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 28th June 2015
  • Location: Henley-on-Thames
  • Distance: 2.1k river upstream
  • Minimum age: 14
  • Entry Fee: £43
  • Entry List

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 (other than elite and traditional are wetsuited). This does not mean you have to wear a wetsuit, it means you are allowed. 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.

Elite – Men & Women – (by application only)

Open – Men & Women – This is our standard category, for wetsuited swimmers between the age of 18 – 44. (You can still enter open regardless of your age, but we do have separate Masters categories for age groups 45 and above)

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) – wetsuited

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

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

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

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). Teams can be maximum of 8 members and a minimum of four, with the four fastest times will qualifying for the competition.

Elite entrants

If you would like to race in the elite event please review the following document and email enquiries@henleyswim.com with your qualifying times.

Elite Athletes Entry Criteria 2015

The 2015 event will be a non-wetsuit event, which we will be looking to bring into line with FINA standards

Saturday Evening Pasta Party

This popular evening event will once again be held on the Saturday evening prior to the Henley Classic, between 5 and 8pm. The evening will be in the style of an “all you can eat” Italian Pasta evening, including a choice of pasta (penne, spaghetti, fusilli), a selection of sauces (tomato, pesto and bolognese) and salad.

£13 per head when booked in advance
£15 per head on the evening.

Sleep & Eat Special Offer
For those who will be camping, we can also offer an early bird “Sleep & Eat Pass”. Price £24

A cash bar and general cafe with snacks will also be available within the main event area.

Please Note: Pasta Party bookings are non refundable. Please read the Pasta Party Terms & Conditions of booking for full details.

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

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

Henley Classic Map

Venue Facilities

Parking is available at the venue
Toilets, changing facilities and showers 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 Prices
Camping spaces £13 per person per night.
Under 12s camp for FREE
Campervans are £18 per night.
These can be booked online when you make your race entry. Email confirmation is sent out in advance and this needs to be presented when booking in on site.

Camping Booking Terms
Camping bookings are non refundable. Please read the Camping Terms & Conditions of booking for full details. No dogs are allowed at the campsite.
Please see the venue terms & conditions before making your booking.

On the day Prices
Camping is £15 per person per night.
Campervans are £22 per night.

Cash payment is taken on entry.

Wetsuit Hire

This year we have partnered with mywetsuithire to provide period and on the day wetsuit hire. More details can be found here:


Therapy4Fitness Sports Massage

Post race massages will be provided by our Sports Massage partner, Therapy4Fitness.
Sessions are TBC. If you would prefer to save waiting and book in advance, this can be done when entering

Event memorabilia

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

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