Join us in this new virtual event on Midsummers Day. We might be apart, but we’re together in spirit and this year we’re going BIG with an event that’s made for everyone: any age, any distance, any place. We will be sharing training tips, planning tips and a Logbook of Longest Swims from around the world. Join us to celebrate!
This is a fundraiser for The Outdoor Swimming Society and Project Seagrass. One supporting peoples’ swimming dreams; the other helping preserve our watery planet.
Solstices are moments of transition, turning points. There are contrasts: long and short; day and night; light and darkness; cold and warmth. And a steadying calmness, as the natural cycles take place in their measured, unhurried way.
They are times of celebration. Right now, the spring sap is rising. Nights are drawing out, light is intensifying. Swims come with new companions: buds and birdsong. And as for the humans? You can feel the sap rising in us too, after so long locked down: that intense need to do something, to reclaim fitness and form, to have a big day out.
We can’t get together in a mass event this year, so instead we’re going to swim virtually on (or around) Monday June 21st 2021.
The swim itself can be anything you want it to be: an endurance feat in your local open water lake*, a downstream river swim, a sea swim, a crossing, a swim safari (multiple dips on the one day). It can be 500m or 10k; breaststroke or butterfly. It can be more about the hike. For more ideas, see the plans of the OSS team below.
The key is to take some time off for your swimming, celebrate the start of summer and share it with others. Whatever distance you decide to do, please make sure it is a challenge you are able to safely complete. If you are pushing yourself, have safety cover – by (for example) doing the swim at a lido, outdoor pool or lifeguarded lake.
*(see our list to find your local lake, and consider getting membership soon as we anticipate a busy summer).
Need to get in some training before the swim? Then have a look at our Couch to 5k plan, which finishes on the Longest Day.
Enter the event by choosing the number of adult and child tickets you would like (there’s a £0 option for anyone broke). We will send you a welcome email and between now and midsummer, we will keep in touch with some supportive emails to keep you on-track for your swim. All paid entrants also receive a Longest Swim embroidered patch, and thanks for supporting The OSS and Project Seagrass. On (or around) June 21st 2021, complete your chosen swim and share the images and story #longestswim #outdoorswimmingsociety @ProjectSeagrass.
Curious about everyone else’s swim all around the world? Participants are invited to log their swims within the Longest Swim Logbook, a private document that will hold your name (as provided) time, place, distance, amount (if you’re going for a multi-dip, rather than a long swim). You don’t have to submit a formal record of your swim, such as an exact time or a GPS log.
Entry costs £15 for adults (18+), £2.50 for children (under 18) and £0 if you are broke. This is a fundraiser for The Outdoor Swimming Society and Project Seagrass, who will receive 10% of the ticket price (excl. VAT and bank charges).
Adult ticket holders will receive:
Free swimmers will receive all of the above except the embroidered patch. They are warmly invited to make any donation they can to the Society.
We hope to start the day with live event briefings from our regular event hosts (just online, not in a swim pen).
Child swimmers will receive a free patch and access to the Longest Swim Logbook.
Please remember that open water swimming comes with risks, which include cold shock, hypothermia, infection from polluted water, drowning and death. All swimmers are entirely responsible for themselves on any chosen swim – see the OSS Swim Responsibility Statement and you must ensure that you are capable of completing your chosen swim (or getting out!). For help and guidance on all sorts of aspects of open water swimming, please visit the Survive section of this website. Some articles you might find useful include:
Ideas for the day
I am planning my favourite kind of swim: a long downstream river swim, on the Avon with friends, ending at Warleigh Wier (Somerset, England). It’s a beautiful freshwater swim, between meadows, under an aqueduct, past oak trees and rope-swings. The ultimate distance depends on how warm the water is by then and how long we can last – but I’m really looking forward to getting fit again, it’s been too long without swimming! After school I’m going to take my boys (8 and 9) to Farleigh Hungerford Swimming Club, where there’s a choice of distances depending on which rope swing they opt to start on.
Every year I look forward to June 21st –the summer solstice, the longest day– and I try to celebrate it in nature. This year the date has the added frisson of being the [hopeful] end of lockdown. I will savour this swim even more than I usually do! When I dream about a long summer swim my thoughts are of freedom: a long, hot hike through the countryside, solitude, hours of free time, and the reward of a refreshing, restorative swim when I arrive. I am not a good swimmer at all. I’m not interested in training to swim for miles. So I hope that my longest swim on the longest day will revolve around a long day in the outdoors, a long, lazy wallow in a summer river (bonus points if there are options to jump in from on high), and then a long lie down in the shade of a sunny oak tree.
The Big River Swim Team spontaneously arose last spring after the onset of the pandemic. About two dozen of us managed to find each other on the bank of our local estuary, Big River in Northern California, wondering if we could swim in it. None of us really knew each other well, but the bond of water and swimming soon formed friendships. We are between 30s-70s, some are accomplished swimmers while others are self-taught.
None of us had swum in a wetsuit before 2020, but by July we were all buying wetsuits and comparing notes. All the while we were learning the nuances of tides, river flow, navigating around boats and curious seals. We discovered OSS online and soon were sharing articles on cold water swimming. By this fall we were all fully addicted and now we are marvelling at the fact that we have been swimming for a year. The idea of joining with OSS for The Longest Swim on the Longest Day was met with much enthusiasm. What this will look like for us will be a variety of swims based on our stamina, but everyone is going to try to make it a personal best. Some of us are aiming on a two hours swim to Seal Island, others at shorter swims – the Fuzzy Tree, or The Quarry.
I had planned to swim butterfly for 70mins to celebrate my 70th Birthday, and it is not all down to the pandemic, that my birthday came and went! It is a long time to swim butterfly, even slowed down, going with the flow and the glide, and trying to be gentle. I have to say I was improving and feeling so pleased that I was getting more distance, and as a bonus found I could swim individual medleys in the pool, and not feel completely wrecked. So my plan is to start again, and on the longest day I will see how long I can swim butterfly. As there are only my own rules to follow, I shall take rests when I need to, and cheat where I can.
I had planned to do the triple 5km in a pool last year. When I heard about the Longest Swim weekend, I thought l would like to have a go at the triple 5km outdoors instead! For my first swim I plan to swim in Colwick Lake, Nottingham, and I’ll swim in the River Trent for my second. My third swim location will be free choice – depending on the weather and what I fancy doing at the time. I swim all year round outdoors and do my training in pools. As a black swimmer I have found open water swimming inclusive of all, regardless of age, race, gender or size. When swimming outdoors I like to immerse myself in everything around me, so these three swims will be at a leisurely pace with a 20 minute refuel (a bread roll filled with cheesy triangles). I often do long swims in relays with other women, so this will be my longest solo swim, three times.
I live with my family on an island called Flekkerøy in southern Norway. This winter, my 11 year-old son, Ib, has started swimming with me. Initially it was just to earn extra time on his computer but, by the third time, he started really enjoying the swim for its own sake. As the temperature water plummeted and ice formed on the sea, he became very excited with each new temperature low (we got down to 0.3˚C!). A few weeks ago, Ib asked if, during the summer, he could swim with me round one of the small islands we can see from the shore. This 400m swim will be Ib’s longest and the longest distance we have swum together. We’re both as excited as each other at the prospect of sharing this mini-adventure as part of The Longest Swim on The Longest Day.
The Longest Swim on The Longest Day is a fundraising event for The Outdoor Swimming Society.
10% of the money raised will go to Project Seagrass, an environmental charity devoted to the conservation of seagrass ecosystems around the globe.