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Open Water

Clevedon Long Swim

Alan Withers (arwithers@aol.com) is Somerset ASA Open Water Secretary.

Laura Nesbitt (laura-cheddarkingfishers@hotmail.com) and Kat Percival (kat.percival@outlook.com) have considerable experience in this discipline and are equally involved in County Open Water Coaching duties. Kat also organises our annual Open Water Championships, Inter County Team and English Channel crossings! 

Somerset ASA encourages participation in Open Water swimming and provides and promotes development opportunities to enable Coaches, competitors and Officials to progress from pool swimming into Open Water events. 


The SW Regional and County Open Water Championships will take place on 7 July 2018. The 2017 event (results) was well supported with 44 of the 199 competitors and five national qualifiers from Somerset.

The Swim England National Open Water Festival returns to Rother Valley Country Park over 29/30 July 2018 for competition incorporating the National Open Water Masters Championships and Team 2km participation event on Sunday, and National Open Water Age Group events on Monday. Pool qualification times remain the same as 2017 but the new distances for 2018 are: 2km for 12 & 13 years; 3km for 14 & 15 years; 5km for 16, 17/18 & 19+ years.

The traditional 1 mile Clevedon Long Swim (from Ladye Bay, under England’s only Grade 1 listed pier to the finish on Clevedon Beach) will take place on 1 July 2018. Entries sold out within 48 hours of opening on 1 Feb 2018 but a waiting list has opened.


A 2 day course will run on 26 May 2018 and 2 June 2018 (venues TBA) with Swim England SW Region to introduce new swimmers aged 12 to 17 years to open water swimming and develop their skills. Almost half the 15 attending the 2017 course were from Somerset.

Within Somerset ASA's 2018/19 Development budget, a funding pot of £2,000 will focus on encouraging more participation in the disciplines of Open Water, Water Polo, Synchronised Swimming and Masters. 


We are keen to recruit officials into this growing element of aquatic sport so you could soon enjoy the benefits of sun, sea and sand whilst judging a swimming event! Provisional training dates are Saturday 26 May 2018 for classroom workshop sessions and Saturday 2 June for practical sessions on beach and boat (venues TBA). Three volunteers from Somerset attended the 2017 course as part of their Level 1 training.


Click for details of two ASA Level 2 Open Water Coaching Courses at Vobster / Trowbridge planned for Mar 2018 and July 2018. Please help to publicise details of events and courses and share within your networks.

Swim England South West are collating a list of Open Water Coaches in the Region. If you are one or have any within your club, please can you email Virginia Hill (swowsec@gmail.com) with names, club and qualification.

Somerset club member Alan Withers is actively involved in the delivery of Open Water events at regional and National level and we retain Brian Bewley, our retired Open Water Coach on the County Emergency Committee.


Excerpt from BBC Countryfile Winter Diaries, February 2017 extolling the benefits of cold water swimming.

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