SwimTrek rewarded for creating a new industry

Image: SwimTrek founder Simon Murie with the Lord lieutenant of East Sussex and Dover Beach legend Freda Streeter

When we think of innovation, it’s often new technology that springs to mind. But SwimTrek has shown that you don’t need to be a technological wizard to be innovative. When Simon Murie launched the business in 2003 the concept of a swimming holiday didn’t exist. People told him it would never work. They were wrong. Not only has SwimTrek grown and prospered, it has just been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, in the Innovation category.

The Queen’s Award scheme has been running in various forms for 50 years and is “awarded to businesses for outstanding achievement.” It is valid for five years and winners may fly the Queen’s Award flag at their principal premises and are entitled to use the Emblem on their stationery, advertising and goods.

The Award was presented to SwimTrek at a special ceremony in the i360 in Brighton, SwimTrek’s home town. The trophy was presented by HM Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field, on behalf of the Queen on 8 November 2017.

The citation for the Award is as follows:

Founded in 2003, and based in Brighton & Hove, East Sussex, SwimTrek Limited was the world’s first swimming holiday operator. An Innovation Award is made in recognition of its pioneering development in the provision of open water swimming opportunities not just in the UK but worldwide.

Since establishing its service, the company has regularly introduced new trips ranging from classic island hopping tours to iconic race events and swim coaching camps. A training camp in Mallorca has also been established to train customers to swim the English Channel and other marathon swims. Running for the past 10 years, over 400 hardy souls have attended these camps.

The company now offers open water swimming holidays in over 40 locations worldwide in 18 countries with 30% of new customers coming through a personal recommendation and an impressive 61% return rate.

The business has demonstrated consistent growth over a five-year period by delivering an innovative range of specialist holidays. This is SwimTrek Limited’s first Queen’s Award.

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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.