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Open Water Swimming FAQ

These are some of the most commonly asked questions about our events. Remember, the only silly question is the one you didn't ask!

  1. I've registered, what now?
  2. Do I need to wear a wetsuit?
  3. I've never swum in open water before; can I enter a Open Water Series swim?
  4. How old do I have to be?
  5. Where do I train for this event?
  6. Can you help me train for this event?
  7. Blue Green algae, what are the risks and dangers?
  8. What happens if I get tired, or I’m struggling in the water and need assistance?
  9. What happens if the swim is cancelled?
  10. I’ve entered a swim but I can’t do it now, can I have a refund? Or can my friend take my place?
  11. Can a swimmer with a disability take part?
  12. Can I wear fancy dress?
  13. I’ve heard the rumours about the giant carp at Dorney and the monster at Marlow, what lies beneath?

I've registered, what now?
You will have received a confirmation email acknowledging your entry into the event, if you haven’t then contact the swim team: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We will send event correspondence from a different email address, Please add This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to your safe list to assure any communication doesn’t get caught up in your spam filters or junk mail.

All other communications will be sent by email; race info, latest news and anything we think appropriate will be sent to your email account, it will also be displayed on the race pages.

Please make sure we have the correct email address.

Do I need to wear a wetsuit?
blueseventyThe organisers (Human Race) have always strongly advised the use of wetsuits for safety reasons.

However, swimmers will have the option to wear a wetsuit or not.

Check out the Human Race Wetsuit Shop for the hire and sale of brand new blueseventy Sprint wetsuits.

I've never swum in open water before; can I enter a Open Water Series swim?
Of course, this series of events was created to provide a platform for any ability of swimmer to take to the open water. Several distances and environments are available, 500m, 750m, 1000m, 1500m, 3km, 2.25miles, 5km and 10km in some of the UK’s most stunning stretches of river, sea and lake.

Most people swimming this year will be taking to the open water for the first time, so don’t worry you won’t be alone… and remember there’s plenty of info on this site to get you prepared.

How old do I have to be?

Swim Age Table

Why not take a look at Human Race's children’s events, they have something for all ages.

Where do I train for this event?
Before training in the open water make sure you’ve read our safety tips.

Public Health England have produced a document on healthy open water swimming. The PDF can be downloaded HERE

Once you fully understand the inherent risks and dangers associated with outdoor swimming, its time to take to the open water and have fun…

Our friends at the outdoor swimming society have a great interactive map of the UK so you can find your nearest spot.

Can you help me train for this event?
Yes we can, our training partner RG Active have some great free swim fact sheets.

Blue Green algae, what are the risks and dangers?
There has been a lot of press regarding Blue-green algae at open water swimming events, the algae is just one of a number of algal species that live in our inland waters. When conditions are right for example in the summer months they have a habit of rapid growth which can cause blooms across large areas.

Whilst there have been NO reports of long term illness or death, the toxins the algae produces can be toxic and can cause sickness.

What happens if I get tired, or I’m struggling in the water and need assistance?
At all our events we stick to our own key principles in water safety;

Water safety kayaks at regular intervals,
Motor boat assistance with trained life guards,
Ample and Experienced medical cover on standby,
Ability to track swimmers movements in and out of the water,
Strict rules on water temperature and wet suit use.

This means you’re never out of sight and our rescue team will be on hand to assist should the need arise.

What happens if the swim is cancelled?
While the organisers (Human Race) have done their utmost to choose locations and venues to prevent the issue that often cause postponement or cancellation in open water swimming events, the very nature of open water swimming does mean cancellation may ensue due to unforeseen weather or unsuitable water conditions. Human Race reserves the right to alter the date and start time of the event.

In the event of a change of date or start time the participants will be notified of the change with as much notice as reasonably practicable. No refund in full or in part shall be made for any change in date or start time for an event.

If such a situation arises we will contact you directly by email in the days leading up to the event, please make sure your email address is correct at the time of entry. Public announcements will also be made on the website, Facebook and via the media (local and national newspapers and local radio).

I’ve entered a swim but I can’t do it now, can I have a refund? Or can my friend take my place?
Please take a look at our withdrawals policy.

We do not offer transfers between people, this is for the safety of the participant. The swimmer who entered online must register in person prior to their swim wave taking place, our team will perform an ID check, if the ID check fails then you will not be able to swim.

Can a swimmer with a disability take part?
Due to safety reasons at both entry and exit points at each of our swim venues not all swimmers can take part.

This will be assessed on an individual basis. If you have any concerns regarding this or any part of the course, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Can I wear fancy dress?
Any item of clothing/garment that impedes your ability to swim or may cause harm to others is not allowed. However please drop an email with a photo of your planned costume to our team and we will make the call: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I’ve heard the rumours about the giant carp at Dorney and the monster at Marlow, what lies beneath?
While we couldn’t possibly comment on the urban myths of some of our swim venues, our water teams check for the submerged and our very own swimming stig takes to the water throughout the year to check the venues for their suitability.

If it’s a fear of the murky water that concerns you, worry not you are not alone…check out our training tips page for more on how to conquer such fears.

You are here: Home FAQ Open Water Swimming FAQ

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