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Open Water


Swim England's updated guidance (1 Jun) as lockdown restrictions are eased.

View Swim England return to club open water training document updated Jul 2020.

View key safety advice drawn up by Swim England, British Triathlon and the Royal Life Saving Society UK following the partial lifting of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions on 29 Mar 2021. Covid-19 Guidance to Open Water Swimmers is hosted on the SH2OUT website. Also read Swim England statement on open water swimming published on 11 May 2020.

Listen to the views of Olympian Keri-Anne Payne.

Open water venues are being encouraged to give feedback on an interim document for their safe use.

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

Somerset ASA encourages safe 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 A.N.T. Swimming Club of Somerset 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 has helped organise English Channel crossings. 

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.

Video: Warming Up and Stretching for Open Water Swimming - it can be tough to fully acclimatise to conditions ahead of an open water swim, but there is plenty you can do on land to get yourself ready. Whether you're training or competing, a thorough warm up is essential before getting into the water. In this video, World Championship medallist James Wilby demonstrates some key exercises which should have you well prepared for your next swim.

Swim England TRY Open Water Funding

Applications are open until 5pm on Friday 28 April 2020 for clubs to apply to Swim England for funding to give members the chance to try open water swimming for the first time. View details.
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.

Become an Open Water Coach

Fantastic opportunities in 2020 were planned to include local Blended Learning courses (tutor Robert Moore) commencing
  • 9 May 2020 at Goldenstones Leisure Centre, Yeovil - IoS Course Link
    • Closing Date: 2 May 2020
    • Duration*: Online Learning 15-20 Hours (comm: 9 May & end: 31 May) and Face to Face 2 Days (10am to 6.30pm on 9 May at Goldenstones Leisure Centre and 9am to 5pm on 6 Jun at Vobster Quay)
  • 18 July 2020 at Dauntsey's School, High Street, West Lavington SN10 4HE - IoS Course Link
    • Closing Date: 11 July 2020
    • Duration*: Online Learning 15-20 Hours (comm: 18 Jul & end: 4 Sep) and Face to Face 2 Days (9am to 5pm on both 18 Jul at Dauntsey's School, High Street and 18 Sep at Vobster Quay)

These were cancelled due to Covid-19.


The International Ice Swimming Association GB Championships 2020 were held at Sandford Lido over 22/23 Feb 2020 - a critical event for selection to represent Great Britain in the 2021 IISA World Championship.

The SW Regional and County Open Water Championships 2020 have been cancelled (view announcement). Counties and regions will be consulted to ensure that participation in the Regional Open Water Championships is not affected by the decision on alternative window dates for Counties in 2021. Counties and regions will be consulted to ensure that participation in the Regional Open Water Championships is not affected by this decision.

The SW Regional and County Open Water Championships 2019 originally scheduled to take place at Preston Beach, Weymouth on 6 July were cancelled. Following this announcement of postponement, the Region was subsequently 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

The Open Water National Age Group Championships 2020 originally scheduled to take place at Thrybergh Country Park, Rotherham on Monday, 27 July 2020 have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic (view details).

The Swim England Open Water National Age Group Championships 2019 was held at Thrybergh Country Park 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.

The Open Water Masters National Championships 2020 scheduled to place at Nene Park, Peterborough on Saturday 5 Sept have been cancelled due to Covid-19.

Swim England Open Water National Masters Championships 2019 took place on 1 Sep 2019 at Nene Park, Peterborough. View report. Races were contested over 1.5km and 3km. Most Masters swimmers often enter both distances. Entry was also open to Scottish, Welsh and international swimmers, while you could also sign up for temporary membership to compete. We publishef opportunities to volunteer as Front of House Team Members at the Masters event.

There were opportunities across the UK to officiate at Open Water events in 2019. 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 2020. 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 their events.


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 were 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 always 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.

Open Water Swimming Safety - Protecting Athletes

Click in-video icon and select a particular to view from the playlist of the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) conference, part of its Open Water Swimming Coaches Education Program for pool swimming coaches, triathlete coaches, masters swimming coaches, fitness coaches, endurance sports coaches and multi-sport coaches.

View details of the WOWSA Open Water Swimming Coaches Certification Program.


On 23 Mar 2021, Swim England launched a series of free webinars focusing on outdoor swimming! The sessions will aim to inspire and engage those interested in swimming outdoors or returning to the activity. Find out more information about the series including dates, topics and how to book a place here. The launch of the series was so popular that the webinars sold out in just one day! However, due to the high demand, additional places are now available on all three sessions. There are two topics on offer. The Introduction to Outdoor Swimming will run twice – please don’t book onto both sessions. 

Video: How open water swimming can improve mental health.

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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