Header Faqs

What challenges are available?

Open Water Swimathon is designed to suit all levels of fitness, ability and age. This is your swim – from 500m to Triple 5k, there is a challenge for you! Select from the below to see a full list of available distances:

Open Water Swimathon


Triple 5k Challenge

Where is Open Water Swimathon held?

Open Water Swimathon is held at numerous outdoor swim venues across the UK. Our full venue list will be available in due course.

If you are unable to get to any of the host venues, or cannot make any of their session times, you can still take part through the flexible MySwimathon entry option! Click here to find out more.

We are always on the lookout for more incredible host venues for Open Water Swimathon! If you swim at a different venue and would like for them to be part of Open Water Swimathon 2021, please ask them to get in touch with us by emailing info@swimathon.org.

When can I take part?

Open Water Swimathon is taking place at host venues with sessions on the weekend of 10 -12 September 2021. The flexible MySwimathon entry option, which allows you to take part anywhere and swim any distance you like, takes place over the longer time period of 3 -19 September 2021.

Is there an alternative to competing over the Swimathon weekend?

You can still take on one of the specified distances with MySwimathon or MySwimathon Lite! MySwimathon allows you to swim one of the set distances at any location of your choice between Friday 3 September – Sunday 19 September 2021*. 

* Please note if you enter under MySwimathon the leisure centre you wish to swim at will charge you to enter the pool.

What is the equivalent of my challenge in pool lengths?



Lengths of a 25m pool

Triple 5k (15k)















What is the Swimathon Festival?

For the first time ever, Open Water Swimathon and pool-based Swimathon will take place over the same weekend (10 -12 September) as part of the brand new Swimathon Festival. The Swimathon Festival is an extension and demonstration of our #SwimForAll ethos. We are encouraging everyone to participate in a way that suits them – be it indoor, outdoor, free, paid, virtual or live. It's the truest celebration of swimming ever held in the UK. Swimming is back in all forms, it's back for everyone – and we want to celebrate with you!

What is MySwimathon Weekly and how do I take part?

MySwimathon Weekly is a weekly swimming challenge for any member of the Swimathon community who wants to track and improve their swimming ability. Swimmers record one Weekly swim each week and upload it to their MySwimathon Hub area. Swimmers can choose to swim either 400m, 800m or 1.5k each week. Swimmers can only swim one of these distances each week. More on this coming soon!

How do I register?

Entries for Open Water Swimathon 2021 are now closed.

When does registration close?

Registration for Open Water Swimathon 2021 is now closed.

How much does it cost to register?

Entry Type

Standard (50% launch price)

Concession (50% launch price)*

Full Price

Individual 500m, 1.5k, 2.5k & 5k




Team 1.5k & 5k




Triple 5k




Individual MySwimathon




Team MySwimathon




MySwimathon Lite




Please note: For all venue-based entries, £2.50 of your entry fee will be donated to the venue you swim at following long term closures due to the pandemic. This charge applies to venue entries only, so is not added on if you enter via MySwimathon.

* Denotes concessionary price for unemployed, under 16s, disabled, full-time students and senior citizens aged 60 years and above. For team concessions, the majority (over half) must fall into one of these categories to qualify for the concessionary price. Teams are not separated into age specific categories. Please note: Concession prices will not apply during the 50% discount period

** 3 entries for the price of 2

Why has £2.50 been added to my entry fee?

After a particularly challenging year, swimming venues across the UK are in desperate need of help to be able to continue to function as the heart of their communities. Given the scale of our Swimathon and Open Water Swimathon audiences, we think it only right to utilise our voice to inspire support from our regular swimmers, those that use and keep venues running on a day-to-day basis. This year, £2.50 is added to every venue-based entry in our Support Swimming campaign, which will go towards supporting Open Water Swimathon venues after such a tough year, with all of that fee going to the venue you register to swim at.

Want to enter Open Water Swimathon for free?

This year for the first time ever we have a brand-new way of taking on your favourite Open Water Swimathon challenge – MySwimathon Lite.

Extending on from our MySwimathon ethos of ‘Your swim, your way!’, we have removed all barriers for entry to bring you a free version of MySwimathon.

All you have to do is fundraise £50 through your JustGiving page to qualify for your exclusive Open Water Swimathon cap and medal.

You can read more about MySwimathon Lite here.

Will the entry price stay the same throughout the year?

The entry fee for Open Water Swimathon will be discounted throughout the year.

How do I know what speed to register myself/team under?

Here's a rough guide to help when entering your Open Water Swimathon speed...








sub 15mins




sub 30mins




sub 1hr




sub 1.5hrs

How do I register my team?

The team manager must create the team. Once the team is registered and paid for by the manager, they can then invite team members through their participant dashboard.

I’d like to swim more than once over different days…

You are more than welcome to swim in as many organised Open Water Swimathon sessions as you wish over the event weekend. For each swim you wish to do, you will need to create a new registration, paying the entry fee for each place. We then suggest that you only use one of your fundraising pages when sending your link out for sponsorship. You can mention in your 'personal message' that you are taking on more than one challenge. You could even get in the Festival spirit and take part in our pool-based event Swimathon!

Can I take part in both Swimathon and Open Water Swimathon?

Yes, we encourage it! For the first time ever, Open Water Swimathon and Swimathon will take place over the same weekend, in the first ever Swimathon Festival. Why not take on a swim in open water on one of the days, and a swim at a pool on another day? To find out more about Swimathon, click here.

Which credit/debit cards do you accept?

Swimathon accepts Mastercard, Maestro/Switch, Visa and Visa Debit. 

How long will I have to complete my swim?

Individual swimmers and teams will have 3 hours to complete their Open Water Swimathon challenge no matter which distance they have signed up for. If you have any queries around completing your swim in under 3 hours please liaise with the venue directly. 

How many people can make up a team?

Teams can be made up of 2-5 people.

What are the rules?

Click here to view the Open Water Swimathon rules.

Is there an age limit?

Each venue has their own minimum age requirements, which are highlighted in the registration process.

Do I have to wear a wetsuit?

For safety reasons, all swimmers must wear a wetsuit when taking part in Open Water Swimathon.

If I do not want to swim, can I still get involved?

The great thing about Open Water Swimathon is that you don't even have to get wet to get involved! Many venues require volunteers to record times, and support and encourage their swimmers. Click here to fill out a volunteer form.

When do I need to arrive at my session?

Please aim to arrive at your session at least 30 minutes before the swim time so you have enough time to get changed and be ready to swim at the start of the session time.

Will I receive a medal?

All swimmers will receive a medal for completing their challenge. Those taking part in an organised Open Water Swimathon session will receive their medal immediately after their swim. Those taking part in the standard MySwimathon will be sent a medal via post after uploading their challenge time online. Those taking part in MySwimathon Lite will be sent a medal once they fundraise £50 on their JustGiving page and upload their challenge time online.

Please note, 5k medals will only be given to those who complete the individual 5k challenge.

If you are taking part in the Triple 5k challenge, you’ll receive our exclusive Triple 5k medal.

Will I receive a cap?

All swimmers will receive a cap to wear when taking on their challenge. Those taking part in an organised Open Water Swimathon session will receive their cap at the venue. Those taking part in the standard MySwimathon will be sent a cap via post when they sign up. Those taking part in MySwimathon Lite will be sent a cap once they fundraise £50 on their JustGiving page.

Will I receive a certificate?

All swimmers will be able to download their personal certificates from their Swimmer Login Area after the event. 

The venue I am swimming at says I need to have a NOWCA wristband, how can I get one?

Some of our venues are affiliated with NOWCA, which is an open water safety and management system. If you are swimming at a NOWCA venue, you will be required to order a wristband prior to the event. The wristbands are re-usable any time you swim at a NOWCA venue and will provide you with a record of your time every time you swim. You need to purchase your NOWCA wristband in advance of the event here for a one-off fee of £12. Make sure to specify the venue you will be swimming at, and the wristband will be there when you arrive.

We will contact all those that this applies to in due course.

Your NOWCA wristband tracks your swim performance, it's exactly the same as wearing a chip at a triathlon. Everything is recorded online for you and from here you'll be able to manage your leisure swimming and racing profile. You receive a personal email with your swim stats every time you swim.

Can I take part in Open Water Swimathon if I have epilepsy?

It is recommended that swimmers with a history of epilepsy should ‘buddy’ up so that there is another swimmer alongside them. If a swimmer has been seizure free for a year they can compete as normal. 

How do I submit my MySwimathon result?

Once you have completed your challenge, you can upload your results through the MySwimathon Hub, you can access the Hub here.

You can do this in one of two ways:

1. Connect your Strava account and we will pull through your swim data for your valid challenge completed between 3 - 19 September 2. Complete the online form and tell us your challenge time

You should use the same login details that you have for your Swimathon account area. Once logged in to the Hub, select ‘View your Open Water Swimathon progress’. On this page you can enter your swim by clicking ‘add a swim’ button under the details of your challenge.

To view historical results and to download certificates, login to your Swimathon account area and go to Results.

Where does the money go?

Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie will receive at least 70% of the total funds raised by Open Water Swimathon. The Swimathon Foundation will receive the balance of the funds raised by the Open Water Swimathon participants which it uses to fund its operating expenses as the owner of the Open Water Swimathon Event and to offer Swimathon Foundation Community Grants to promote swimming participation in communities. 

Are there any fundraising rewards?

Yes! This year we have more fundraising rewards than ever before. Fundraise anywhere from £1 all the way up to £1000 (and beyond!) through your JustGiving page for exclusive Open Water Swimathon 2021 rewards!* Find out more about what you could enjoy here.

Team fundraising is based on raising an average per team member to receive your exclusive Swimathon rewards. Terms and conditions apply.

* Fundraising for Open Water Swimathon 2021 closes on Thursday September 30 2021 with JustGiving pages closing at the end of 2021. Please note that only online fundraising is counted towards your qualification for a fundraising reward. Offline fundraising sent to the charity PO BOXES will not be considered for incentive rewards.

If I qualify for a reward, when will I receive it?

If you qualify for a digital reward, this will be sent out to you via email within 24 hours of hitting your fundraising goal.

If you qualify for a physical reward, these will be sent out fortnightly from June onwards. Please note that the incentive fundraising deadline is Thursday September 30, 2021.

Please see terms and conditions for full details of fundraising rewards.

How can I check if I have set up my Open Water Swimathon JustGiving page?

You can check if your JustGiving page has been set up through your swimmer profile area. Follow the below steps to check yours. 

  1. Log in to your profile
  2. Click on 'Manage My Challenge' in your Open Water Swimathon profile area. 
  3. Select 'Fundraising' on the menu on the left-hand side. 
  4. If you have set up a JustGiving page you will be given the option to ‘View Fundraising Page’. If you have not, select ‘Create Fundraising Page’ and follow the steps.

How can I link my JustGiving page to my Open Water Swimathon account?

If you didn’t set up your JustGiving page when you registered but created one later on, you will be able to link it to your Open Water Swimathon account by logging in to your swimmer profile area. You will need to click on ‘Manage my Challenge,’ select ‘Fundraising’ on the menu on the left-hand side and just follow the instructions to link your pages together.

How do I share my JustGiving page with my friends, family and colleagues?

To find your Open Water Swimathon JustGiving page go to the fundraising section of your swimmer login area. You can find this on the left-hand menu once you’ve clicked ‘Manage My Challenge’. Click ‘View Fundraising Page’ at the bottom of the page to go to your JustGiving page. Share the URL with your friends and family by simply copying and pasting the URL to email and social media to get donations and raise money for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie. 

Is my donation for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie when I register added to my JustGiving page?

The donation for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie you can make before the payment page of your registration will not be added to your JustGiving page when you have set it up. 

If you wish for the donation to count towards your fundraising rewards, please set up your JustGiving page first and donate the amount directly on that.

How can we link our team’s JustGiving pages together?

To create a team page, your team captain should log in to their swimmer profile area here. Within the ‘Fundraising’ menu they can select to create a team JustGiving page by linking all team members pages. Please note donations must still be made on each team member’s JustGiving page and not on the team’s page. 

Can I fundraise for any charity?

The official charity partners of Open Water Swimathon 2021 are Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie. Participants of the event should fundraise for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie only. 

Where can I find the offline fundraising sponsorship form?

If you are taking part in Open Water Swimathon and want to collect money in person, just click here to download your sponsorship form from your swimmer login area.* 

Don’t forget that you can pay in any cash you have collected into your JustGiving Page when they are up and running using a credit or debit card. 

*Please note that only online fundraising through an Open Water Swimathon JustGiving page is counted towards your qualification for a fundraising reward. 

Where shall I send my offline fundraising?

Cheques will need to be made payable to either Cancer Research UK or Marie Curie and sent to one of the below addresses:

Swimathon Team, Cancer Research UK, PO Box 1561, Oxford, OX4 9GZ  


Swimathon Team,  Marie Curie,  PO BOX 23897,  14 Links Place,  Edinburgh,  EH6 9AB

There will also be the option to pay in offline income at your local Marie Curie charity shop.

All offline income paid in either charity will go towards the total income raised and split as follows:

Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie will receive at least 70% of the total funds raised by Open Water Swimathon. The Swimathon Foundation will receive the balance of the funds raised by the Open Water Swimathon participants which it uses to fund its operating expenses as the owner of the Open Water Swimathon Event and to offer Swimathon Foundation Community Grants to promote swimming participation in communities.

How am I going to raise money during COVID-19 restrictions?

For more information and ideas on how you can raise money during COVID-19 restrictions, head over to Marie Curie's website.

Can I get any training advice?

It is very important to train before taking part in any sporting event. Visit the training zone for plenty of training tips and guides from our friends at Outdoor Swimmer. Brand-new 10-week and 5-week training plans will be available in due course to ensure your training goes swimmingly!

I can no longer take part in the event. Will I get my money back?

As per our terms and conditions, the entry fee for Open Water Swimathon 2021 is non-refundable and non-transferrable. 

Can I change from an individual to a team registration and vice versa?

As stated in the terms and conditions, if you have registered as an individual entry, it is not possible to change this to a team entry. You will need to re-register as a team and contact Open Water Swimathon to cancel your individual entry. If you have registered as a team entry, it is not possible to change this to an individual entry. You will need to re-register as an individual and contact the Open Water Swimathon team to cancel your team entry. A refund will not be given for your first entry.

If I want to change my challenge distance, how can I do that?

This year we have made it easier than ever for you! From 14 June you can simply log in to your profile to change your challenge distance.

Is there an exclusive 2021 T-shirt?

Please use the size chart below when purchasing your exclusive Swimathon 2021 T-shirt:



Chest Size

Women's UK size

Child Small



Child Medium



Child Large



Adult Small


UK 10

Adult Medium


UK 12

Adult Large


UK 14

Adult XL


UK 16

Adult XXL


UK 18

What is Open Water Swimathon’s position on sustainability?

Open Water Swimathon recognises its responsibility towards the planet and is committed to doing everything we can to reduce the impact of the event on the environment. You can read our full environmental sustainability policy here.



Marie Curie




Swimathon Foundation


Swim England


Scottish Swimming


Swim Wales


Outdoor Swimmer


Beyond Swim


Just Giving