The Copenhagen Swim

TrygFonden Copenhagen Swim

What? A 2km swim circuit of Denmark's capital city
When? Saturday 31 August 2019
Entry fee: From £55

Colin Hill is the Swim Director of Swim Serpentine and a hugely experienced open water swimmer. He has swum solo across the English Channel in 10 hours 30 minutes, completed several two way Windermere solo swims (21 Miles) and has taken part in many open water races and crossings around the world, including Winter Swimming World Championship races in Siberia, Latvia and Finland. 

Colin is based next to Ullswater in the Lake District, where he also spends his time coaching as well as guiding open water swimmers.

He was the Technical Operations Manager for the Olympic Games Marathon Swimming, London 2012 and was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2017.

We caught up with Colin to find out what makes the Copenhagen Swim so special…

“Some swimming events are just that little bit more special because the only time you can actually swim on that section of water is during the event itself when, for example, commercial boat traffic is stopped once a year to allow the swim event to take place,” says Colin. “That is the case for two of my favourite overseas city swims: the Hong Kong Cross Harbour Swim and the Copenhagen Swim.

The Copenhagen Swim

“The Copenhagen Swim is a wonderful event that I’ve been fortunate enough to attend twice. The first time I went by myself to swim and watch the elite race. I enjoyed the event so much that the following year I took my family to enjoy the beautiful city of Copenhagen. A visit to the city centre’s Tivoli Gardens (historic theme park) is a must, as well as swimming in the event, of course!

“The Copenhagen Swim is a two kilometre circuit on the city’s canals, so you start and finish in the same location. This is great from a logistics point of view – and there is a baggage marquee for storing your gear while you are swimming. 

"It's a great idea to walk back along the swim route, just to fully appreciate the views."

-Colin Hill

“The starting point is next to the Royal Danish Library (known locally as the Black Diamond, due to its striking modern architecture), and the banks of the sea-water-filled canals are lined with spectators, who create a great atmosphere by cheering on all the swimmers. 

“The swimmers enter the water in small groups at regular intervals throughout the day, which ensures that the swim course is never too crowded. There is a large number of lifeguards and safety kayakers lining the route, which is always good to see.

“The course takes swimmers on an almost square route under nine bridges, which adds to the fun, as these make perfect spectator viewing points. On the swim route you see some seriously impressive buildings and after your swim it’s a great idea to walk back along the swim route itself, just to fully appreciate the views. The water is clean, pleasant to swim in and visibility in the water is very good. 

Swimmers wave to the camera

“The event itself has over 4,000 swimmers and wetsuits are optional. The water temperature when I participated was just over 18 degrees and most swimmers wore wetsuits. 

“Each swimmer receives a medal at the finish and there was a large food marquee close to the event registration area, which was a great place to socialise with fellow swimmers after the swim.

“If you want to do some extra swimming in the city, there is a public lido on the canal within walking distance of the event site. Throughout the event I also met a lot of friendly Danish open water swimmers who offered to take me along to their local swimming spots.”

Entries are now open for the 2019 event. A 4.5km team relay option is also available.