A swim that makes history.
Be part of an annual tradition dating back to 1928, by enjoying the mile long swim from Ladye Bay, under England’s only Grade 1 listed pier to finish on Clevedon Beach, with a little help from the tide. You can choose to wear a wetsuit or not.
The Clevedon Long Swim started in 1928 and has occurred every year since, except during the war years. The race originally started on the incoming tide from Old Church hill. Competitors were rowed out by boat where the men and boys started the race by all jumping off the boat together, followed a few minutes later by the ladies and girls. The finish line was under the pier with the judges on top trying to place the swimmers in finishing order. On an incoming tide competitors used to swim under the pier very fast and often way up the channel before the rescue boat could catch them.
In 1970, Clevedon Pier collapsed so the finish was changed to the slipway on the beach beside the pier. The pier was rebuilt and re-opened in May 1998 and is the only structurally intact Grade 1 listed pier in the whole of the country.
In 1996, due to the difficulty of obtaining two boats to take the growing number of competitors out to the start and collect them again after swimming under the pier, the course was changed to swim on the outgoing tide, starting from Ladye Bay, going under the pier, and finishing at the Pier beach, a distance of approximately 1 mile. The swim goes ahead if the weather is deemed suitable but this does not always mean calm; sometimes the sea is like a mill pond or it can be choppy and challenging. Clevedon has the third highest tidal range in the world, with strong, fast flowing currents running at about 5 knots on a spring tide. Safety cover is usually provided by the Clevedon Sailing Club rescue boat, or the RLNI from Portishead, plus a flotilla of kayaks provided by Clevedon Canoe Club.
• SKINS (i.e. non-wetsuit)
Some other things to bear in mind. There are only 100 spaces, so book early! Entrants must be 12 years or over, and all under 18s are required to provide a signed consent form. If you’re coming by car, you’ll find more details in Parking.
Any questions, just ask ClevedonOpenWater@gmail.com