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Open Water Swimming

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Ditch the Pool and Take to the River
human race, open water swimming, hampton court to kingston
Hampton Court to Kingston Bridge

Going to the swimming baths can be a rather hit an miss experience. I'm sure keen swimmers have many a time gone to do lengths in the pool only to find that there are kids splashing about all over the place, getting in the way. Even if they have a lane cordoned off, floats and blow up balls constantly get thrown in your path.

So why not ditch the pool all together, and try something a bit different? Human Race is a large sporting events company (the largest in the UK), and organises over fifty-five events a year. It caters a diverse range of activities including running, cycling, and of course swimming. And these are no ordinary events; they are fun, unique, and challenging.

This year they are holding six Open Water Swimming events across the UK, costing 32-46 per person. It is your chance to take to open water: no beach balls, no chlorine (but perhaps a couple of ducks).

The events are open to all abilities, even if the closest you've got to water before is a dunk in the bath tub. Distances range from 500m to 10km, and there will be two training days on the 18th and 25th May to get you started. The hour and a half session will be held at Dorney Lake, Berkshire, and will be a split between theory and practical coaching. Experts will inform you on fitting the best goggles and wetsuits, and provide race tips and swimming techniques.

Everyone who participates in an event will receive an exclusive swimming cap and medal. If you are feeling ambitious, try for all six events and complete the set. The first course is the Eton Swim on the 27th May at Dorney Lake, which is also where the WomenOnly Swim will be. You will then be able to swim different parts of the River Thames for the Windsor, Hampton Court, and Marlow courses. Last but not least there will also be a beachside swim in Poole on the 28th September.

For the training sessions, anyone 8 or over can join in, but for the main events you need to be between 14-18, depending on the length of the course.

Although it is not an official charitable event, you can apply for a sponsorship form to support Cancer Research, by calling 0871 641 2403.
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Why? Raise money for charity
When: 18th May - 28th September
Phone: 0208 391 3913
Where: Across the UK
Cost: 32-46
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