Bantham Swoosh

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

Graham Wynne

It’s back for 2024, on Saturday 6th July. The Swoosh is now run by Swim Collective, the event arm of Level Water, which provides discounted swimming lessons to children with disabilities. For all ticket and event information, please see the Swim Collective website.

The Outdoor Swimming Society continue to support the event and Level Water in increasing access to swimming – swimming lessons are the first step to outdoor freedom: before people can swim outdoors safely, they need to learn to swim.


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! 


This event was created by Kate Rew from The OSS and passed on to Swim Collective in 2022. Swim Collective are the event arm of The OSS’s longstanding charity partner Level Water, who provide discounted swim lessons to children with disabilities. The OSS is proud to have been a part of Level Water raising over £250k in 2023 via the Swoosh, Boomerang and Dart10k. Please head to Swim Collective for ticket and event queries – we will also keep members informed via elsewhere and on social media – we hope to see you there!