal for people new to open water swimming. Or those that want a chance to support the regatta or take part in a nice little event!!!

The Little Haven Regatta Swim

Haverfordwest, GB
1 race
£15
The Little Haven Regatta Swim
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
Official Partner

The Swim to the Edge is part of the Solva Edge Festival weekend when the idyllic harbour village, which lies in the middle of the Pembrokeshire coast national park has a celebration of sport, music and arts. The swim itself is one of the most scenic and challenging open water swims in the UK and with two distances available we have something for everyone

Swim to the Edge – Solva Swim

Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, GB
Swim to the Edge – Solva Swim
Official Partner

The Long Reach Swim is now 9km in length, downstream and features one lock.

The River Thames is an iconic landmark stretching from the Gloucestershire countryside, through the Home Counties and the City of London to open out into the Thames Estuary - we'll be using a delightful section between Wallingford & Goring. We're delighted this year to have lengthened the swim slightly, to finish at the stunning Swan at Streatley.

Long Reach Swim

Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxfordshire, GB
Long Reach Swim
Official Partner

The Great Scottish Swim events are now open and with a 250m, half mile, 1 mile, 2 mile, 5k and 10k there's something for all swimming abilities to choose from. There's even an aquathlon event for those looking to take on both land and water.

Great Scottish Swim

Alexandria, GB
5 races
£24£58
Great Scottish Swim
Official Partner

The fourth Wild Dart Swim is moving to September. As with previous years, you can enter the 2.5k or 5k swim, as well as a 7k aquathlon. New this year is a and 15k and 1.5 mile sprint aquathlon, so something to keep swimmers, runners and triathletes happy.

The 5k swim covers an out and back route, starting and finishing at the Dart-Totnes Rowing Club on Steamer Quay. The 2.5k swimmers start at the same place in separate waves (according to your predicted finishing time) but exit as Sharpham. Aquathoners will also exit at Sharpham, then move to a nearby transition area, before running the three miles back to the rowing club, following the cycle path above the Dart.

Swimming alongside the tow path and the reed beds, which line the Sharpham side of the river and the rolling hills on the left, which wind along towards Stoke Gabriel. You will take your first snake bend here, as the river takes a turn towards Sharpham.

You will know youre approaching the half way buoy when you can catch sight of a small pontoon on your right, which is Sharphams North Quay.

The 7k aquathlon includes the 2.5k swim and a hilly 4.5k run along the cycle track from Sharpham House to Moat Hill, turning left at The Steam Packet before crossing the bridge to Bridgetown and turning right in to Steam Quay and the rowing club. The course suits road shoes.

The 15k aquathlon takes runners up the hill from Sharpham Houe and down the road through Ashprington towards Bow Bridge before runners follow the Harbourne River to Beanleigh cross and back to Sharpham and then Totnes via the bicycle tracks.

The sprint aquathlon will precede all the other events and includes an 800 n swim along the River Dart parallel to the walkway,until it reaches its end and the swimmers get out and transition before running a short 1 mile loop around Steamer Quay.

Wild Dart Swim & Aquathlon

Totnes, Devon, GB
2 races
£35£48
Wild Dart Swim & Aquathlon
Charity Tickets

Hever Castle Triathlon has established itself as an essential destination for British and international triathletes and the mainstream media, for its picture postcard venue, elite action, age-group choice and festival atmosphere. Put simply, instant classic doesnt do the Hever Castle Triathlon justice.

The races commence with an open-water swim in the spectacular 38 acre Hever Castle Lake and River Eden, transitioning into the undulating cycle that takes athletes around a circuit through the High Weald of Kent, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and up to the stunning Ashdown forest for the longer distance races. The largely off-road run circumnavigates the estate and award-winning castle grounds before athletes make the dash to the tree-lined finishing chute beside the lake.

Hever Castle Triathlon

Hever, Kent, GB
3 races
£35£50
Hever Castle Triathlon

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