Home - Henley Swim - Inspirational Swim Events - Open Water Swimming


Henley Swim has one objective. To bring people together to swim unique, challenging and unforgettable open water swimming events. We aim to make the entire process as easy and enjoyable as possible, so that all you have to worry about is making memories that will stay with you forever.

It is our mission to cater for the needs of all types of swimmers, from those entering their first open water event, to experienced swimmers and enthusiasts.


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30TH JUNE 2019


14TH JULY 2019


20TH JULY 2019




Open water swimming events have been held on the Thames since the 1890s, but this more recent reincarnation began in 2004 when two ex-rowers decided it would be fun, and a little bit naughty, to swim the regatta course at first light. The first year it was just Tom Kean, Jeremy Laming and a supporting kayaker. Word spread among their friends, and each year a few more pulled themselves out of bed early on the Sunday morning before Henley Regatta to join the swim.

By 2008 there was so much interest that the 2.1km upstream swim at dawn became official, and nearly 100 swimmers joined in what has now become the Henley Classic.

As open water swimming has grown in popularity, so has the interest in swimming in Henley. While the Henley Classic has maintained its early morning charm and excitement, Henley Swim now organise three further events in the summer months, including a long-distance endurance swim from Henley to Marlow, a festival of events for all the family, and an evening swim that ends at the pub.

Every year the events attract both new swimmers and people returning again and again, from all over the world. We welcome you all and thank you for playing your part in building the strong and supportive Henley Swim community that exists today.


Henley Swim Scoops Up Two National Awards Following Athletes Feedback

18th January 2019
Henley Swim has received national recognition for the quality of their events, following exceptionally high athlete ratings in the Racecheck Awards. The Thames Marathon, our 14km swim from Henley to Marlow, received the Top Rated Swim Award for the second year running. Of the 5 Top Rated Awards given for a variety of sporting events, including swimming running and triathlon, the Thames Marathon was the only one to retain the accolade for a second year. The Henley Classic, our unique dawn swim that takes place on the Henley Regatta course, was awarded a Silver Award, receiving athlete ratings of 4.79/10 – narrowly missing out on a Gold Award which requires a rating of 4.8. From the many thousands of mass participation events that took places across the UK in 2018, only 22 received an award. The Henley Classic and Thames Marathon were the only swims to receive recognition, and Henley Swim was the only organisation to receive more than one award. Henley Swim co-founder Jeremy Laming said “We have an amazing Henley Swim community, with whom we communicate and collaborate to try to give swimmers experiences and memories that they will never forget. We listen to their advice and feedback to constantly improve our events. The fact that the same community has rated us so highly completes the loop – we couldn’t do any of it without them”  The 2019 Henley Classic will take place on Sunday 30th June, and the Thames Marathon on Sunday 4th August.  To find more information on these award winning events visit www.henleyswim.com

The ultimate Open Water Swimming Festival is coming to Henley

8th January 2019
  The Henley Swim are bringing an open water swimming festival to the banks of the Thames this July with swimming events for all ages and a festival village featuring everything related to open water swimming. This is a unique opportunity to swim in one of the most beautiful and iconic stretches of the Thames. Taking place on Sunday 14 July, the Henley Swim Festival, in collaboration with Outdoor Swimmer magazine, incorporates the Henley Mile swim which has been running since 2011. Over the years, the event has attracted thousands of swimmers of all ages and abilities, including those wanting to tick off a bucket list challenge, avid open water swimmers and those just wanting to dip their toes in the water. The mile, half-mile, suits vs skins and 200m junior event on the Henley Royal Regatta course all remain on the line up for the 2019 Festival and are joined by an exciting new four-mile event for swimmers looking for a bigger challenge. The festival village will be more extensive than in previous years, with food vendors, a bar and live music, offering an area for post-swimming celebrations, information and advice. The Outdoor Swimmer magazine show will be returning, exhibiting everything from kit to holidays to nutrition, and coaches will be on hand to offer their expertise. Brands will offer exclusively discounted products and there will be an endless pool showcasing technique. This event is not just for experienced swimmers. There will be free supervised sessions in a protected area of the Thames for beginners or anyone wanting to build up confidence in the water. For those who prefer to stay on dry land, the event village has something for everyone, hosting massage, ice cream and children’s entertainment alongside spectating the swimming for a fun day out by the river. The event will also play host to The Big Jump, a European initiative joining tens of thousands of supporters across the continent as they jump in the river at 14:00 to mark their love and desire to protect our European rivers. The event is calling on anyone to come on down and join in. Henley Swim’s Jeremy Laming said “We have taken all the elements from the Henley Mile that people know and love, and added more interest and excitement to give a festival feel. As open water swimming grows in popularity, the benefit to health and mental well-being are well documented. We are proud to play our part helping swimmers participate in open water swimming in a safe and welcoming environment.” To truly create the festival feeling, Saturday night camping at Temple Island Meadows has been added, to make a full weekend of it. With the Henley Festival and the Henley Masters rowing taking place the same weekend, Henley-on-Thames really is the place to be on the weekend of 13th and 14th July. Register now for early bird prices and to guarantee a camping spot. www.henleyswimfestival.com

A message from Henley Swim co-founders Tom & Jeremy regarding Environmental Responsibility:

19th June 2018
Photo by Katerha via Creative Commons v.2.0 “As a company organising outdoor events in the Thames, Henley Swim has always been mindful of the environmental impact of our events. We have tried wherever possible to be environmentally responsible, to ensure that while allowing people to enjoy the natural beauty of the area, we are not damaging it in any way. In 2018 we are making even more effort to reduce the carbon footprint of our events, and to look at the wider picture. We are aware that we cannot solve all the problems in one go, so this year have identified a number of areas where we will aim to improve, and we ask for your help in making this happen. Water & Plastics We will not be selling bottled water at any of our events. Water will be freely available in large containers. We encourage you to bring your own re-usable bottles to refill, but paper cups will also be available if necessary, which we will then recycle. Car Sharing/Public Transport Please use public transport, or fill as many seats in your car, wherever possible. We know that Temple Island Meadows is not the easiest place to get to by public transport at 2am, so we are encouraging all swimmers, volunteers, staff and exhibitors to car share. Please use our Facebook forum Henley Swim Chatter to try and find people travelling to and from the same location as you. Alternatively travel on the Saturday when public transport is available, and camp next to the event site. Waste Management Instead of general waste bins at our events, we will have recycling bins. We ask that you sort your rubbish into the appropriate bins. Alternatively take your rubbish away with you, and deposit in your own recycling. Goodie Bags We are aware that a large proportion of the content of a goodie bag ultimately ends up unused. For 2018 we are planning on reducing waste by giving people an option as to what they want to take home. We will be experimenting, so at the Classic and the Thames Marathon we will encourage you to bring your own bag to the sampling station, and just take the products that you know you will use. In addition to the above areas, we have contacted our suppliers and are asking them to consider their own options, for example to reduce packaging and unnecessary transport, to help us in our efforts to be environmentally responsible. Thank you for your support, we are aware that this is only the beginning so if you have any other suggestions please feel free to contact us.“

2018 London City Swim

13th April 2018
We are excited to confirm that for the second year, we will be working with the London City Swim Foundation, to help raise money for Motor Neurone Disease research. Open Water Swimming Ltd, the team behind all of the Henley Swim events, will be responsible for the event management and delivery of the 2018 London City Swim. On Friday 21st September, the 2018 London City Swim will take place at the Royal Victoria Docks. These saline waters host a number of famous triathlons and wakeboarding competitions, against the backdrop of some famous London landmarks. In 2017, over 300 people swam the 500m course in this stunning open water location. In the process they raised over £133,000 for the MND Association and Stephen Hawking Foundation. This year London City Swim is looking for 600 swimmers to raise over £200,000 for MND research – Project Ambrosia. Swimmers can enter as individuals, or teams, and we also encourage participation from people living with MND. Due to generous sponsors, the event itself is fully funded. All fund-raising generated by the swimmers goes directly to charity. It is the perfect event for a corporate team, have a think about your own workplace and see if you can encourage your employers to get involved and support this event. Professor Stephen Hawking gave his full support to this event, and in 2017 sent a message of support to all the swimmers. Professor Hawking was and is an inspiration to millions of people around the world. His impact on the lives of people with MND, the charities that support them and the community that surrounds them is a legacy that will continue for decades; he made the London City Swim the success that it was last year and his legacy will continue.   More details can be found at www.londoncityswim.com  Twitter and Facebook   #SwimforMND        


Fabulous event, very well organised, beautiful location , unique start time . I am one of the slower swimmers but everyone is very encouraging and the atmosphere is great. I would definitely advise any open water swimmers to give it a go. Early start but well worth it. 10/10.

Pete Seward , Henley Classic 2018

Amazing family day out. With separate ‘waves’ spread throughout the day, it’s easy to pick a time that works for you. Multiple distances available, so there’s something for everyone. It’s not ultra-competitive, although timing chips are used. For a lot of people, it was their first open water event. One of the few events where non-wetsuit swimmers are made equally welcome. Having the Outdoor Swimmer Show on site is a massive bonus too. A wide range of stalls and guest speakers makes it even more special. We’ll definitely be back as a family in 2019

Adam Boon, Henley Mile 2018

I love this event, unique. It’s one of the first events I register for each year. Great location and nice after race party with music, dancing and burgers. Great to have a beer and medal as bottle opener as well.

Ian Learmonth, Club to Pub 2018

I really loved this event, so much so that I’ve already signed up for 2019. It was the first time I’d swim an event more than 5k & for those of you worrying about the distance – don’t! The flow of the river made this feel much easier than you might think and even in the heat/lack of rain in 2018, my time was much quicker than expected. Really beautiful swim with a well-organised shuttle back to the start.

Suzie Rylatt, Thames Marathon 2018




15 hours ago
Our events couldn't run without all the lovely volunteers who help us out!  Thank you to all of you! 🏊‍♂️🙌. https://t.co/KPmX7FhnFC
Sport & Rec Alliance @sportrectweets
6.3 million people currently give up their time every year to help sport and activity happen. @Sport_England wants to learn more about your volunteering experience to help inform its work to improve the support and opportunities available to volunteers. https://t.co/XzqhNldKwq https://t.co/w9acjuntlQ
18 hours ago
We love this swimming in this strange alien stuff! @bbcideas https://t.co/SolkjO6GCf
21 hours ago
We at Henley Swim feel that sharing is caring, so today we are sharing some top tips - there's always room to learn a thing or two! 😁 #tiptuesday . https://t.co/wT1QJiD1DB https://t.co/7Smg5WQAVl
2 days ago
Six ways to improve the most depressing day of the year https://t.co/l748inHK4p. Particularly like 1 and 4. #bluemonday #happymonday
2 days ago
#BlueMonday - supposedly the grimmest day of the year. Did you know that cold water swimming is actually amazing for #mentalhealth, check out this interview. Hands up for #happymonday. https://t.co/kKN7eBI9M5 https://t.co/7xGLM5rzaf
2 days ago
Goal setting - the best motivator! @RossEdgley @TheProteinWorks #theworldsfittest https://t.co/SAdTkCROJI
Ross Edgley @RossEdgley
#TheWorldsFittestPodcast starting with an episode ALL around Goal Setting!
Listen here: https://t.co/FrlUFzdres As always, any (& all feedback) welcome @TheProteinWorks and any RT’s massively appreciated as we aim to make this BIGGER and better in 2019 https://t.co/EtjYJILCoh


The Henley Swim

First known for the now iconic Henley Classic, Henley Swim has now expanded its portfolio to include four unique and diverse events - Henley Classic, Henley Mile, Club to Pub, Thames Marathon.
The Henley Swim
The Henley Swim21 hours ago
We at Henley Swim feel that sharing is caring, so today we are sharing some top tips - there's always room to learn a thing or two! 😁http://bit.ly/2W96I92
The Henley Swim
The Henley Swim2 days ago
There are only 150 places left for Club to Pub on 20th July 2019. Capacity can't be increased on this hugely popular event so make sure you bag yourself a ticket sooner rather than later. Finishers get a bottle of Brakspear beer and medals come with an integrated bottle opener - handy ! 😁 http://bit.ly/2RuGoYg
The Henley Swim
The Henley Swim added 2 new photos.5 days ago
We are super chuffed and massively excited to announce that we have won not one but TWO awards for our events.

The Thames Marathon has achieved the Top Rated Swim status (for the second year running) ... WoW!

The Selkie Henley Classic has been awarded a Silver badge for the 2018 event - just a narrowly missing out on the gold by 0.01

The 2018 Racecheck Award are given to highest performing experiences across the UK and they are voted for by YOU so a massive thank you to you for taking the time to review our races and give us such fantastic feedback. We were the only swims to win any awards making us extra happy.

Look forward to seeing you at our 🎉🥇 award-winning 🥈🎊 swims this year!
The Henley Swim
The Henley Swim7 days ago
With only a few places left in Wave 7, Wave 8 is now open in the Thames Marathon. Book your ticket here: http://bit.ly/2CwHlFx
Now in its 9th year, the Thames Marathon has been hailed as the swimming equivalent to the London Marathon. You won't be disappointed! #justkeepswimming
The Henley Swim
The Henley Swim1 week ago
We are over the moon to find out that the lovely @KatiaVastiau has been shortlisted for the @wildswimmingbrothers ‘Wild Swimmer of the Year 2018’ awards. Katia is part of Team @selkieswimco and is a massive part of Henley Swim. If she is not swimming, she is paddle boarding alongside. Good luck Katia, you’re the best!
The Henley Swim
The Henley Swim1 week ago
What do you eat before and after a swim?