THE HENLEY CLASSIC is a 2.1 km endurance upstream River Thames swimming event, held over the Henley Royal Regatta course, very early on the Sunday morning before the Wednesday start of Henley Royal Regatta.

This event is a celebration of mid-summer. It provides a unique opportunity to swim one of the most famous and beautiful stretches of open water in the world, at what we believe is the most beautiful time of the day, dawn. A key feature of the event is that you arrive in darkness and walk the 1/4 of a mile to the start into the sunrise, led by the torch carrier.


  • Date: Sunday 26th June 2016
  • Location: Henley-on-Thames
  • Distance: 2.1k river upstream
  • Minimum age: 14
  • Entry Fee: £47

Henley Classic event Categories

The Henley Classic swim has the following registration options (below) for swimmers to enter. A swimmer is only able to win the category they are entered into. ie: A junior entrant is only eligible for the junior category, regardless of whether they have achieved a faster time than the winner of the open category.

All categories (except traditional are wetsuit). This does not mean you have to wear a wetsuit, it means you are allowed to. For instance if you want to race the junior category without a wetsuit

You may do this. You may be at a performance disadvantage, however, as much of your opposition are likely to be wearing wetsuits.

2016 Elites (by application only)
Men and women will swim together in the Performance Wave. Open Category is our standard category, for wetsuit swimmers between the ages of 18–44. (You can still enter open regardless of your age, but we do have separate Masters Categories for age groups 45and above).If you wish to race against the elites and expect to finish the race in 34 minutes or less, remember to opt-in for the Performance Wave during the registration process.

Traditional – Men & Women (swimsuits only – non-wetsuit category). Standard swimming costumes, trunks (not jammers) for men, and costumes for women. The leg on all trunks and costumes must not go below the line of the crutch. (See rules here Traditional Category Rules).

Masters 45-54 – Men & Women (age on the day of the race) – wetsuits optional

Masters 55 and above – Men & Women (age on the day of the race) – wetsuits optional

Junior – Men & Women aged 14 to 17 (on the day of the race) – wetsuits optional

Sporting – A single (non-competitive) category for both Men & Women – wetsuits optional

Teams – There is one team competition. A team can be made up of any combination of male or female swimmers – Junior, Masters, Traditional, Open (but not elite) and any number and the four fastest times will qualify for the competition.

Oxford v Cambridge Varsity Match – For the third year, we will be hosting the annual open water swim varsity match for both current and alumni members.

Mob Match–2016 will see the second Varsity mob match. If you attended Oxford or Cambridge universities, just select the option during registration and your time will be taken into account when calculating the results.

Elite Entrants

If you would like to race in the elite event please review the following document and email
annette@henleyswim.com with your qualifying times. Elite Athletes Entry Criteria 2016

Saturday Evening Pasta Supper

Details to be confirmed

Saturday Evening Registrations

The venue will be open on Saturday afternoon from 4pm for anyone who would like to register for the
event early, to save time on the Sunday morning. Further details will be provided nearer the time.

Event Location & Course Details

The Henley Classic is hosted at the Temple Island Meadows, which is just ¾ mile from Henley town centre. Click here for Temple Island Meadows location details

The Swim Course

The course is unique in that it is a straight line point to point swim (ie: no turns) and takes advantage of the boomed course of the Henley Royal Regatta. Click on the course map to enlarge

Venue Facilities

Parking is available at the venue
Toilets and changing facilities will be provided
Hot & cold drinks & snacks will be available at the main event area.


Camping is available in Glebe campsite, with on-site facilities including toilets and showers. This is just a short walk to the main event area and is ¾ mile from Henley town centre. Advance booking details – TO BE CONFIRMED

Wetsuit Hire

Details to be Confirmed

After Swim Sports Massage

Details to be Confirmed

Event memorabilia

A full range of Henley Swim merchandise will be available on the day including Selkie clothing,
DryRobes and Real Swimbags.