Event Info


  • Q. What is Swim Serpentine?
    A. Swim Serpentine is a one-day open water swimming event staged in the beautiful setting of the famous Serpentine in Hyde Park, the venue for the open water swimming competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

    Thousands of swimmers will have the chance to take part in events which include:

  • Half-Mile Swim: Taking in half a lap of the Serpentine, there is plenty of time to swim this distance at your leisure with a friend, race your mum or dad or just to try out an open water swimming event with an achievable but for some still challenging swim.
  • One-Mile Swim: A classic distance in the world of open water swimming events. Swim Serpentine takes place on the same course as the London 2012 Marathon Swimming Olympic event, with one full lap around the Serpentine making up the one-mile swim. This is the most popular of all the swim distances for Swim Serpentine with swimmers taking anything from 20 minutes through to one hour to complete the swim.
  • Two-Mile Swim: For those who would like to test themselves with two full (1.6km) laps of the Serpentine. Aimed at more experienced swimmers who have already completed a mile open water swim previously. A challenging two-lap swim set in a beautiful location.
  • Super Six: Swim six miles with a combination of one-mile and two-mile events during the day. All the ‘Super Sixers’ will start in the same one-mile wave, then how you complete the total distance is up to you. Choose to swim event after event, or take a break before you continue on with your swim.

    Every swimmer will be able to choose a start wave, with swimmers setting off at regular intervals during the day.


  • Q. How much is it to enter the mass-participation one-mile swim?
    A. The entry fee for each event is as follows:
    Half mile: £25
    One mile: £39
    Two miles: £49
    Super Six: £150
  • Q. How can I enter?
    A. Entries into all distances at the 2017 edition of Swim Serpentine are now closed.
  • Q. Can my swimming club make a group entry?
    A. No, we currently do not offer group entries into Swim Serpentine.
  • Q. When will I know if I have secured a place?
    A. You should receive an email confirming your place at Swim Serpentine. If you do not receive confirmation of your place, please contact the Helpdesk on 020 7902 0200.
  • Q. What time does the mass-participation swim start?
    A. There will be a number of different start waves going off at regular intervals during the day.
  • Q. Can I choose my start wave?
    A. We’ll send you an email asking you to choose your wave, so you’ll be able to swim with friends and family if you’d like to. If you do not choose a wave, you will be allocated one based on your predicted finishing time.

    If you have entered the London Classics you will automatically be added into a London Classics wave. This is done on a first-come-first-served basis – unfortunately you won’t have the option to choose a wave.
  • Q. How old do you need to be to participate?
    A. Age restrictions for the 2017 event were as follows:
    Half mile: 12 years and above on Saturday 16 September 2017
    One mile: 16 years and above on Saturday 16 September 2017
    Two miles: 16 years and above on Saturday 16 September 2017
    Super Six: 18 years and above on Saturday 16 September 2017
  • Q. What level of swimmer do I need to be to enter the mass-participation swim?
    A. You must be able to comfortably swim your chosen distance in open water, or double the distance in a pool non-stop.
  • Q. Can I swim breaststroke?
    A. Yes, breaststroke is allowed
  • Q. Is there a map of the course?
    A. A map of the course will be available to view in the build-up to the event.
  • Q. Do I have to wear a wetsuit?
    A. Wetsuits are optional when the water temperature is 15 degrees or over. However, for safety reasons, all swimmers in the event must either wear a wetsuit or use a tow-float.

    Wetsuits, swimwear and swim accessories are available to hire or purchase from HUUB Design. Visit the HUUB Swim Serpentine page for more details.

    Tow-floats are available to hire or buy from Swim Secure.

    A small number of wetsuits and tow-floats may also be available to hire/buy on the day.
  • Q. Can I wear a tri suit without having to use a tow-float as well?
    A. You will be required to wear a tow-float as well. It is the buoyancy from the neoprene in wetsuits that is important – a tri suit is just a long swimming costume.

    As we will have 5,000 swimmers taking part in the event, our priority is to get everyone out of the water safe and sound. If a swimmer has a serious medical issue on the water, then the buoyancy provided by the wetsuit or tow-float should allow for us to locate and extract the swimmer in a speedy manner.
  • Q. Can I swim in fancy dress or a different costume?
    A. Fancy dress is only allowed if it does not inhibit your swim stroke or swimmers around you. Safety comes first and the water safety team's decision on whether or not a fancy dress costume will be permitted is final.
  • Q. Are there pace setters in the swim?
    A. No.
  • Q. Do I get a race number?
    A. Yes – all swimmers will have colour-coded swim hats and your number will be written on your hand.
  • Q. Is there a cut off time to finish my swim?
    A. We try to allow all swimmers to finish their swim where possible. However, our water safety team do have the authority to pull people out of the water if they believe the swimmer is struggling. The only strict cut off times we will have are at the end of the day as we have to finish the event by an agreed time.

    So, swimmers in the last swim of the day will need to be able to swim at a pace no slower than 45 minutes for one mile. We also do not like to leave swimmers in the water when the elite race is underway (to avoid any conflict, injury or people being 'swum over'), so the swim immediately before the start of the elite races has a 50 minute per mile pace cut off time.
  • Q. Will I get an official finishing time?
    A. Yes – all swimmers get finish times, which are available on our results page after the event.
  • Q. Are there prizes for the fastest swimmers?
    A. The mass participation events are not races, with the main focus on fun. However, specially designed age group medals will be mailed out post-event to the top three male and female finishers in the following age group categories:

    One and Two-Mile Swims: 16-24 years old, then 10-year age bands starting at 25 years old.

    The Half-Mile Swim is a fun event, although the top three male and female finishers in the 12/13 and 14/15 age categories, who are unable to enter the longer events, will also be awarded medals.
  • Q. If I am unable to swim, can someone else use my entry?
    A. Places in Swim Serpentine are not transferable under any circumstances (see terms and conditions of entry).

    Anyone attempting to swim using another person’s entry will be disqualified and banned for life from all events organised by London Marathon Events Ltd.

  • Q. If I am unable to swim, do I get my entry fee refunded?
    A. Unfortunately we cannot refund entry fees.
  • Q. Do I have to collect a registration pack or will this be sent to me through the post?
    A. Your registration pack will be sent to you in the post.
  • Q. I need a hotel in London for the weekend of Swim Serpentine – any advice?
    A. Check out www.visitlondon.com/where-to-stay for accommodation ideas for every budget.
  • Q. I have moved. How do I let you know my change of address?
    A. Please email changeofaddress@londonmarathonevents.co.uk with your name, date of birth, telephone number, old address and new address. Your address details will then be changed in our system and a confirmation will be emailed to you when this has been done. Please do not call the helpdesk with changes of address as these can only be processed by email.


  • Q. How do I know what to do on the day?
    A. All the information you need will be enclosed in your registration pack, which you should receive at the start of September. You will also be able to download a condensed version of the Final Instructions.
  • Q. What time does Swim Serpentine start?
    A. Swim Serpentine began with the Elite Para races at 09:00 on Saturday 16 September 2017. The first one-mile wave set off at 09:40.
  • Q. What time should I get to the Serpentine?
    A. We recommend you arrive at the Serpentine at least one hour before your start wave so you can familiarise yourself with the layout of the event and allow time to get changed and check in ahead of your swim.
  • Q. What’s the best way to get to the Serpentine?
    A. We recommend that you travel on the Tube. The closest Tube to the event area is Lancaster Gate on the Central line. Alight here and the event area is a 700m walk across Hyde Park. You can also alight at Marble Arch (Central line), Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly line) or Knightsbridge (Piccadilly line) and the event area is around 1km from each Tube station. For bus information, visit www.tfl.gov.uk.

    Visit the Royal Parks website to find out more about getting to Hyde Park.

  • Q. Will there be road closures during the event weekend?
    A. The only road closed during the event is Serpentine Road, which is in Hyde Park and immediately adjacent to the Serpentine.
  • Q. Is there parking available on the day?
    A. Triangle Car Park, adjacent to the Serpentine at the north end of Serpentine Bridge, will not be open over the event weekend. Visit the Royal Parks’ website for more information on other parking in Hyde Park. We recommend that swimmers and spectators avoid coming by car as parking spaces are limited.


  • Q. How can I meet my family and friends after I have finished my swim?
    A. There will be a meet and greet area for families and friends – this will be after swimmers have exited the water and passed through the check-out area.


  • Q. Where are the best places to spectate from?
    A. There will be grandstands in the event area for the public to use as well as spectator areas around the Serpentine.
  • Q. Where are the best places for someone in a wheelchair to watch?
    A. There will be a public wheelchair viewing area adjacent to the grandstands.
  • Q. Is there any entertainment in Hyde Park?
    A. We are aiming for a festival atmosphere over the event weekend and there will be fun activities for the whole family at Swim Serpentine.
  • Q. Is there parking available on the day?
    A. We recommend using public transport to get to the event. There is limited parking in Hyde Park – find out more here.


  • Q. How can I swim for charity?
    A. If you would like to use your place at Swim Serpentine to raise money for charity, please visit our charity listings page.

These FAQs aim to answer the majority of questions asked by swimmers, charities and spectators. If your question is not covered by these FAQs, please contact the Swim Serpentine helpdesk on 020 7902 0200. The helpdesk can be busy so please be patient and your call will be answered as soon as possible.