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Open Water

Video: Clevedon Long Swim 2018 from Lady Bay to the Pier.

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. 

Our new Somerset ASA Open Water Secretary, Nicky Taylor, is currently developing Open Water swimming through ANT Swimming and is keen to promote the sport within the County and beyond.  The Club caters for athletes from all areas and trains 3 open water venues. Nicky is also a member of Street & District who have been involved with Open Water Swimming.

Kat Percival also has considerable experience in this discipline and is involved in County Open Water Coaching duties. She helps organise our annual Open Water Championships, Inter County Team and English Channel crossings. View her Contact Details.

Open Water Clubs

All clubs that run Open Water as a discipline or as a stand-alone Open Water club need to ensure that this is reflected in their current constitution and that they are registered with Swim England as an Open Water club / having an Open Water section. Read more.

Become a Swim England Level 2 Open Water Swimming Coach

In June 2019, Swim England launched a new Level 2 Coaching Open Water Swimming qualification .

Replacing the Level 2 Award in British Open Water Swimming, the qualification has been designed to provide learners with the specialist knowledge needed to deliver open water swimming sessions. It has been developed to meet the needs of today’s open water coaches and swimmers, as the sport’s popularity continues to grow.

Opan Water Coach course poster

View details.


The SW Regional and County Open Water Championships originally scheduled to take place at Preston Beach, Weymouth on 6 July 2019 have been cancelled. Following this announcement of postponement, the Region has since been unable to reschedule the event for 2019. View notice of cancellation. Swimmers from Somerset Clubs were given the opportunity to enter the Midlands Open Water Festival at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham on 7 July 2019 in their quest for qualification for open water nationals. View results.

View results of the 2018 South West Open Water Championships. 

Open water race practice

Swim England announced an alternative venue - Thrybergh Country Park - for Swim England Open Water National Age Group Championships 2019 on 5 August 2019 after the lakes at Rother Valley Country Park had been closed due to the discovery of blue-green algae. The Championships contained races over three distances; 2km, 3km and 5km. Age groups 12 and 13 yrs competed over 2km, 14 and 15 yrs competed over 3km, while 16, 17/18 and 19+ yrs completed the 5km course. View results. We also published opportunities to volunteer as Front of House Team Members at the Age Group event.

Swim England Open Water National Masters Championships 2019 will take place on Sunday 1 September 2019, Nene Park, Peterborough. The event has races contested over 1.5km and 3km. Most Masters swimmers often enter both distances. Entry is also open to Scottish, Welsh and international swimmers, while you can also sign up for temporary membership to compete. View opportunity to volunteer as Front of House Team Members at the Masters event.

There are opportunities across the UK to officiate at Open Water events. View details.

The traditional 1 mile Clevedon Long Swim (from Ladye Bay, under England’s only Grade 1 listed pier to the finish on Clevedon Beach) took place on 3 August 2019. View results. Entries sold out within 48 hours of opening on 1 Feb 2018. Entries for the 2019 Long Swim were full by 11 December 2018. 



Video: Profile on two-time 10km open water world champion, and an Olympic silver medallist Keri-Anne Payne (now Keri-Anne Carry) recorded when she was a 2012 Olympic hopeful. Taking part in the 10k open water swim, Keri-Anne found herself in possibly one of the most gruelling events in the Games. This film by Myles Desenberg is a story about her journey, aspirations, triumphs and dedication.

For those of you looking to get in to open water swimming or to improve on your swimming we advertised coaching workshops being held at Vobster on 8 September 2018. View details.

We also promoted a 2 day course (26 May 2018 and 2 June 2018) 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 2019/20 Development budget, a funding pot of £2,500 will focus on encouraging more participation in the disciplines of Open Water, Water Polo, Synchronised Swimming and Masters. 


Video filmed and edited by Colin Hill: Sid Cassidy (USA) explains a few of the rules of the FINA Marathon Swimming World Series races.

Officials neededWe 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! Please register your interest in training to be an open water official which involves a classroom workshop and practical sessions on beach and boat so that we can organise dates and venues for 2019. Three volunteers from Somerset attended the 2017 course as part of their Level 1 training.

We published opportunities to officiate at Open Water Swimming Events in the UK in 2019. Please contact the event coordinators direct to register your interest in assisting at an event.


View new Open Water Coaching Guidance from Swim England for Clubs and Coaches (Jun 2019). Remember coaches: if you do not have a suitable qualification, IOS membership insurance will not cover you for regular open water coaching activities.

Swim England Open Water Awards are available for ages 8 plus and provide opportunities for teachers and coaches to add variety to their pool sessions, help assess skills and provide structure for induction.

Download resources.

There are two blended British Level 2 Open Water Swimming Coach courses in the South West in 2019. View details.

Your help in sharing details of events and courses within your club and networks is appreciated.

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.


Download Triathlon England's 'Organised Open Water Swimming' resource developed with guidance from the Amateur Swimming Association to establish and develop safer venues to support mass participation.


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

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