Thousands of swimmers set to take the plunge at 2023 Swim Serpentine
- Open water swimming festival taking place in Hyde Park tomorrow (Saturday 16 September)
More than 6,500 swimmers have signed up to take part in Swim Serpentine tomorrow (Saturday 16 September), the UK’s largest one-day open water swimming festival, in London’s famous Hyde Park.
Participants ranging in age from 12 to 86 will be swimming in one of four distances, from half a mile to six miles, in the iconic Serpentine lake, as the event returns for the first time since 2021.
Among those taking part will be a record number of people aiming to complete the London Classics – the capital’s endurance challenge which requires people to complete the London Marathon, RideLondon 100 bike ride and the two miles at Swim Serpentine. An estimated
1,800 are due to complete the London Classics at Swim Serpentine on Saturday and get their hands on the official medal.
Among those set to complete the London Classics is Giles Taylor, from London, who was diagnosed as paralysed in 2019 after a pool accident, but throughout his recovery has since completed the London Marathon (2021) and Ford RideLondon-Essex 100 (2023) and is set to complete the triad by finishing two miles at Swim Serpentine.
He said: “With anything in life it’s the unknown that’s particularly scary, but that can be the fuel for so many things. Things don’t work anywhere near as well as they did but I’m still grateful for where I am and now I’m hoping to complete the London Classics.” Read Giles’s full story here.
There are several other notable and inspiring individuals including celebrities, charity swimmers, and participants taking part. To read more of their stories, click here.
This year’s Swim Serpentine has a Why We Swim campaign, which seeks to inspire more diverse people to take to the water through ambassadors such as:
- Model Shareefa J who discusses the barriers she’s faced in accessing exercise opportunities and her difficult road to becoming a confident swimmer. Read more here.
- Wild-water adventurer Calum Hudson who describes how wild swimming has reconnected him to his childhood passion ahead of taking part in Swim Serpentine on his birthday. Read more here.
- Activist Nahla Mahmoud who sheds light on the menstrual barriers to swimming and seeks to inspire more marginalised women to embrace swimming. Read more here.
- Co-founder of Swim Dem Crew, Peigh Asante, who describes how the inner-city club has grown and how it fosters a community spirit. Read more here.
Other notable names coming to Swim Serpentine include Ladi Ajayi, a contestant in the 2023 Race Across the World TV series who will be taking on the half-mile distance, and Nadia Eide, a soprano singer from the 2021 series of The Voice UK who will be completing her London Classics at the event, having already previously done both the TCS London Marathon and Ford RideLondon-Essex 100 this year.
Nadia said: “Aiming to complete all three London Classics this year has been such a brilliant challenge and I hope to show my sons how badass women can be! As an ambassador for Earth Trust, I am passionate about environmental sustainability and getting more people interested in enjoying all the wonder nature has to offer.”
Xavier Sibley, 12, is the youngest participant and will be completing the half-mile course with a mixture of nerves and excitement. The determined youngster is looking forward to his half mile swim as he always “likes to work towards a challenge or event” and has taken on junior triathlons in the past, but he’s also “feeling nervous” as this will be his biggest event yet. That won’t stop him from enjoying his challenge and cheering on his uncle who’s also completing his London Classics on Saturday.
Participants from nationalities across the globe will be taking part at Swim Serpentine with swimmers from Europe, North America, South America, Oceania, Asia and Africa all registered to take part.
Brought to you by the team behind the TCS London Marathon and Ford RideLondon-Essex, Swim Serpentine is the biggest single day open water swimming event in the country. It began in 2016 and this year is the sixth edition of the event. Last year’s event could not be held due to Hyde Park being used for preparations for state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
The 2023 event starts at 08:10 and includes waves to suit every ability, with a half-mile open to anyone aged 12 and over, a one-mile distance (including a Women only one-mile wave), two-mile swims which form a part of the London Classics, and a Super Six event which sees participants lap the course six times for a total of six miles.