Beams and booms at this weekend’s Henley Classic

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).