Sign up to the H2Open Introduction to Open Water Swimming Experience

Recognising that increasing numbers of people are interested in open water swimming but unsure where to start, H2Open has created an introductory workshop that takes place at the Open Water Swimming Show and Henley Mile.

The Beginners’ Open Water Experience will take place on 10 July on a beautiful stretch of the Thames just downstream of Henley. The workshop involves classroom sessions followed by a closely supervised confidence building dip in the river. Participants will discuss what to expect when they enter the water, learn how to put on a wetsuit properly (if they choose to wear one) and practise open water swimming skills such as sighting and drafting.

The sessions will be hosted by 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Cassandra Patten and coaching expert Dan Bullock.

For more information on the workshop or to book you place please visit

What to expect

The day will start with a classroom session where you will learn about preparation and kit, staying safe, the differences between pool and open water swimming and what to expect when you hit the water.

You will then learn about wetsuit use in a practical session – handling your wetsuit, putting it on (and getting it off), and the differences between swimming with and without a wetsuit. Wetsuits are not provided but will be available to hire on the day.

Before getting in the water you will learn about open water swimming skills in a classroom session covering drafting, swimming straight and sighting, and what to expect if you enter a race – and how to cope!

The final session of the day is a trial swim in small groups. Build confidence, get used to being in the open water and practice the open water skills you have learnt during the day.


H2 Open Water Swimming Reading Lakes 069

Cassie Patten, 2008 Olympic bronze medallist in the 10km open water swim

Dan Bullock At National Masters

Dan Bullock, swim coach at Swim For Tri, Speedo Advisory Coach and 2015 ASA National Open Water Champion

How fit do I need to be?

You should be in good health and be capable of swimming at least 100m without needing support. Prior open water experience is not required.

What do I need to bring?

You will require a bathing costume. Goggles and a swimming cap are strongly recommended. Wetsuits are optional but please note that a dedicated swimming wetsuit will provide both buoyancy and warmth. Wetsuits will be available for hire on the day if you don’t own one.

Other useful items include flip-flops or similar and warm clothes for putting on after your swim.

Is the workshop suitable for children?

Definitely. The Henley Mile and the Open Water Swimming Show are very family-orientated. Children under the age of 12 should be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times (although there is no need for the adult to enter the water). The programme is not suitable for children under 8.

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Jonathan is a year-round skins swimmer with a particular love of very cold water. He has competed in ice swimming competitions around the world. He is a qualified open water coach with a particular love of introducing new swimmers to the open water.