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.
The Henley Classic swim has several category options to choose from. Each swimmer is only able to win the category they are entered into. i.e. a junior entrant is only eligible to win the junior category, regardless of whether they have achieved a faster time than the winner of the open category.
All categories are wetsuit optional (except traditional) e.g. if you want to swim any category without a wetsuit, you may do this. You may be at a performance disadvantage, however, as many of your opposition are likely to be wearing wetsuits.
Open – Men & Women – wetsuits optional
Traditional – Men & Women – (non wetsuit). 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 here for Traditional Category Rules).
Junior – Men & Women aged 14-17 (on the day of the race) – wetsuits optional
Masters 45-54 and 55+ – Men & Women (age on the day of the race) – wetsuits optional
Sporting – A single (non-competitive) category for both Men & Women – wetsuits optional. Ideal if you are not intending to race, or if you wish to swim with a friend who would ordinarily be in a different category.
Performance Wave – All waves are timed, however the Performance Wave is for serious swimmers who want to race and consists of a mixture of all categories (except Elites and Sporting). Choose your category first and then tick the Performance Wave box during the registration process. In this wave, men and women start together. Only opt-in, If you expect to finish the race in 34 minutes or less.
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. The four fastest times will qualify for the competition. Create or join a team during the entry process.
The Henley Classic is hosted at Temple Island Meadows, which is just ¾ 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.
There will be a supper available for campers and anyone staying locally. Details and prices to follow.
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 4pm and 6pm on the Saturday.
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 end of June, we would expect the water to be between 17 and 19 degrees centigrade.