Bantham Swoosh

A world class 6km swim in the sandy bottomed Aune estuary, Devon

Graham Wynne

The Swoosh is run by Level Water, which provides swimming lessons for children with disabilities, and their new event Swim Collective.


The Swoosh is a world class 6km estuary swim down the River Avon in Devon. Among the things that make it special is the fact the estuary the swim takes place in is both shallow and sandy bottomed – so water is clear rather than muddy, and swimmers have a view of the sandy bed most of the way. The swim culminates in a “swoosh” as the ebbing tide is funnelled through a narrow section of river, speeding you along over the riverbed at up to four times your usual swimming speed. It can run at 8 knots. An exciting, invigorating, beautiful and fun swim, which is open to all – fast swimmers, leisurely swimmers, skins swimmers, wetsuit swimmers, disabled swimmers, and swimmers of all ages (with a MiniSwoosh for children).

Graham Wynne
Graham Wynne
A Swoosh finisher in 2019.
Tim Bridges
Toms Majors
Tim Bridges


It is recommended that swimmers are able to swim 5km confidently. There’s a pull downriver as the tide goes out, which makes life easier, but a bad weather day (chop or a headwind) can counteract that, so come prepared.

A key test of the swim for most swimmers is the water temperature. The swim is early in the season, so while water temperature is not that dissimilar to the end of season (12-15 °C is expected), most swimmers aren’t so well acclimatised. Getting out in open water in May and June before the event is the way to prepare for this. 

Please note – the Swoosh occurs as the estuary narrows at the very end, you are not swooshed from start to finish! The swoosh is strongest later after high tide, meaning that the slower you swim, the more assistance you get from the swoosh. Everyone wins! 


All information about the 2023 events will be shared through Swim Collective. The OSS will also keep you up to date via elsewhere and OSS social media channels.