Open-water Training 2017


Coached sessions at London (ish) venues




RG Active:

Serpentine Swimming Club:

General Admission:

Tooting Bec Lido

Fit and Abel:


Training sessions are for SLSC members only. You can get a Club only membership costs for just £25 (£20 for 19-25 year olds) but with the club only membership you have to pay for your entry to the lido.  More details here:

General Admission:

Parliament Hill Lido

Tri For Fitness:

General Admission:

London Royal Docks

RG Active:

General Admission:

Hampstead Ponds

RG Active:

General Admission:

West Reservoir

RG Active:

TriScape: TBC

London Fields Tri Club:

Capital Tri:

Swim Open:

General Admission:  Note: in order to go swim there outside of organised sessions you need to have done an induction.  As the season progresses the availability decreases, so if you are thinking of using this facility, we would suggest booking your induction ASAP.

Brockwell Lido

Streamline Swims:

Windrush Tri Club:

General Admission:

Shepperton Lake

Swim Lab:

General Admission:


Swim For Tri:

Ham Lake

RG Active:

Heron Lake

General Admission:

Bray Lake

General Admission:


General Admission:

Liquid Leisure at Datchet

General Admission:


General Admission:


General Admission:


RG Active Relay Race 2016

imageThis was Team Mermaids third trip to the RG Active Relays. The first year Manda and I emerged victorious but the second year we were pipped into second place. Would it be third time lucky for Brian (standing in as merman in Manda’s place) and I?

The format is 6 laps of around 500m of Ham Lake (plus a little bit further on the start lap). You can have a team of between 2 and 6 people and the only rule is that you need to change over each lap by running up a hill to the start and high fiving.

Photo by Marsha @rgactive

Brian and I tossed a coin to see who was going to start and swim the slightly longer first lap. I lost and lined up with around 12 other teams at the start of the race. Everyone set off like a rocket and it took me until about half way up the straight to overtake all but the leading swimmer. I tried to catch him but ended the lap about 100m behind. Brian luckily however managed to overtake this team’s second swimmer during his first lap. From there we stayed in the lead finishing in a time of 50mins and 31 secs. Title regained!

It is always fun to do something a bit different and especially something which requires a bit of sprinting. I think it was a bit too enthusiastic on the first lap as I was pretty sluggish when I set out on the second but I soon warmed back up. I tried to start a bit more sedately on the third lap to have something left for a sprint finish.

We really enjoyed the event. The atmosphere was nice and relaxed and there was even cake at the end!

Photos by Marsha @rgactive

RG Active training race – July 2016

On Sunday 24 July family Kenny / Patrickson were up bright and early to head down to Ham Lake for one of the regular RG Active training races.

The training races are held three times a year and the format is very relaxed. The races start at 8am. You can either swim 1 lap (around 750m), 2 laps (around 1.2k), 4 laps (around 2.2k) or 6 laps (around 3.2km). You can register online in advance or just turn up and pay the £10 race fee on the day. You can decide how far you want to swim on the day or even while you are racing so if you are feeling strong you can stay in and vice versa.

Now I had not had the best preparation for the race as it was Lisa (of channel swimming fame) and Tom’s wedding the day before so we had rolled into bed at 1am slightly the worse for wear (or VERY the worse for wear in Dennis’ case). Max has no sympathy for a hangover however and he was up at 6am as usual. As I was up anyway I decided I might as well head down to the race. Dennis had to be bribed with the promise of a post swim breakfast though.

In the end I was glad I made the effort. The water was lovely and refreshing and I enjoyed plodding round my 6 laps. I was tempted to get out after 4 but I said to myself ‘what would Manda do?’ carry on of course so I did.

I finished in just under 50 mins which is hardly setting the world alight but I was happy with it given I was not at my best and had taken it quite steady.

It was really nice to catch-up with the RG Active crew as well. Anne (@annelovesthegym) was even sporting her Team Mermaids hat for the race. Max also enjoyed the morning playing with Oakley and Bijoux, Marsha and John’s dogs (or woof woofs if you are one and a half).

Later that day John was undertaking his fourth of seven challenges this year raising money for Bloodwise swimming and epic 200 x 100m off 2 minutes. Well done John!!

We would recommend the training races if you want a relaxed and casual race which allows you to practice all of the race elements you need for the big day such as sighting, mass starts and turning round buoys.

Winter River challenge: the results

So May is here and the 2015/16 Winter River Challenge is now officially over. The challenge was to swim the length of the 10 longest rivers in the UK (Nene, Spey, Clyde, Tay, Ure/Ouse, Wye, Great Ouse, Trent, Thames, Severn) over a seven month period.

Regular readers of the blog will know that we were VERY far behind our target so in April we asked (well begged) the swimming community, family and friends to help and ‘donate’ one swim to us during April to help us meet the target.

Thank you to all of the following people who donated the meters to us – we very much appreciate your help!

So how did we do in the end? Well we got sooooo close! We swam the length of the 9 of the longest rivers in the UK and we managed to get 94km down the UK’s longest river the Severn. In total we swam 2,087km out of a total distance of 2,347km. Of this 1,588km were swum by the core team and 499km were ‘donated’ by all of our lovely swimming friends and family.

To start with we were initial disappointed not to make the whole distance but then we took a step back and asked ourselves why we really did the challenge in the first place. There were two main reasons. Firstly, we wanted to have something to motivate ourselves to get off the sofa and go swimming on those cold, dark winters night. The challenge certainly helped with this. We were pretty much obsessed with meeting our weekly ‘target’ of 9,461m (this was the distance we each needed to swim every week to complete the full distance). This meant we had to swim two sets of 3km during the week and then a ‘long’ swim of 4km on the weekend. There were many swimming sessions we would have sacked off it if wasn’t for the challenge. As Manda kept on saying ‘those rivers will not swim themselves’.

The second reason was having something we could all do together at a team. Swimming is generally such a solo pursuit so it is nice to have something that you need to work with other people to achieve. So on that note, thank you to the core team Kate, Lisa, Hilary, Brian, David and Pivo for all their swimming over the last 7 months and a massive thank you to all of you who ‘donated’ your meters over the past month – we wouldn’t have got as far as we did without you.

The Accolades

The Winter River Challenge is at its heart a team challenge and a team victory but we do want to highlight some of the individual achievements during the challenge. The Winter River Challenge accolades therefore go to:

MOST METERS SWUM – Katie and Brian both swam a total of 293,375m each swimming one-eighth of the total required. Everyone managed to swim more than 100km over the seven month period which is not bad!

MOST METERS SWUM IN A SINGLE WEEK – the most meters swum in one week goes to Katie with 24,893, closely followed by David with 21,000 and Hilary 20,000.

MOST NUMBER OF WEEKS MEETING THE WEEKLY TARGET – Katie and Brian both hit the weekly target 17 weeks out of a total of 31 weeks

MOST DONATED METERS BY SINGLE PERSON – The most donated meters came from Mark Sheridan of Nemes Nutters with a huge 27,353m swam in one swim. Well done Mark!

MOST DONATED METERS BY A TEAM – DYST a Facebook community donated 97,596m but a massive shout out to RG Active, who despite being considerably smaller than the 13,000 strong DYST lot, managed a whopping 23,650m by 12 people.

MOST METERS SWUM WHILE PREGNANT – this award goes to Manda with a massive total of 223,114m swum while pregnant.

We hope everyone enjoys their summer of open water swimming. We will be writing about our adventures here on the blog and hope to see you at an event soon!

OW Swimming’s super weekend?

If you are a keen open water swimmer then the weekend of 3rd / 4th September 2016 has riches in abundance to offer in the UK.

1. You could swim the 5.25 miles from one end of Lake Coniston to the other in the Lake District.  (Saturday)


2. Or you could swim 10k down the Dart River in Devon.  (Saturday and Sunday)


3. You might prefer to swim in a circle, in which case you could swim the 6.5km around Brownsea Island near Poole. (Sunday)


4. If it is a new event you are after then you could try the Dock2Dock swim in London which takes you from Royal Victoria Dock through Royal Albert Dock and finally into King George V Dock. (Sunday)


5. If you prefer a fast venue you can swim a range of distances between 750m and 10k at Dorney Lake near Eton. (Saturday)


6. If Dorney Lake is a bit boring for you, you could nip next door and swim between 2k and 10k at Bray Lake.  (Saturday)


**Note this has been moved to the 21/8 so we hope to be there**

7. If you fancy something shorter and more of a team event then RG Active will be hosting their annual 3.2km relay down at Ham Lake (there is normally cake!)


8. You could swim NEARLY the length of Windermere.  We would personally recommend doing this properly rather than doing this event but the swim is a challenge whether fully doing Windermere or nearly doing Windermere.  (Sunday)

While it is great that open water swimming is so popular that there is enough of a demand to fill so many events on the same weekend, it seems a shame that they are not more spaced out so keen swimmers could enjoy more than one in a season.

Some of these races are iconic events and a highlight of the open water calendar, therefore, wouldn’t it be better if organisers made sure they put their swims on different dates?  Coniston and Dart are always on the same weekend but Brownsea has moved to be this weekend in 2016 (which we can only assume is tide related) but Dock2Dock swim is a new event to the calendar so presumably could have been on a different weekend.


That being said there is a possibility for doubling up.  The double up of Coniston and Dart is probably unrealistic but you could definitely do a Dorney/Bray swim on the Saturday and then head to either Dock 2 Dock or RG Active on the Sunday.  Anyone?

Team Mermaids Plan

So where will we be this weekend?  Team Mermaids will be up in the Lake District swimming Coniston.  As for 2017 who knows?!

RG Active relays 2015

From the longest race to the shortest race of the season. After the 14km Bridge to Bridge the weekend before, last weekend Manda and I competed in the RG Active relays. The race is 6 laps of Ham Lake, a lock that is fed from the Thames nr. Richmond, and is 3.2k in total so around a mile each. Each lap you have to hand over to your team mate, which involves running up a steep hill. This part nearly killed me. At the end of each lap I was totally out of breath and I am not sure that that was from the swimming!


While this isn’t the biggest challenge distance wise, it is lots of fun. It is great to hang out with all the RG Active peeps and chat about the seasons events. After the event Vicki and Emma had baked some cakes which were worth the trip alone.


This is the second year the relays have been run. Last year Manda and I were the winners so we were hoping for a repeat performance. In fact Manda has been doing some trash talk on Twitter which was making me a bit nervous! Alas it was not to be as we were beaten by a Teddington Masters team into second place by 3 mins (we swam 49m 29s compared to their 46m 31s). We will be back next year to try and regain the title!!