Event Info

Festival Info

The 2019 Swim Serpentine festival featured talks and short films that celebrate the inspiring characters and incredible adventures from the world of open water swimming. The festival will be hosted by Jonathan Cowie, Editor of Outdoor Swimmer magazine, and Contributing Editor Alice Gartland.

Talk: Swimming 'The Minch'

Colleen Blair – Swimming 'The Minch' at Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine

Accomplished Scottish swimmer Colleen Blair has been swimming in open water since the age of seven. She has swum in the UK, Ireland, Holland and America doing marathon swims and challenges ranging from 17k to 50k. Colleen swam the length of Loch Ness at the age of 19 and was the first person to swim across the notorious Pentland Firth, from mainland Scotland to the Orkney Islands.

Colleen shares how over 30 years of open water swimming led her to become the first person to swim 25 miles from the Isle of Lewis to mainland Scotland.

Talk: Swim Dem Crew

Swim Dem Crew at Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine

Swim Dem Crew are an urban swim club who believe in the power of community. Founded in the summer of 2013, their mission is to get more people swimming, make the sport more inclusive, less solitary, and a lot more social.

Nathaniel Cole and Peigh Asant, the co-founders of Swim Dem Crew, discuss how the idea came about and swimming as a tool to empower people.

Talk: Lindsey Cole

Lindsey Cole

Open water swimmer, adventurer and environmentalist Lindsey Cole became the Urban Mermaid, swimming the length of the River Thames, as a mermaid, to raise awareness about plastic pollution.

Lindsey will be sharing her experiences from her 'Swimming With Strangers' adventure after spending six months travelling across the UK.

Films: Swimming Around the World

Inspiring open water swim films at Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine

The Tonic of the Sea: Katie swims off the rocks of Penzance nearly everyday of the year. Swimming has helped her overcome some of the struggles that life all too often throws our way. The hope is that her story may help others who are faced with similar challenges.

Chasing the Frog: The Frog Graham is a swimming and fell running challenge in the Lake District. Covering 40 miles and 16,000 feet of ascent plus four lake swims. This is Dan Duxbury’s tale of how he beat the current record by two hours.

Chasing the Sublime: A mesmeric look at why adventurers adventure, and swimmers swim. Shot in Loch Hourn, Scotland, in 2018, the film documents the swimming adventures of Kate Rew and Kari Furre of the Outdoor Swimming Society.

AMA: Performed and directed by French freediver, dancer, and filmmaker Julie Gautier, AMA is a video performance project that follows the artist’s graceful underwater movements.

The Swimmer: Stephen Redmond from West Cork was the first person ever to complete the world famous ‘Ocean’s Seven’ challenge. This film looks at the beauty and the poetry of Stephen’s passion and delves into the peculiar, solitary psyche of an open-water swimmer who spends much of his time immersed in a world underwater.

Well Preserved: There is no better way to start the day than an early morning sea swim. It’s physical, mental, spiritual, communal - all wrapped up in a simple dip in the sea. Join a group of swimmers in the Faroe Islands as they share why they swim.

This event is curated by Kendal Mountain Festival

Also at the festival...

  • Children with Cancer UK will be hosting a superhero-themed children's area with fun and games for all to enjoy
  • Warm up for your swim, then relax and recover with Club La Santa
  • Swimming accessories will be available to buy from Huub, official wetsuit and swimming accessories partner of Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine
  • Swim Secure will have a limited number of tow-floats available
  • Open water art exhibition curated by artist Nancy Farmer
  • Charity meet and greet areas provided by Alzheimer's Society, Macmillan Cancer Support and MS-UK where swimmers can celebrate their achievements with supporters