Open water swimming is simply swimming in open bodies of
water including the sea, lakes, reservoirs and rivers (but
Originally the only form of swimming, it virtually died out in
the UK as indoor pools were developed for the general public from
the 1950s onwards. In recent years groups like the Outdoor Swimming
Society encouraged people to rediscover swimming under an open sky,
and triathlons have provided a competitive arena for open water
Competitive open water swimming reached a wider audience in 2008
when a 10km race was held as part of the Beijing Olympics. Three of
the six medals in this competition went to members of the Great
Britain swimming team: David Davies (silver), Keri-Anne Payne (silver) and Cassie Patten (bronze). Since then,
public interest and participation in the sport has risen hugely.
There are five annual races in the British Gas Great
*PLEASE NOTE THE DRAGON OPEN WATER
SWIM 2012 HAS BEEN CANCELLED*
They attract large numbers of swimmers
keen to experience the thrill of open water swimming, with the
reassurance that expert kayakers and safety boats are with them.
Men and women compete alongside one another, with the natural
elements often playing a part in determining the winner.