RLSS UK and British Triathlon launch partnership to support growth of safe open water swimming

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) and British Triathlon have announced a new three-year partnership to support the promotion and development of open water swimming. In a joint press release, the two organisations say the partnership recognises the potential growth of open water swimming and the need to develop the sport’s existing infrastructure to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for new and existing participants.

While open water swimming attracts a much wider audience than just people doing triathlon, it’s clear that triathlon is a big driver for athletes looking for suitable training facilities. Around 40 per cent of British Triathlon sanctioned events include an open water swim and 90 per cent of Triathlon England affiliated clubs offer some kind of open water swimming training.

The press release goes on to say: “As demand increases, the need to develop safe swim sites and consistent operating standards are central to delivering a positive open water swimming experience.”

The RLSS UK aims to lead in hosting more open water swims for all ages and abilities around the UK as well as work to help secure more safe open water swimming sites to make the activity more accessible to all, including triathletes who want to train or gain more experience of open water swimming.

As participation increases, the partnership also aims to grow the number of qualified open water lifeguards who hold the RLSS UK Open Water Lifeguard qualification to compliment the network of more than 1,000 triathlon coaches, 500 RLSS UK lifesaving clubs and 65 RLSS UK lifeguard units who are already able to support swimmers and triathletes within an open water environment.

Jack Buckner, Chief Executive of British Triathlon says: “This is an exciting opportunity for British Triathlon to benefit from the expertise of the RLSS UK in creating safe and fun open water swimming as well as contributing to the reduction of one of the main barriers to triathlon participation.”

Adrian Lole, Technical Director at the Royal Life Saving Society UK says: “The growth of open water swimming has created an enormous demand for quality assured facilities. The partnership with British Triathlon, supporting the development of safer sites is a huge step forwards supporting safer participation. Triathlon and open water swimming is in a good place for continued growth and we are excited about this new partnership.”

Image: RLSS UK Chief Executive Officer, Di Steer, and British Triathlon Chief Executive Officer, Jack Buckner

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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.