Our Thames Tidal Swims are exactly that – swims in the Thames. Yes, you can swim in the river! That said, the Thames is a tidal river and this isn’t the place to learn to swim. Our swims are for experienced open-water swimmers looking to enjoy some time in the water. Whilst we endeavour to provide a safe environment for swimming all swimmers are swimming at their own risk. Only swimmers that have pre-registered with us can join us for a swim. Registration is a one-off process and takes about five minutes.
Totally Thames swimmers need to purchase the free Thames Swim membership package on the membership page then double-click the Totally Thames event on the schedule page to attend.
The Thames Tidal Swims were started by two friends, Steve Newell and Rod Newing who decided it might be a nice idea to go for a dip one evening near their homes a few years ago. From that acorn an oak tree grew. More and more people decided they wanted to have a leisurely swim down the river and one evening in 2015 there were 100 swimmers in the water.
Steve and Rod did an amazing job organising the swims but a proper infrastructure was needed to manage the events so that’s when the OFC stepped in to lend a technological hand.
We have now automated the registration process and we now have access to members’ medical history and emergency contact details (which we hope we will never need to access).
Our swims are free to attend and rely on volunteers to ensure they run smoothly.
Here are the swims scheduled for the 2017 season. Please try and be at the venue 30 minutes in advance of the start time.
Tuesday 16th May start 1820 BST
Tuesday 30th May start 1835
Thursday 15th June start 1840
Thursday 29th June start 1940
Friday 14th July start 1825
Friday 28th July start 1840
Saturday 5th August start 1340 (lunchtime)
Monday 14th August start 1920
Friday 25th August start 1733
Saturday September 02 MIDDAY: Registration Confirmation 11.15AM – Totally Thames Swim Cost £7.50 (new customers need to purchase the free Thames Swim membership package on the membership page then double-click the Totally Thames event on the schedule page to attend)
Changing will be on the grassy area next to the swim start and registration confirmation is outside at The Black Lion.
Monday September 11: meet start 1620
Our swims take place just next to The Black Lion Pub in Hammersmith. Our swims start and finish at the steps just next to the pub.
The address is;
2 South Black Lion Lane,
Hammersmith, W6 9TJ
Our swims are free to all. If you would like to make a donation as a show of thanks for the kayakers / support boats, then there is a collection at the end of each swim
Why are the times of the swims all different?
We try and plan the swims so that we are assisted by the tide. As the tide times are always changing we have to select days and times that are suitable and these differ each week
Is there anywhere to get changed?
The changing area is outdoor on the grass by the steps which lead down in to the river.
Are there lockers?
No. The grassy area is fenced off and participants generally leave their possessions there or in the boot of a car.
Are there showers?
No. Although the pub is next to the changing area where you can make yourself presentable post swim!
Do I need to register?
Absolutely. We need to know who is turning up so registering is a must.
How much is the swim?
It is free.
Where do we swim to?
The swims are in the Thames and start at the steps next to The Black Lion pub. Swims are there and back and usually go out towards the eyot which is about 500 metres away from the steps.
How far is the swim?
It is about 1km although swimmers are not obliged to do the whole lap and can turn round whenever they wish
Is the water clean /safe?
Participants need to make these judgments for themselves. People’s immune systems are all different.
Are there safety boats?
We will endeavour to provide support kayaks / boats, however, all assistance is done on a voluntary basis and cannot be guaranteed. You should not rely on them for your own safety. Swimmers entering the water should be experienced open water swimmers.
Are wetsuits compulsory?
Swimmers can chose to swim in skins or a wetsuit. Either is permitted and there is no expectation / judgement of what participants choose to wear. Our advice is to err on the side of caution if the water is on the cool side and to swim with a wetsuit.
Do you swim with the tide?
We endeavour to swim with the tide in both directions as it changes. However, judging tides is not a science and can depend on the prevailing weather conditions and wind. Participants should be comfortable swimming with and against the tide.
Is there any where to get out if I need to?
Yes, participants can swim to the bank where they can exit the river at some places. If you do exit the river during the swim you must inform the event organiser so that they are aware you are already out the water. Participants are also free to turn around and return to the start at any time.
Do you go for a drink afterwards?
Absolutely. We warm up with a drink in the pub afterwards.