Swimming Categories

SLSLC CWSC2019 The SLSC UK Cold Water Swimming Championships 2019 will include individual races, team relays and a mass jump-in as part of the opening ceremony.

You may enter one, two or all three of the races as well as the Big Splash for our chosen charity, Crisis. Or get a group of friends, family or colleagues together and enter a relay team.

Please remember the water will be cold (around 1 - 5ºC) and you must acclimatise to cold water before swimming in these races.

Individual races

There are three types of races for individuals – head-up breaststroke, ice fly and freestyle. All races are 30m or one width of the Lido plus a 90m freestyle race.

Head up breaststroke


Head-up breaststroke is the traditional cold water swimming style. As the head is above the water at all times it allows swimmers to compete in ice-cold conditions without getting brain freeze.

The rules are simple – you must ensure that your eyes do not go below the water level at any time during the race. The event is a great leveller and makes for very competitive races.

Swimmers are encouraged to wear a warm hat for this race, or get crafty and create their own headwear – the more outlandish the better. The winner of the best hat of the competition will be crowned at the grand prize-giving ceremony for the Best Hat of the Day.

Ice fly

A race using butterfly stroke – simultaneous arm pull with a dolphin kick. The finish is with two hands at or above water level.


As the name suggests, in the freestyle race you can use any stroke you like in order to propel yourself across a width of the Lido as quickly as possible. Front crawl is the stroke of choice for most people, but you can in fact swim any stroke you like.

Relay races

Relay race

Teams in the 4x30m freestyle relays consist of four competitors who each swim 30m (one width of the Lido). Teams must be mixed (at least one man and one woman) and can represent their country, town, club or simply be a group of friends or family.

The person entering the team is the team captain. Changes to team members will be allowed until 7 January 2019 by emailing your changes to [email protected]

There are three categories in the relays, based on the combined ages of your team: under 160, 160 - 200 and over 200.

For example, if your team members are 25, 27, 33 and 35 years old respectively, the combined age would be 120 years and you would be in the Under 160 category. If all team members were 46, you would be in the 160 - 200 category.

Crisis ice breaker challenge

Jump in

If all that racing sounds a bit too competitive, take the plunge and raise money for charity by joining in our Ice Breaker Challenge in aid of CRISIS, the charity to end homelessness. There will be fabulous prizes for the top fundraisers and the best fancy dress costume.

Jump in, jump out, then head to the marquee for a lovely cup of tea!

The age groups

All races will be divided into age categories. The age groups are determined by your age on 31 December 2019.
The age groups are as follows:

AA series: 10-14 years (those born 2009-2005)

A series: 15-19 years (those born 2004-2000)

B series: 20-29 years (those born 1999-1990)

C series: 30-39 years (those born 1989-1980)

D series: 40-49 years (those born 1979-1970)

E series: 50-59 years (those born 1969-1960)

F series: 60-69 years (those born 1959-1950)

G series: 70-79 years (those born 1949-1940)

H series: 80 years and over (those born in 1939 or before)

Participants in all events must be 10 years or over on the day of the competition.