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


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

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.

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  Twitter and Facebook   #SwimforMND        

Racing Tactics & Other Urban Myths About The Henley Classic

10th April 2018
BY HENLEY SWIM CO-FOUNDER TOM KEAN The Henley Classic is our original event here at Henley Swim, and it’s still the one that gives me goose bumps. Back in 2004, jumping in the river at four in the morning seemed ever so daring, but these days it’s quite normal really….honest! What is not normal however, is the prospect of the most amazing summer mist on the water – we get this maybe one year in three, but when it happens, it is a truly magical sight.   Being an ex-rower, I was perfectly aware of the legends about which station, “Buck or Berks”, was the quickest. Historically it depended on the wind, or bushes, or the stream. But genuinely, these days there is no real advantage on either side of the river. So this might interest those of you who might be looking for an advantage at the start. And we are blessed with a dead straight course at Henley, so there are no nasty turn buoys to worry about just as you are starting to settle into your race pace.     It’s taken years to formulate this view, because swimming the course is very different to rowing it. Even though the finish is on the left hand side, I believe there is a very real advantage to starting on the Island side, even though that obviously means you need to move to the left as you make your way down the course. It’ll depend on other factors as well, like drafting. The very quickest will still be better off starting by the bank, tucking in behind someone slightly faster than you and holding on for grim life. But it’s a bit of a melee that side. One lungful of water and that’ll effectively be your race over (ask Alex Partridge of rowing fame if you don’t believe me) so that’s only for the very hardest and fastest I’d say (and believe me, he is one of the toughest swimmers I know). Being honest with yourself and getting into the correct position would be my advice. So having more space to swim in and less of a bun-fight, even for the most competitive swimmers, is a viable tactic. Last year in the 2017 event we did a little experiment with our Swim to Live mates from Henley. Most of these guys and girls are ex international rowers and triathletes, still really competitive, and we all know our relative speeds very well. We all know how to draft and had a fair idea who was quickest and likely to “win” out of our lot. Some of us opted for the Island side and some for the bank, and the general consensus amongst us was that the Island side felt every bit as quick as the bank, despite having to ‘move over’ to the left during the swim – what was lost doing that was gained by having clearer water and perhaps a slower stream down the island? The only downside

Thames Marathon Wins Best UK Swimming Event in 2017 Racecheck Awards

11th January 2018
The Thames Marathon, a 14km open water swim in the River Thames between Henley and Marlow, has been awarded the Best UK Swimming Event in the 2017 Racecheck Awards, as voted by race participants. The results were announced last night on Twitter. The Thames Marathon, organised by Henley Swim, received a rating of 4.94 out of 5, making it the top-rated swimming event in the country. Racecheck, the race review platform for endurance sports events, used the reviews from thousands of registered athletes to rate their races and discover which offered the most exceptional race experience. Awards were given in six categories, for the first time the Racecheck Awards included Best UK Swimming Event. As the awards are based on rating a number of aspects of the event such as registration, the course & safety, they reflect 100% the quality of an event, rather than the number of participants. Henley Swim co-founder Jeremy Laming said “We are delighted the Thames Marathon has been recognised in these awards, particularly as they are voted for by the participants. We always receive huge amounts of positive feedback after the Thames Marathon, so it is great to see the event confirmed as the best in the UK. We look forward to welcoming both returning swimmers and new faces on 5th August 2018. If you are looking for the swimming equivalent of the London Marathon, this is the event for you” The Thames Marathon takes place along the 14km stretch of the River Thames, from Henley to Marlow. The swim is downstream, and swimmers must exit the river at each of the 3 locks on the route where they can rest and refuel, or immediately return to the water. It attracts all types of swimmers from competitive athletes to recreational swimmers. In 2017 the fastest swimmer took 2 hours and 41 minutes, while the final swimmer, Ray Wall, proudly came in at 6 hours and 22 minutes. Registration for the 2018 Thames Marathon is open Henley Swim also organises 3 other open water swimming events in the summer, including distances from 200m to 2.1km and attracting swimmers from aged 8 to 80. For more information visit or find them on Facebook and Twitter. To read the reviews of Thames Marathon on Racecheck visit

Henley Classic Registration Opens 8am on Wednesday 20th December

19th December 2017
Registration for the Henley Classic on 1st July 2018 will open on Wednesday 20th December at 8am More information about the event and a link to the registration page can be found at Come and join us – we can guarantee it will be the most bonkers swimming event that you do all year!  

Thames Marathon 2018 – Registration opens 8th November 2017

2nd November 2017
  The date for the Thames Marathon 2018 has been announced as Sunday 5th August 2018. Online registration will go live at 8am on Wednesday 8th November, for both wetsuit and non-wetsuit places. Wetsuit places are open to anyone, non-wetsuit places must be approved, in the first instance we will ask you to register your interest and give us your non-wetsuit open water experience. There is an early bird price of £93 that will apply until 23:59 on Monday 20th November For more information please visit the Thames Marathon page on the Henley Swim website  

On-line registration for 2017 Henley Classic now closed. On-the-day registration available.

19th June 2017
If you still wish to swim on Sunday 25th June at the 2017 Henley Classic, we will be taking on-the-day entries between 2pm and 6pm on Saturday, and between 2am and 3am on Sunday. To make things quicker, please download the entry form here and fill in before you come. The fee will be £55, there are card facilities, but again it will be quicker if you are able to bring cash. Do something spontaneous and join us on Sunday. It’s the warmest the river has been for years, and with minimal flow this could just be your year. All information can be found here


17th May 2017
If you are an elite swimmer, you need to be sure that you have the Henley Classic and Henley Mile in your 2017 diary. Henley Classic – Sunday 25th June 2017 – 4.30am At the Henley Classic, the elite swimmers compete for the Inman & Ovey cups. The cups were donated to the Henley Classic by the Henley River & Rowing museum. They were awarded for open water swimming races on the Henley reach dating back to the 1890s making them among the most historic and prestigious prizes in British open water swimming.   The current holders are Andrew Horsfall-Turner and Amy Vaal Henley Mile – Sunday 9th July 2017 – all day At the Henley Mile the elite swimmers compete for the £1,000 prize money (£500 for men, £500 for women). Swimmers are required to race the mile twice – once in the morning in a wetsuit and once in the afternoon in skins. The male and female swimmers with the fastest cumulative times will be crowned champions, and receive the prize money. With so much at stake the final stretch can become very competitive, in the past a few hundredths of a second have been the difference between winning, and not. The current holders are Tom Allen and Sophie Millen   Two very different events, with different incentives for racing. If you think you are eligible for the Elite races (men under 18 minutes for 1500m, women under 10:30 minutes for 800m) please contact for more information.