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).

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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.