Open water swimming

Taplow Lakeside OWS sessions are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday and Sunday Mornings.
There are two courses, The Swim Secure course at 400m and, a 100m course for beginners and those who prefer not to go too far from the shore.
Taplow operates under the Nowca safety system so swimmers need a Nowca wristband to use the facilities.
You can register for a band and book swims through the ACTIO app which can be downloaded free (for both android and Iphone). Cost of joining Nowca is only £15.00 per year, which includes your wristband and insurance.
Once you are a member of Nowca you buy swims for Taplow Lakeside through the app, 10 swim credits are £60.00. Single swims are £6.50 For further information go to nowca.org

For information on the weather at the lake including water temperature CLICK HERE

For those new to OWS and feel they could do with some support we can supply a swim buddy who will swim with you for your first few swims. We also supply tow floats for the first few swims to give you a little more support
For further information on Taplow Lakeside OWS please call 01628 782113.

Open Water Swimming Rules

All swimmers must be registered with Nowca and scan in and out of the water using their safety wristband.
All swimmers need to wear a brightly coloured swim cap whilst in the water.
If swimmers do not wish to wear a wetsuit they need to sign a waiver form to accept the risks in not doing so and if not wearing a wetsuit MUST wear a tow float.
Children aged 8 to 11, with Open water swimming experience, are allowed to swim in the lake if they have a responsible adult swimming with them, the responsible adult should be within 2 metres of the child at all times.
Children aged 12 to 17, with open water swimming experience, are allowed to swim in the lake as long as an adult is present on site and the adult keeps the child in direct sight whilst they are in the water.

Open Water Swimming Coaching

Our OWS coaching programme is headed up by Stephen Gould. Stephen is local to Taplow and has been competitively swimming since he was 8 years old. He transitioned from the pool to OWS when he was 21.

You can guess how many years OWS he has under his belt and here’s a photo to help!

Stephen has tremendous experience of OWS, including organising and being part of English Channel crossings, competing in the World Cold Water Swimming Championships and has numerous long distance swimming achievements. He is an ISA qualified Swimming Teacher and an STA qualified Open Water Swim Coach. He is also a Swim Guide for SwimQuest, a contributory adviser to Outdoor Swimmer Magazine, an OWS consultant to a number of organisations and an Open Water Swimming Goodwill Ambassador for Zoggs for the 2021/2022 season. Stephen has a particular interest in cold water/ice swimming, and this is something we will be working with him to develop at Taplow Lakeside.

Our Courses include:

Introduction to Open Water Swimming

Are you curious to see why open water swimming is purportedly the fastest growing mass participation sport in the UK and second in participation numbers only to running? Are you feeling nervous about venturing into the open water? Are you just getting into open water swimming or Triathlon? We know it can be a bit daunting at first even for experienced pool swimmers, so we’ve designed this course to improve your confidence so you can go it alone either just for fun or to compete an upcoming race with peace of mind and ease. We’ll improve your swimming technique, help you manage any anxieties you may have and you’ll come away feeling inspired to jump in several times every week.

What the Course Includes:

  • Dry land introduction to open water and safety
  • Understanding open water environments – lakes, rivers and ocean
  • Choosing the right equipment – goggles, hat, wetsuit etc
  • Swimming in the open water for the first time
  • Entering the water – do’s and don’ts
  • Controlling breathing, proper exhalation and staying calm
  • Keeping your face in the water whilst retaining orientation
  • Managing anxieties and phobias – relax, relax, relax – plus coping strategies
  • Basic open water skills including buoy turns and sighting
  • Pacing to swim continuously

Duration : 1 hour

Front Crawl Improvers

Our improvers programme is offered as three separate courses, split down into three levels:

  • Introduction to front crawl – for anyone who does not usually swim front crawl or is new to front crawl
  • Intermediate – for anyone who has attended the introduction to front crawl course or who normally swims front crawl and would like to improve their technique
  • Advanced – for anyone who is already competent at front crawl and wishes to improve still further to a personal best or race standard

What the Course Includes:

  • Bi-lateral breathing and exhalation
  • Rotation – how much is enough?
  • Individual arm recovery to suit your shoulder mobility
  • Proper hand entry
  • Good alignment and preventing hand cross-over
  • Catch mechanics and pulling through with more propulsion
  • How to achieve a streamlined horizontal body position
  • What an effective kick looks like for triathletes and swimmers
  • Distance front crawl swimming technique and swimming continuously

Duration : 1 hour

Open Water Swimming Skills

Anyone swimming in open water should be savvy with key open water skills which will support their open water swimming progression regardless of event specificity. There are a few tips and key skills that can make the difference between discomfort, floundering or panic and having an enjoyable experience. These include knowledge of the body’s reaction to cool water, how to enter the water safely and navigation. The majority of the skills are relevant to both recreational swimmers and those who want to compete in an event.

What the Course Includes:

  • Acclimatisation and overcoming panic and the gasp reflex
  • Pontoon and deep waterside entry
  • Sighting
  • Drafting
  • Treading water
  • Buoy Turns
  • Goggle adjustment whilst in deep water

Duration : 1 hour



10 swim credits are £60.00
Single swims are £6.50

Session times

January 2022:

Thursday 07.30 - 08.30
Saturday 08.30 – 10.00
Sunday 08.30 – 10.00

Bookings should be made in advance using the Actio App.

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