ASA South East Region website

Open water


South East Region runs Championships at regional level and relies on sub regions and clubs to provide the next layers of competition. Swimmers competing at the South East Championships can post times to qualify for National events. (see below for information on levels/licensing)

We provide leadership, with Regional competitions and long distance pool events to encourage indoor swimmers to move “outdoors”.

The Regional Swimming Group advises the Regional Management Board on swimming matters and organises Regional swimming competitions. You can find membership of the Group here.

About competitive Open Water swimming

Although most people now think of swimming as the indoor pool programme, competitive swimming has its roots very much in taking to the water outside.

Marathon swimming rose to significance after the International Olympic Committee listed a 10km race as one of the events for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Marathon races can take place in any large outdoor body of water: seas, lakes, rivers, canals, reservoirs. The distance of each event varies from 1km to 80km, but at major competitive level, the typical distances are 5km, 10km and 25km.

Swimming in open water has a long and colourful history dating back as far as 36BC, when the Japanese organised the first open water races. The Romans held high-profile races in the Tiber, when thousands would crowd along the banks to watch and cheer. The Knights in the middle ages reputedly had to swim in full armour as one of their seven required agilities.

Although marathon races had been held for over a hundred years it was not until 1986 that FINA, swimming’s world governing body, officially recognised the event again and added it to the international competition calendar.

Rules around the use of wetsuits for competitive open water swimming have been introduced from 2017.

For more information on competing in Open Water events as a Masters swimmer please click here.

Fina Rules

Changes to FINA Rules that were agreed at a Special Congress in Doha. These changes have been implemented by British Swimming with effect from 1st January 2015. Fina Rules Update – Dec 2014

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