Wild swimming (or swimming outside) is enjoying a bit of a surge of popularity lately. If you’ve been tempted by the recent coverage to dip your toe in colder waters and give it a go then next Sunday’s Speedo Open Water Swim in Hampton Court may be the perfect event for you.
The UK’s largest river swim starts from the picturesque surroundings of the Tudor palace of Hampton Court and follows the river Thames downstream to the market town of Kingston–Upon-Thames. At two and a half miles it may be more for those who consider themselves the next Michael Phelps or Rebecca Addlington than those of us who hit the beach once a year, but if you’re tired of pacing up and down your local pool it offers a great opportunity.
If you think you can hack the distance but have never swum outdoors before then don’t worry, safety kayakers are on hand to check for anyone in trouble. The swimmers are split into waves so if you’re a first timer then book yourself into the public swim rather than the performance group. Wetsuits are compulsory to brave the cold water, but if you don’t have one tucked away for just such an emergency they’re available for hire from the race organisers.
Of course if you don’t think you could manage two miles just yet, or just want to suss out the competition for next year, then the riverbank is the perfect spot for a picnic and to cheer on those taking part. Who knows, you might be inspired to check out one of the shorter swims taking place later this year.
By Kate Lamble
Hampton Court Swim is on Sunday 17 July from 9am. Deadline for entries to the swim is 9pm, Monday 11 July. All the info is online.
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