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Statement on open water swimming in light of COVID-19

Emily Cooper


For many people, rivers are synonymous with their favourite sport: open water swimming (or wild swimming, if you prefer!). However, recent lockdown measures and other issues arising from the COVID-19 crisis have left many wondering whether or not to swim. Whilst open water swimming is permitted by the government, many organisations including Swim England the Royal Life Saving Society and British Triathlon are asking people to think about social responsibility before swimming outdoors due to the inherent dangers, increased risk and pressure that this may cause the NHS and emergency services. Please read this guidance document for more information. Certainly, if you are new to open water swimming, we don’t advise that you go open water swimming in rivers as these won't have safety measures in place, and river water can be very cold even in summer. There is also some evidence that coronavirus could be carried in sewage so there is a risk of transmission via river water which may contain untreated sewage from storm overflows and misconnections. Please see here for further information.
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