THE SELKIE 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 dawn. You arrive at the event in darkness and walk the 1/4 of a mile to the start into the sunrise, led by the torch carrier.
The Selkie Henley Classic swim has several wave options to choose from.
It is our aim to provide all swimmers with the best swimming experience possible within the available water time. Selecting the most appropriate wave for your ability based on the descriptions below will help us to achieve this.
0420 WAVE 1 (Juniors & Sporting)
Select this wave if you are either a junior (14-17 on 30th June) or if you wish to swim at leisure or alongside friends.
Please note Junior swimmers will be set off slightly in advance of the sporting wave.
0450 WAVE 2
Select this wave if you comfortably average between 2 mins and 2 mins 30 secs per 100m during a distance swim.
0515 WAVE 3
Select this wave if you comfortably average between 1 min 45 secs and 2 mins per 100m during a distance swim.
0540 WAVE 4 (Performance)
Select this wave if you wish to race hard (likely to be in the top 100 swimmers) and average below 1min 45 secs per 100m during a distance swim.
Wave times are provisional and may be subject to change
Teams – There is one team competition. A team can be made up of any combination of male or female swimmers (but not elite) and any number. The four fastest times will qualify for the competition. Create or join a team during the entry process.
In the 2019 Selkie Henley Classic, elite adult swimmers will be participating in the Performance wave (wave 4). All swimmers that are 17 or under on the day of the race will swim in the Junior wave (wave 1). If you are an elite athlete and wish to swim, please review the following document and email
firstname.lastname@example.org with your qualifying times. Elite Athletes Entry Criteria 2018
Wetsuits are optional for elite swimmers.
The Selkie Henley Classic is hosted at Temple Island Meadows, RG9 3DD, which is just one mile from Henley town centre. Parking is available at the event venue.
The course is a unique, straight line, point-to point-swim (ie no turns) and takes advantage of the boomed course of the Henley Royal Regatta. The swim is upstream, the strength of the stream varies from year-to-year, ensuring that no two events are the same.
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. Camping is £17pp and campervans are £22pp when booked in advance, under 12s are free of charge. On the day camping fees will be higher.
There will be a supper available for campers and anyone staying locally. You can pre-order your supper when registering for the event, or you can log back into your entry to add on at a later date. Supper will cost £11.95 and include 2 courses and a tea/coffee. Please see here for a sample menu.
The venue will be open on Saturday afternoon from 2pm. Anyone who would like to register for the event early, to save time on the Sunday morning can register between 2pm and 6pm on the Saturday.
Information regarding wetsuit hire will be available at a later date.
A full range of Henley Swim merchandise is available from Selkie Swim Co.
Selkie will be selling event clothing at the Henley Classic, or it can be purchased in advance of the event from their website.
The water temperature at the Classic depends upon both the outside temperature and the quantity of rainfall in the days and weeks running up to the event. It is therefore very difficult to predict.
Based on previous years, at the beginning of July, we would expect the water to be between 17 and 19 degrees centigrade.