16 SEP TEMBER 2017 | SWIMSERPENTINE .CO.UK
OFFICIAL MAGA ZINE OF SWIM SERPENTINE
Please read these instructions very carefully and keep them safe; in the following pages you will find all the
information you need to have a trouble-free and enjoyable day at Swim Serpentine on Saturday 16 September 2017.
We will do our utmost to look after you on Swim Day. All you need to do is follow the few simple guidelines here.
P L E A S E R E A D
Welcome to the second Swim
Serpentine festival of open
We are thrilled Swim Serpentine has
returned after thousands of swimmers
took part in the successful inaugural
event last year.
Staged in Hyde Park, the open water
swimming venue for the London 2012
Olympic Games, Swim Serpentine is
another great sporting legacy from those
This year’s event is bigger and better.
We have added half-mile and two-mile
swims, and the Super Six challenge, to the
programme in addition to the one-mile
swim. These new events mean swimmers
of all ages and abilities can enjoy open
water swimming in the spectacular
setting of the Serpentine.
Swim Serpentine 2017 is also extra special
because we will witness the first people
to complete a brand new challenge, the
This unique challenge celebrates
participants who have completed the
ultimate mass-participation challenge by
running the London Marathon, cycling the
Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, and
swimming two miles at Swim Serpentine.
I believe this will become one of the
world’s great sporting challenges. Over
the years, the London Marathon has
inspired hundreds of thousands to take
up running and we hope the London
Classics will inspire tens of thousands
to try a new sport. (Turn to page 15 for
Finally, we would like to thank The Royal
Parks for allowing us to use the Serpentine
and we hope that you have a wonderful
swim in this truly beautiful setting.
A HISTORY OF
While Swim Serpentine is a relatively new
event, the Serpentine Swimming Club is
the oldest swimming club in Britain and
steeped in history.
The Club is perhaps most famous for
its Christmas Day race for the Peter
Pan Cup. Records show that the first
Christmas Day race took place in 1864,
a year after the Football Association
The Serpentine was constructed
between 1730 and 1733 after a request
by Queen Caroline, wife of George II, who
wanted an ornamental lake to further
enhance Hyde Park’s beauty.
As London’s population grew, Hyde Park
became more and more popular as an
area for recreation and relaxation for the
urban masses. The opening of the first
London Underground line in 1863 made
the park even more accessible to the
pioneering open water swimmers of the
Unlike many of the gentlemen’s
clubs being founded at the same
time, the Serpentine Swimming Club
was not housed in a grand building.
Instead, the club members had to
content themselves with the shelter of
an elm tree, surrounded by a wooden
bench, where swimmers would leave
The Club also holds a race every
Saturday morning throughout the year.
The length of these races, which range
from 40 yards in January to one mile in
the summer, is determined by the water
temperature. In January this can be as
low as 10˚C, occasionally rising to 20˚C in
July and August.
Five years ago, the Serpentine featured
as the venue for the open water
swimming events and the triathlon swim
at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Last
year, the inaugural Swim Serpentine saw
more than 4,000 people enter the mass-
participation one-mile swim, a fitting
legacy of the Games.
This year, Swim Serpentine is even bigger
with several new events added to the
one-day open water swimming festival.
We hope you have a wonderful time at
THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS & PARTNERS
Official wetsuit and swimming
accessories partner of Swim
Official Tow Float supplier of
VIRGIN MONEY GIVING
Official online giving partner of
THE ROYAL PARKS
Official partner of Swim
The national governing body for
swimming in England
03 Before Swim Day
At this year’s Swim Serpentine, you will be
swimming in half, one or two-mile events.
Before Swim Day, you must be able to
comfortably swim in a pool, without
stopping, the same distance you are
tackling in the Serpentine.
Here is a rough guide to help you:
- Half a mile is 805 metres, which is
roughly 32 lengths of a 25m pool and 16
lengths of a 50m pool.
- One mile is 1609 metres, which is
roughly 64 lengths of a 25m pool and 32
lengths of a 50m pool.
- Two miles is 3219 metres, which is
roughly 129 lengths of a 25m pool and
64 lengths of a 50m pool.
As part of your training, you should aim to
swim at least twice a week, three times if
possible, and one of your sessions should
take place outdoors.
For training tips, technique advice and
open water swimming suggestions, visit
BEING SWIM FIT
The easiest way to become swim fit is to
regularly use a swimming pool or lido.
BEING ACCLIMATISED TO
On Swim Day it could be cold and dull or
bright and sunny, and the water could be
calm or choppy. To enjoy the swim, you
should be comfortable swimming in all
conditions. It is very different swimming
outdoors compared to swimming in a
pool. There is no black line on the bottom
of the lake to follow, the water may not
be as clear, and you must look up to see
which direction you need to swim.
If you are new to open water swimming,
aim to train in a variety of open water
conditions before Swim Day.
If you would like to experience swimming
in the Serpentine before Swim Day, the
Serpentine Lido is open to the public
seven days a week from 10:00 until 18:00
until 12 September.
Find out more at royalparks.org.uk/
WEARING A WETSUIT OR
USING A TOW-FLOAT
Everyone who takes part in Swim
Serpentine must either wear a wetsuit
or use a tow-float for safety reasons.
If the water temperature in the Serpentine
is under 15˚C, wetsuits are compulsory.
If the water temperature is 15˚C or above,
wetsuits are optional at Swim Serpentine
but if you choose not to wear a wetsuit,
you must use a tow-float.
In the lead up to the event, the water
temperature will be regularly monitored
and communicated to participants via
The anticipated water temperature is
between 17˚C and 22˚C, but this may
vary considerably due to the weather
conditions in the weeks before the event.
Please refer to the table on page eight for
BUYING OR HIRING A WETSUIT
You can buy or hire a wetsuit from our
official partners HUUB.
serpentine to use the exclusive 20 per
cent discount code HSS2017 on a variety
of open water swimming products.
Swim Secure tow-floats will be available to
hire or buy on Swim Day.
They can also be bought in advance at
swimsecure.co.uk for £10, using the discount
Before leaving home 04
Make sure you have the following in
your kitbag before leaving home:
A copy of these instructions
Your wetsuit – if you are planning
to wear one. Please note that
wetsuits are compulsory if the water
temperature is below 15˚C
Tow-float – if you are planning to
use one, or hire details if you are
collecting one from swimsecure.
co.uk. Please remember, if the water
temperature is 15˚C or above and
you do not want to wear a wetsuit,
you must use a tow-float
Your Swim Serpentine swim hat –
this must be worn and visible on
event day. An additional swim hat
can be worn underneath the official
swim hat if desired
Your timing tag
Two numbered wristbands – one to
wear and one to attach to your bag
A swimming costume – to enjoy
the hot tubs after your swim you
will need to remove your wetsuit, so
please bring appropriate clothing
A change of clothes for after
Wetsuit gloves and socks are allowed
but swimming aids such as snorkels
and fins/flippers are prohibited
HOW TO WEAR YOUR TOW-FLOAT:
1) Inflate your tow-float
2) Wear the belt around
your waist, adjusting
it so that it fits snugly
and is securely fastened
3) Ensure the short leash,
attached to the tow-float,
is lined up with the centre
of your back
With this booklet, you should have
received a coloured swim hat showing
your wave colour, which you must wear
for your swim, timing tag and ankle
strap, and two wristbands showing your
swimmer number – one to be worn on
your wrist and one to attach to your bag.
Please make sure