Jubilee River Swim 2016

The Jubliee River Swim was one of our favourites of 2015. This along with the fact that this was to be the first open water race of 2016 meant that excitement levels were high leading up to the swim. Everything was going well, we had been training and had even managed a few sessions in the lido and then….the weather turned.

Now I (Katie) am a bit of a whimp about swimming in cold water. 18 or 19 is perfect but anything lower than 15 and I am not keen. The lovely weather in May meant that the water was generally not too bad. Brian and I had managed a few 4km sessions in the lido and while I wouldn’t go as far as to say I was warm, I wasn’t freezing either.

The weather in the first week of June however was AWFUL. When Brian and I turned up at the lido for a pre race warm up swim on Saturday we were greeted with the news that it was a mere 13 degrees. We swam a mile. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fun. I was now seriously worried about swimming 10km in open water the next day.

The Jubliee River is an overflow channel of the Thames. For the race you swim downstream in four stretches getting out at certain points to walk around the weirs.  If you want more info about distances and format check out our blog from last year.

Team Rainbow swam a relay

Now I do like the Jubliee River Swim.  The course is absolutely lovely and it is a really calm and peaceful swim. To be frank, however, I had a pretty torrid time this year. I spent most of the swim feeling absolutely freezing. Every time I got out to walk round a weir I was shivering. Despite the sun on my back (it finally made an appearance) I think the 14.4 degree water was just too cold for me.


I was also pretty disappointed in my finishing time. Last year I finished in 2h 37m just 4 months after having a baby. This year I wanted to swim at least 2h 27m and I really wanted to swim  2h 20m – 2h 25m. I finally crossed the line in 2h 28m 07s. Not miles behind I guess but when you set yourself a goal sometimes a 1m might as well be 10.


David texted me later the day to ask what when wrong? The answer is I’m not sure. Was it the cold? Did I just not commit enough? Have I not done the right kind of training? Am I just still not back to ‘normal’ after the baby? Who knows!

Despite the above I will definitely be back again next year as I do really love the swim and would recommend it to people as a good season opener. Just fingers crossed for warmer water next year!


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