Event Info

Swimmer Info

Final Instructions

The Final Instructions e-magazine for all participants in Swim Serpentine 2018 is available to download below.


Swimmers set off at the following times at the 2018 edition of Swim Serpentine.

1 Half Mile 08:30
2 Para Swimmers One Mile (Invitation Only) 09:00
3 One Mile (Women Only) 09:10
4 One Mile 09:45
5 One Mile 10:15
6 Two Mile 10:45
7 Two Mile 11:45
8 One Mile 12:45
9 One Mile 13:15
10 Two Mile 13:45
11 Two Mile 14:45
12 Two Mile 15:45

Your Swim Pack

All participants will receive a Swim Pack before the event.

Your Swim Pack will contain the following items:

  • Coloured swim hat which matches your wave colour. You must wear this hat as it displays your start wave colour. If you have a favourite swim hat that you usually swim in, you can wear this underneath your Swim Serpentine swim hat – but please take care not to overheat if it is warm on Swim Day.
  • Timing tag and strap which must be worn on your ankle. Make sure the strap is over your skin not your wetsuit, if you wear one.
  • Two bands showing your name and swimmer number. One must be worn on your wrist and the other is to attach to the bag you bring along to leave at our baggage drop while you swim. 
  • Four numbered transfers to be placed on your body or wetsuit. These transfers will be used to identify you for your official photographs. If you do not attach the transfers, it will not be possible to identify you for your photos. A wipe will be provided at the Finish Area to remove the transfers after you swim without damaging your wetsuit.

If any items are missing from your Swim Pack, please contact helpdesk@londonmarathonevents.co.uk with your full name, date of birth, missing items, and postal address.

London Classics Finishers

If you are set to complete the London Classics at Swim Serpentine, you will pick up your London Classics medal from the collection point in the Finish Area after your swim.

Wearing a wetsuit or using a tow-float

Everyone who takes part in the Swim Serpentine events must either wear a full length wetsuit or use a tow-float for safety reasons.

If the temperature of the water in the Serpentine is 15°C or above, wetsuits are optional at Swim Serpentine. If you choose not to wear a wetsuit, you must use a tow-float.

If the water temperature is under 15°C, wetsuits are compulsory.

Water temperature guidelines

The weather in the weeks leading up to the swim will determine the water temperature.

Below is some important information on the water temperature and how it could affect your swim.

15-29°C half mile Optional 1hr 10 mins
15-29°C 1 mile Optional 1hr 40 mins
15-29°C 2 miles Optional 2hr 50 mins
13.5-14.9°C half mile Compulsory 1hr
13.5-14.9°C 1 mile Compulsory 1hr 10mins
13.5-14.9°C 2 miles Compulsory 1hr 30 mins

*Maximum time in water times have been reached based on guidance from our medical & water safety team, in line with governing body guidelines and medical evidence around swimming in water of 14°C and below. These times will be used by our team on-site to monitor swimmers still in the water, and to enable them to assess the welfare of any swimmer still in the water, exceeding these times. Swimmers may be permitted to continue swimming in excess of the maximum time in the water, providing they are assessed fit to do so by our safety team. Any swimmers showing signs of hypothermia will be asked to exit the water for their own safety and well-being.

Water temperature and reduced distance (only applicable when water temperature is under 13.5°C)
13.4°C & under half mile Compulsory N/A 45 mins
13.4°C & under 1 mile Compulsory 1 mile
(800m option if slower than 45 min per mile pace)
45 mins
13.4°C & under 2 mile Compulsory 1 mile
(800m option if slower than 45 min per mile pace)
45 mins

Keep an eye on the Swim Serpentine Facebook page for up-to-date water temp in the build up to the event.

Medical Information

We are happy for people even with serious medical conditions to swim, but only with their GP’s and/or specialist’s agreement. If this applies to you, please send us details of your condition and the treatment with your name and swimming number. Address the envelope to Medical Director, mark it ‘confidential’ and send it to:

Swim Serpentine
London Marathon Events Ltd
P O Box 1234
London SE1 8RZ

We cannot give individual swimmers advice but are happy to advise your GP.

Swimmer Safety

The Swim Serpentine course will be clearly marked by large buoys, and a water safety team is on hand to assist any swimmers on the day if needed. All swimmers should complete their chosen distance in full while training in a pool.

Swimmers should also practise swimming in the open water before the event.

Your time

Finish times from the 2018 edition of Swim Serpentine are now available to view.

Age Group Prizes

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.


If you have a specific question or issue, check out the FAQs here.