Swim this 1 mile stretch of open water between Donnington Bridge and Folly Bridge. The course may vary depending on conditions unforeseen circumstances and access rights on the river. Full details will be made clear well in advance of the swim date.
Sunday 1st September 2019
You will be swimming upstream, so against the gentle flow of old Father Thames, or Isis at this point. In September there is very little flow on the river, but a more adventurous experience will be gained by all. Setting off from Donnington Bridge you will be swimming upstream towards Christ Church Meadows, passing the historic bathing spot at Long Bridges on the left. All swimmers will be on the right hand side of the river in a well marked course and escorted by safety canoeist. You will swim past, on your right the nature reserve, know as Aston’s Eyot. Aston's Eyot is a 33-acre island on the east bank of the River Thames in the city of Oxford, southeast of Christ Church Meadow. Making your way past the famous boat houses on the right , heading towards the finish, you will be faced with a large River Buoy, a final turn around this and head back down stream towards the platform where you will exit. Once out of the water make your way to the changing tents and Swim Oxford refreshments tent. Enjoy this location in all its splendour within the heart of Oxford.
The flow differs from one day to the next based on factors such as rain fall, opening of locks etc. The flow is generally fairly slow. Up to date information can be found at http://riverconditions.environment-agency.gov.uk/
The Environment Agency, who grant us permission to run the Lock to Lock events, ask that swimmers stay to the right of the river wherever possible. Boats and other river users also navigate on the right so, as river users, we need to adhere to the same rules. There are occasions when it is safer to swim closer to the middle of the river. On some of the tree-lined sections of the course there can be obstacles such as submerged branches and tree roots that could be dangerous or cause injury if snagged. Our safety kayakers will help alert you to these obstacles en-route.
Wetsuits are mandatory for this event unless you are an experienced open water swimmer and have our permission, in writing, in advance to swim without. Please contact us at email@example.com for permission.
Safety is our utmost concern. We have safety kayakers paddling with you along the length of the course and we have spotters on the shore. We also have medics at the event should you require any medical attention.
We hope that everyone will have trained enough to complete the full length of the course. However we do realise that this may be the first time some participants have swum this distance in a river and we will have support boats nearby should you experience any difficulties. There will also be exit points along the course.
The water will be tested to environmental safety standards before the swim. In 2015 the water test passed with a “high” cleanliness rating.
The water temperature will very much depend on weather conditions leading up to the event. In September 2015 the water temperature was 15-17 degrees centigrade.
Public Health England publish a leaflet on the risk of illness when open water swimming, which can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/swim-healthy-leaflet. We always follow these guidelines and have never become unwell during or after swimming this stretch of the Thames. Public Health England recommend "before you swim to cover cuts, scratches or sores with a waterproof plaster before swimming, consider wearing appropriate protective clothing such as a wetsuit, gloves and/or protective footwear. While you are swimming try to avoid swallowing and/or splashing water into your mouth, observe local safety advice. After swimming ensure you clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water after swimming and before handling/eating food, thoroughly clean cuts or abrasions using soap and water, handle your wetsuit with care after use, rinse it with clean water as soon as is practicable after swimming, clean with detergent and rinse as advised by the manufacturer, always wash your hands with soap and water after handling or cleaning your wetsuit and allow the suit to dry thoroughly before reuse."
Car parks will be either at the Sea Scouts field next door to the Falcon Rowing club site and/or Freelands Road, opposite to Falcon Rowing club near Donnington Bridge.
Public transport, bus from the finish point Folly bridge back to Donnington Bridge 10 minute ride.
Take the wonderful walk on the tow path less than a mile back to your car, recommended.
Toilets will be at the start point and finish point.
At the start once you have registered & changed into your wetsuit you can then hand in your bags that will be transported to the finish. At the finish you'll have to hand in your supplied tag to collect your bags. We recommend that you include some warm clothes. The collection team will ask to see you number before releasing any belongings.
Car keys, etc will be safe in your bags and a safety team will handle all bags in a marshalled area.
When you’ve finished your swim and changed into your warm clothes we invite you to enjoy a coffee or tea with a slice of homemade cake.
For this particular event we are able to get insurance for 14’s and above however, in addition to signing the waiver when you buy your under 18’s ticket, you must send a letter from a parent/guardian stating that your child is a strong swimmer, swims regularly with a club and has previous necessary open water experience, swimming against adults. This must be signed and either posted to Swim Oxford, 52 Witney Road, Eynsham, Oxford, OX29 4PQ or scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. This must be received by us no later than two weeks prior to the swim event date.
Please email us at email@example.com and we will endeavour to answer your questions as quickly as possible.