Swimming in Open Water is hugely different to pool swimming; there’s no starting blocks, no lane ropes, no guarantee of crystal-clear water and of course no heating for swimmers or spectators!

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Many swimmers find swimming in a river, lake, reservoir, or the open sea liberating, adventurous and unique, but we do recommend that you never go open water swimming on your own.  Competitive races in open water can be frenetic and fierce, with swimmers hustling and bustling for position, so it is important that you have done some open water training if you want to enter any races.



Beds County organises training camps for open water. The advance season open water training takes place during May at an indoor venue and although it is beneficial to all open water swimmers it is particularly beneficial to novice open water swimmers.   There is also an annual Open Water Development Camp for swimmers aged 13-17 in the East Region To be considered for selection, swimmers must have competed at the National Open Water Championships the previous year.

As a club, in the warmer months (May-September) we do some training at Box End Lake which provides an ideal introduction to open water swimming and preparation for the Regional Open Water Championships in July (Open Water competitions - Swim England East Region (eastswimming.org)). For those aged 12-18, the Regional Championships also offer a chance to qualify for the National Open Water Championships.  For the more adventurous, we have in the past, trained in the sea at Dover, in preparation for the channel swims and Round Jersey swim.  Swimming in the sea is another step up from an inland lake, as swimmers have to contend with the wind, waves, and current. 

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open water

The club has had great success in Open Water with Regional champions and National Masters champions in addition to other Open Water successes such as a Solo Channel swim, a Relay Channel swim and a Round Jersey relay swim.

Open water swimming is a tough challenge, and it takes a great deal of determination and bravery to get in the water and get around the course, as well as mental preparation in advance. The sense of achievement when a course has been completed is amazing.


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If you are interested in becoming an open water official or coach, courses can be found here:

Officials training and development - Swim England East Region (eastswimming.org)

Open Water Coaching course - Swim England East Region (eastswimming.org)