ASA South East Region website

Get into open water swimming


With lakes, beaches and lochs of all shapes and sizes in Great Britain, open water swimming scoffs at lane ropes and pool walls – it knows no boundaries.

If you’re looking to step up and challenge yourself away from the pool then open water swimming is the perfect way to take your swimming in a new direction.

While you must be competent, you don’t have to be a superstar swimmer to take on open water – it’s a fairly simple transition from the pool – and the more you do it, the better you’ll be.

There are risks of course: swimming alone is not recommended, the temperature and choppiness of the water can be difficult to contend with and weather conditions can make things interesting.

But wearing a wetsuit helps insulate against the cold and keeps you buoyant and open water swimmers will tell you that this all adds to the fun!

Is it popular?

Yes! Open water swimming is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. You can enter a triathlon, go on a swimming holiday, swim in a mass participation event, or take a personal challenge along a river of just going for a long swim along the shore line.

Where are the cleanest beaches?

The Good Beach Guide is used by almost half a million people every year. As well as providing information on bathing water quality there’s information on weather, travel, lifeguards, facilities and activities at over 1,000 UK beaches.

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