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Take a Swim in Hyde Park in London

Do you want to expand your open water experiences and try something new? Make sure you sign up for September’s Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine, an open water festival in the middle of London!

In Hyde Park, in the heart of London, the Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine takes place. Rain is making the sky grey but next to the Serpentine lake it’s bursting with life. The area is made colourful by people in swim caps of different colours and out in the water floats a large sculpture, the London Mastaba by Christo, which consists of 7506 barrels stacked on top of each other.

Swimmers on course with The London Mastaba in the background during Swim Serpentine. Photo: Bob Martin for Swim Serpentine

Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine is an open water festival which, when we visit it, is taking place for the third time. Despite the young age of the festival, the event has already become a ‘must do’ event in the calendar for open water swimmers. The festival is arranged in, and next to, the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park, the arena for the open water competitions during the London 2012 Olympics. London Marathon Events, the organisers of the Virgin Money London Marathon and Prudential RideLondon, launched the event in 2016.

Swimmers on course during Swim Serpentine.
Photo: Bob Martin for Swim Serpentine

Given that they’ve only arranged the festival for three years, you’ll be very impressed by the organisation; you can really tell that they’re professionals, says Åsa Bergström from Vansbrosimningen.

During the festival, three different races were arranged in open water: half mile (approx. 800m), one mile (about 1.6km) and two mile (about 3.2km). All races started and finished in the same place, which made the event very spectator-friendly. Right next to the start and finish area there was free grandstand seating where the spectators had a great view of the race course.

Åsa Bergström swam in the Serpentine in 2018.

Åsa you swam the Half-Mile race, how was that?

– Before the start, there was the opportunity to feel the water in a heating area and there was also joint heating on land. Before the start, we received information about the safety and some tips before the race. At the finish, we received a warm welcome from the marshals, a nice medal and the opportunity to warm ourselves in hot tubs, says Åsa and continues,

– There was no shower after the finish but the heated changing rooms made it possible to get warm quickly. As a happy exerciser I think the race was fun and different, I never thought I would swim in the middle of London, says Åsa Bergström.

Photo: Bob Martin for Swim Serpentine

In addition to the races, the festival offered a fair with exhibitors, lectures and film shows. All in all, a super-nice event with lots of happy officials, organisers and participants.

– I can warmly recommend both experienced and less experienced swimmers to participate in Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine, Åsa Bergström concludes.

Finisher medals for Swim Serpentine.
Photo: Bob Martin for Swim Serpentine

2019’s Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine will be held on September 21st.

About Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine

When: September 21, 2019

Participation fee: From £25

Info: swimserpentine.co.uk

Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine is an open water festival in the heart of London. The festival is organised during a day by the London Marathon Events in and around Lake Serpentine in Hyde Park, the arena for the open water races during the London Olympics in 2012. The festival started in 2016 and at the 2018 event, there were 6,000 participants of all ages.

Children with Cancer UK Swim Serpentine is part of The London Classics, a solid challenge that includes the festival’s two-mile race, the London Marathon and the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.

Races

Half-Mile Swim (approx. 800m)

Half Mile Swim is the festival’s shortest race and is perfect for those who want to try out open water swimming for the first time. To complete the race, the participants swim half a turn around the track in the lake Serpentine.

One-mile Swim (approx. 1.6km)

One-Mile Swim is the festival’s most popular race where participants swim in anything from 20 minutes up to an hour to complete the race. To complete the race, the participants swim one lap around the course.

Two-mile Swim (approx. 3.2km)

Two-Mile Swim is the race for the more experienced swimmer who has already tested One-Mile and is ready for a bigger challenge. To complete the race, the participants swim two laps around the course.