Swum in the style of a ‘cyclo-sportive’, this event is aimed at swimmers who would like to include a serious long distance challenge in their summer open water swimming season. It’s not a race, but an opportunity for you to test yourself and take in the stunning scenery at the same time. The swim is organised into a group format, with teamwork making this a fun and satisfying event with a difference.
And don’t forget it’s with the stream, which makes progress a ‘little’ easier.
Where does the swim start and finish?
- It starts at the Leander club in Henley and finishes at Marlow rowing club in Marlow.
Where should I park for the event?
The official car parking will be in Henley, at Swiss farm. From here you will take the short walk to the start venue at Leander club. Once you have finished your swim and had some food, we will provide coaches to take you back from Marlow to Henley at the end of the day.
Is there other parking in Henley?
Yes, there are plenty of public car parks in Henley and they are free on Sundays.
How will my bag get to the end?
We will transport one small bag (3-4kg) down for each swimmer. We will tag your bag for identification purposes, and have it waiting for you at Marlow rowing club. We try and be careful but accidents do happen – please don’t use your best bag as we can’t be held responsible for any damage suffered in transit
Can I swim in a team with a group of friends?
Absolutely, in fact we would encourage it the more people who swim together and look out for each other, the safer the event is.
I hear you are changing things this year so people don’t have to swim in pods anymore?
That’s right. We know that some people love the pod structure and some don’t, so we are allowing people to swim solo outside of the pod structure if they’d like to. For people who love the pod structure, we are providing ‘London marathon style’ pacing swimmers. These swimmers will be having short stops at feed points with the goal of helping people achieve their goal times.
How do I work out what would be the best pacer for me to chose?
We will be putting together some training programmes and test swims that mean you will be able to work out the correct pacing swim time for you. ie: if you can do a 1500m pool swim in time (A) you would be best suited for pace (B)
How will you ensure that those who want to do solo swims are able to do so safely?
Firstly we will have a different safety procedure for 2015 to make sure we have visibility and coverage across the course. In addition for those who do wish to swim solo they will be required to wear a swim tow float, such as a Real Swim bag. This will aid visibility and give the swimmer a buoyancy aid to grab hold of should they experience any difficulty whilst a member of the safety team is getting to them.
Can I swim non-wetsuit?
Essentially no, however we will have a very small number of non-wetsuit places available. This is to minimise the risk to our safety plan. Wetsuits are important for retaining heat and providing buoyancy. If you wish to swim without a wetsuit please email email@example.com. Your request will be assessed by the events team for approval. This email should detail your previous long distance non-wetsuit experience, and your current training. Our decision is final on wetsuits and no discussion can be entered into. We advise swimmers to be prepared to wear a wetsuit if asked, on the day. Any swimmer who is allowed to swim non-wetsuit, must wear a swim tow float.
What food will be available at the feed stops?
We will provide a bit of everything, including bananas, energy bars, energy drinks, water, some chocolate, sweets, and some salty snacks such as crisps which people have started requesting. A couple of the stops will also have hot drinks.
How will the start work?
We will have 3 waves the Pink (Gold), Blue (Silver) and Green (Bronze) waves that will be set off with approximately 30 minute gaps. They will go off in reverse speed order (Green followed by Blue, followed by Pink).
How should I choose which wave to enter?
We would recommend that you chose the wave appropriate to your pool 1500m speed
- Below 25mins you should swim in the Pink wave.
- Between 25mins and 35mins you should swim in the Blue wave
- Between 35mins and 45mins you should swim in the Green wave
We would recommend that if you are not presently able to complete a 1500m swim in under 45mins it might be as well to target a shorter event and then build for the 2016 Bridge to Bridge
We will have a few training programmes and test swims (you can do in your local pool) that will detail how fast you are likely to swim on the day
If you are new to open water swimming, but an experienced pool swimmer, we would recommend that you select 1 wave below your capability.
What is the “facilities” situation like?
There are toilets at the start at Leander club, and at the finish at Marlow rowing club. We are aiming to have a toilet stop at one of the food stations as well (just in case you’re caught short)
I hear a few people got sick in the 2014 Bridge to Bridge, what happened?
Although an occasional illness can be an occupational hazard when swimming in the Thames, there were a few more than we would expect. We always test the water to ensure it falls within acceptable European bathing standards and have never had a failed test. Indeed Henley Open Water swimming club (and others) swim a number of times a week (throughout the year) on and around the same stretch and stomach upsets are extremely rare. It was particularly puzzling in that we had no recorded illnesses from the night before on the same stretch, at the Club to Pub swim. Upon further investigation it seems very likely that a combination of events contributed to the water contamination. Firstly there were some issues with old sewer pipes that are known for getting blocked, and secondly the very heavy rainfall (flash flood) on Saturday night created some flooding into the Thames. Although this is of little consolation to the individuals who suffered, it is useful for us to understand how it happened. The good news is that Thames water have replaced the old “problem” pipes, and no instances of illness have been recorded since from swimmers.
This category will be a fast challenging group, with the emphasis on short stops at locks and feed zones, for experienced open water swimmers who have swum this or a similar distance in the past.
To be eligible to enter this category your average 1500m (pool) swim time should be 25 minutes or under.
This category will be at a steadier pace for regular open water swimmers, who have experience of swimming long distance events (10k minimum).
To be eligible to enter this category your average 1500m (pool) swim time should be between 25 and 35 minutes.
This category will be a steadier group, for regular open water swimmers who are new to this sort of distance.
To be eligible to enter this category your average 1500m (pool) swim time should be between 35 and 45 minutes.
Due to the long distance of this swim, this is only suited to seasoned endurance open water swimmers. You should certainly be capable of comfortably completely 8km swims, and it is advisable that you have already swum at least one 10km event before to ensure you are fully prepared to swim this 14km marathon swim. Your experience will determine the category suitable for you.
The Entry Fee is £85
This covers the costs for all safety measures, food during the swim, insurance, use of the facilities at the Henley and Marlow host venues and other event expenses. It does not include food and drinks at the end of the swim.
Swimmers will have 2 options on carrying out their swims. The first option will be to swim on their own (although we would encourage people to swim in groups if at all possible). The second option for those swimmers who love the pod structure, will be to use the ‘London marathon style’ pacing swimmers,structure. These swimmers will be having short stops at feed points with the goal of helping people achieve their goal times.
Leander Club – Registrations & Swim Start
The Bridge to Bridge starts at Henley Bridge. Registrations take place at Leander Rowing Club, where there is access to toilets and changing facilities.
The official event car parking will be in Marlow, where we will be running coaches to take you to the start event venue in Henley. This will mean that once you have finished the event and had some food etc, you can get into your car and go, and not have to worry about a lift back to Henley
Both Henley and Marlow have public car parks which will be available to use. Parking is free in some locations on Sundays in Henley, but please check this first. All are within a 5 to 10 minute walk of where you need to be.
Please Note:– There is no parking either at Leander or Marlow Rowing Clubs, where you will be getting in and out of the water.
Marlow Rowing Club – Swim Exit
Swimmers will exit the river at Marlow Rowing Club, where they can be joined by supporters, family and friends.
For anyone who does not have a supporter to drive them to the Henley start and collect them in Marlow, there will be the option to book a coach place, as follows:-
- Park in Marlow parking (tbc) and get the coach from Marlow to Henley before the swim.
Full details will be confirmed nearer the time.