Beams and booms at this weekend’s Henley Classic

Swim the channel with the Mencap Marvels

Swimmers at this year’s Henley Classic will be forgiven for thinking they have wandered into an all-night rave. This Sunday morning the course of the Henley Royal Regatta will be lit up by a laser show as swimmers arrive for the event, which starts at 4.30am.

Henley Swim co-founder Jeremy Laming said of the laser: “Swimmers need to start arriving for registration from around 2am, so it’s a great way to get them down to the river early, and what better way to show them the task in hand than a laser beaming down the middle of the river. The straight nature of the course lends itself to some spectacular perspectives, and having the course lit-up is an unforgettable sight.”
The Henley Classic is a 2.1 km swim along the Henley Royal Regatta course. To make it a bit more difficult it is swum upstream. And it starts at dawn. As the sun comes up swimmers are led to the riverbank in a torchlit procession. The dead-straight Regatta course with its protective booms make for a fast event for the elite swimmers, and this year the current is negligible, meaning records may be broken. The current course records are held by Alexander Studzinski (24:19) and Fern Davies (27:15).

I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.