Hampton Court Swim

So I am a Brit living in New Zealand and for the past several years have been a keen runner - most off road stuff. I have now moved to doing small duo's and tri's, I am good at the running and have a good fitness base, ok on the bike but not great at the swim - I can swim 1.25km in the pool ok and do it in about 27 mins. I have also just got myself a wetsuit (I love it) and have been getting time in the sea as much as I can (amoungst the jelly fish) and probably swim 730m - 1.3kms. So to my question - I got there eventuallyimage - we are coming over to the UK in July and I really fancy keeping training and if possible enter an event or two. I have spotted the Hampton Court swim - obviously this is a lot longer than I have done before and was wondering if anybody has done it, what's it like and if swimming downstream cuts alot off your normal time. I have got plenty of time to increase my distance but was just wondering how far I should be training up to? Cheers Jake


  • I haven't done it but a friend who did it was a lot quicker than she would have been without the stream.  It's also unlikely to be as choppy as your sea swims.  Increasing distance swimming is no big deal really, you just keep plugging away for longer.  It's a 2.25 mile swim (3.6k) so I'd say if you can swim 3k in a pool then with a wetsuit and the stream, 3.6k isn't going to be too much of a problem.

  • I did it in 2011. I have to say that the current made little difference to me. My swim time of 1.19 was almost identical to my IM lake swim (no curent!) a month or so later.

    Having said that, people were commenting about how unusually current-less it was for some reason that day, and I kept closer to the bank rather than seek out any larger currents in the middle of the river. 

    It's a pleasant enough swim, the water quality isnt great, but I imagine its fun if you have family walking alongside the bank to keep you company as you swim.

    Before that swim the longest I had probably done was about 2 miles max, and it was fine. As CD says, just keep plugging away. You float so easily its just a question of turning the arms! 

    I might do it again this year. 

  • I'm thinking about doing this as a warmup for Henley this year. I'm up to 1000m in the pool and slowing starting to increase on that boredom threashold permitting. Can't wait for ow season. Might see some of you there then. 

  • I did this a couple of years ago too, (probably 2010) having not done a huge amount of training!  As Gladys says, the current isn't great, but that depends upon the amount of rainfall and how close to the bank you swim!  

    Certainly do-able, easilly, if you can swim 1.25km in a pool now!  Again, as Gladys says, water quality isn't great, but it won't kill you!  Just have a can of coke at the end to kill off anything you may have picked up.  

    My time was actually slower than when I did Outlaw last year!  image  But then I always got cramp in my calves in any swim above 2k wearing my old wet suit and this was no different!  It's relatively easy to 'sight' on the bank if you only breathe on your left side!  

    The event isn't too serious so, even if you take a couple of hours, you'll enjoy it!

  • Hmm, loosely tempted, maybe, I did 20 lengths on Sunday! Longest swim since October.

  • Last year the current was phenomenal - all that rain delayed it from July to October and then the river was safe to swim but it was flying.

    I did it the same year as Siggy too (was 2011 I believe- he's getting old, he gets confusedimage ) and there was no current.  I remember being at the start and just hovering on the spot, no effort required so my time was what I would have expected for a lake.

  • Couple of colleagues have mentioned water quality. Is it really that bad? Walliams didn't seem to rate it much 

  • I didn't think it was too bad but I wasn't drinking the stuffimage , I wouldn't have said it was any worse than Holme Pierpoint last year and in fact might have been better, certainly smelled less.

  • If you keep to the side Dusty you'll still be able to see the weeds underneath you as you swim, even with your eyesight!!!  image

    As ITB says, it won't affect you if you don't drink it!  The temperature was quite pleasant as well when I did it, so you shouldn't have any problems.  You'll probably still wear your gimp mask though!!  image

    And yes, I am easilly confused!  image

  • Not easy to avoid drinking it if you insist on talking while swimming. image

  • Soup Dragon wrote (see)

    Not easy to avoid drinking it if you insist on talking while swimming. image

    Ah!  I see where you're coming from!  Best organise a few litres of coke for the finish for Dusty then!!


  • And cheeseburgers!

  • Thanks guys this is of great help. Just been out for another open water swim, amazing conditions and weather - apart from the Tsunami warning which I later found out about - all good but maybe lesson learnt for next timeimage.

    Hopefully see some of you in Surrey in July.
  • Shall we lend him a bike for afters? Richmond Park isn't farimage

  • I did it a couple of years ago and loved it. Take it at your own, even pace and just enjoy it. You wan't take on that much water in an hour or so anyways. 

  • I think he's probably been and gone by now - this thread is 3 years old!

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