Just as the London Marathon does for runners, and the RideLondon-Surrey 100 sportive does for cyclists, Swim Serpentine stands out as the capital’s premier event for swimmers, with thousands of people taking to the open water in Hyde Park each year to swim half a mile, one mile or two miles.
While the London Marathon and RideLondon 100 both use ballots to determine which of the many aspiring participants get to take part, it’s all about being quick on the draw with Swim Serpentine. Entry opens at 10am on 22nd March and remains open until the event sells out. Move quickly then – not only to pick the exact wave you want to swim in, but to ensure you get to swim at all.
The half-mile event is the right distance for those new to open-water swimming and a great way to get involved in the party atmosphere around the Serpentine without having to, you know, do something mad like swimming two miles.
If you are keen to take part but have never tried open-water swimming before it’s nigh-on essential to do so as part of your training, because it’s a very different experience to an indoor pool, especially when you’re swimming in a crowd. You’ll also be required to wear a wetsuit for any Swim Serpentine event, so make sure you practise swimming in one before the big day.
Completing that two-mile event does bring with it special benefits, however, because it is one of the three events you are required to finish if you want to complete the London Classics (the other two are, yes, the London Marathon and RideLondon-Surrey 100). You get a special medal for completing all three, and who doesn’t like special medals?
If you’re already a regular swimmer but can’t quite face the training to complete the two-mile swim, then the one-mile is your best bet. That’s one full lap of the Serpentine.
The final event available is the Super Six, which really is only for the strongest open-water swimmers. Sign up for the Super Six and you’ll tackle five different races over the course of Swim Serpentine, racking up six miles in the water in total.
Entry costs £25 for the half-mile event, £39 for the one-mile and £49 for the two-mile. Pricing for the Super Six is yet to be confirmed. Sign up at swimserpentine.co.uk.