Open Water Swimming Calendar 2024

We have compiled a great list of open water swimming events taking place in 2024. Organised by date order, scroll down to find your perfect race!

Jump to our Open water swimming Calendar below

What are Open Water Swimming Events?

Open Water Swimming events have seen a surge in popularity over recent years. Swimming races are available across the UK and range from half mile swims up to 10k challenges.

With open water races gaining momentum across the world, a large number of people are signing up to take the plunge into open water lakes, canals, rivers and seas. Swimming in places like the English channel is a thoroughly enjoyable experience but is a different ball game altogether as compared to swimming in a pool. Take a look at some of our top tips below

The history of open water swimming dates back to 1896 when the modern Olympic Games’ swimming competition was held in the open water Bay of Zea. Over the years it seemed to fall out of fashion somewhat, but recently there has been somewhat of a resurgence in this sport and more and more people seem to want to try out this exciting sport.

Open Water Swimming UK Calendar

April 2024

26th to 28th – MySwimathon Challenge

Now Until 30th April – Brass Monkey Challenge

May 2024

19th April to 5th May – MySwimathon Challenge

19th – Roadford Lake Swim

25th – Castle Swim Series at Lough Cutra Castle

25th – Swansea Swim

26th – The One on The River

June 2024

1st – The Mass Start Swim Series

1st – Aquasphere Epic Lakes Swim Ullswater

1st – Wild Dart Swim & Aquathlon

7th – Great North Swim

8th – As Keen As Mustard Nene Park SwimRun

8th – Dartmouth Open Water Swim

21st – The Wales Swim

22nd – Castle Swim Series at Cholmondeley Castle

29th – Cardiff Bay Try a Tri Swim

29th – Bournemouth Pier to Pier Swim

30th – English Riviera Swim

30th – Selkie Henley Classic

TBC – Eton Dorney Swim Long June

TBC – Salty Sea Dog Long Swims

TBC – Ellesmere Swim

TBC – Monster Swim

TBC – Staunton Harold Swim Challenge

July 2024

6th – The Big Welsh Swim

7th – Aquasphere Epic Lakes Swim Coniston

13th – The Mass Start Swim Series

13th – The Outdoor Swimmer Henley Swim Festival

27th – Club to Pub

29th – Swim In The Heart Of Snowdonia

TBC – Canary Wharf 1 Mile Swim

TBC – Castle Swim Series at Castle Howard

TBC – Salty Sea Dog Long Swims

TBC – Castle Swim Series at Hever Castle

TBC – The One on The River

TBC – HUUB Outlaw Swim

August 2024

11th – The Thames Marathon Swim

TBC – Cotswolds Lake 62 Swim Event

September 2024

8th – The Big Brutal Swim

TBC – Swim Serpentine

28th – Castle Swim Series at Hever Castle

22nd – Dawlish Swim

22nd – Eton Dorney Swim Long

August 2024

TBC – Salty Sea Dog Long Swims

24th – The Mass Start Swim Series

26th – Scurry Yellowcraig Sea Swim and Run Festival

Getting to know Open Waters

Due to harsh weather, water conditions and lower visibility, wild swimming is considerably more challenging when compared to swimming in a clean, maintained pool. Even the most experienced indoor swimmers can find it tough to transition to swimming in an open sea, lake or river. One key difference is that a swimmer has to rely a lot more on their sight and other senses to swim safely in the open waters. In a normal pool, the water is a fixed length, width and depth and you very quickly become familiar with your surroundings.

With a lake or river, this is not the case – these kinds of things are decided by nature. And because it is beyond our control – the depth, wildlife and other properties of the water can be ever changing. You will need to be aware of where you are to ensure you don’t get lost, and be prepared to deal with the nature around you. The first time you go into a lake, for example, you will have to get used to the temperature of cold water, and possibly underwater plants, fish, rocks and other objects in the water.

The salinity (how salty the water is) of the water can also take some getting used to. Most swimmers will be accomplished at making sure they do not get any chlorinated water in their mouths or nose, but very salty water can be just as bad and you don’t want to cough or splutter in the middle of the sea.

After your first time however, you will quickly learn to love the outdoor freedom that comes with wild swimming. There are many wonderful places where you can enjoy your hobby and appreciate the beauty of your surrounding 

Breathing Technique

There is not a great deal of difference between breathing techniques in open water compared to pools – the main difference comes with combating any waves in the water. Waves, be they coming at you or pushing you forward can cause instability in your swimming and can interrupt your breathing pattern. Again this is just something you will learn to adapt to as you do more and more outdoor swimming. You may find however that it is a little easier to breathe with open water swimming as most people tend to rotate their strokes a bit more and pop their heads up more often to help keep a track of where they are.

Health Benefits

Swimming is a great workout for those who want to keep up a fitness regime, are looking for a new exercise or if you want to shed some extra pounds. Open water swimming is an effective way to build stamina and muscle as swimmers have to overcome tides and unfavourable water conditions – and once you’re out you have to keep going as there is no chance to rest by the side of the pool. Consequently, it improves swimmers’ flexibility, focus, endurance and coordination.

Whilst swimming in pools is generally easier to do, as most towns and cities have at least two or three swimming pools you can visit – there are a lot of upsides to outdoor swimming compared to pools. First is the water quality – indoors you are subjected to chlorinated water. Whilst the chlorine levels are accepted to be safe, it is still a toxic poison put into the water to kill germs -and it also has a nasty effect on your eyes, throat and mouth too. Open water on the other hand is fresh, naturally clean and full of vitamins from the nature around it.

Being outdoors also removes air pollution too – lakes, rivers and seas can be peaceful serene places to relax and enjoy your swim rather than tolerating crowded pools and stuffy air. You will also get to experience a lot more of the place around the water too. Whilst some clubs may make the pool area nice, nothing can beat getting out of the water and seeing green fields or lovely woodland.

Safety Precautions

If you are new to the sport or a seasoned swimmer, you should take note of the following to keep safe whilst wild swimming:

  • If you are swimming in the sea, try to ensure you never swim without the presence of a lifeguard. Lifeguards patrol beaches for days or months and are familiar with the water conditions and terrain and will be able to assist if you get in to trouble.
  • Be aware of the surroundings, including weather conditions, water depth and temperature, presence of other swimmers, lifeguards, boats, warning signs at the beach, etc.
  • Swim with other people you know – if you get caught in a tide you’ll want someone to notice you’re missing!
  • If you are caught in a fast-moving river current, do not panic. Remember to breathe. Roll onto your back and then swim ahead once the current loses its intensity.
  • Wear appropriate gear including goggles and a cap.
  • Try to plan your route – you don’t want to get to the other side of a lake or river and not know how to get back!

Search our site for more of the content you love...

We hope you enjoyed this blog, read more of our swimming guides and advice